Everybody loves a fresh coffee. However, a coffee’s freshness isn’t determined by how soon it arrives after you’ve ordered it.
As it happens, as soon as coffee beans have completed the roasting phase, they need to be used as quick as possible, otherwise they begin to go stale – something even more apparent in ground coffee!
In order for your customers to experience the most of the natural flavours and aromas from coffee, there are a few ‘keep coffee fresh’ secrets we can share with you.
How long does coffee last?
First and foremost, the answer to this question will entirely depend on the type of coffee you’re stocking. Be it ground coffee or roasted coffee beans, the sooner the coffee is used – the better.
Properly stored whole roasted coffee beans are typically best used within a month, whereas anything ground is at its freshest for the first two to three weeks. This is because ground coffee has a much larger surface area making it more susceptible to the four foes of fresh coffee: air, moisture, heat, and light.
Unroasted green coffee beans will last much longer, if you wanted to store them before roasting. Ultimately, having your own roasting facility and grinder will allow you to serve much fresher coffee. Yet, if you don’t have these, you can facilitate the freshness of your coffee through its storage.
How should you store coffee?
It should go without saying that your coffee shouldn’t be opened until you need it. Once it is open, you may want to transfer it to another air-tight vessel because, depending on where you purchase your coffee from, some of the seals on the bags can be ineffectual.
You can invest in specially designed, air-tight coffee containers which keep air out but also have one-way valves to allow carbon dioxide to escape. Coffee roasters may also package their coffee in bags with the same valve-sealed technology – you could enquire about this before purchasing.
Granted, coffee beans look great on display in transparent glass containers but exposing them to light will do your coffee no favours whatsoever. It’s crucial that your coffee is stored in an opaque container or in a cupboard, away from any light.
Although freezing things generally secures freshness, do not, for one second, think about storing your coffee in a freezer or refrigerator. This is a bad idea. Condensation, freezing and thawing cycles will accelerate the deterioration.
‘Store in a cool dry place’ – is probably something you’ve read in many scenarios. The same applies for coffee. You should keep coffee away from any heat, until it’s time to roast it or brew it. Heat only accelerates the breakdown in the coffee’s flavour. Therefore, store it away from any kitchen appliances that generate heat or any windows in direct sunlight.
Above are just some of the ways you can keep coffee fresh but how will you know otherwise?
How can you tell when coffee is past its best?
Like in many food or drink instances, you can apply the sniff test to determine freshness. In contrast to other consumables, coffee will not pack a pungent aroma signalling that it’s ‘gone off’. Instead, there will be little aroma (not what you’d expect from roasted or ground coffee).
There are no visual indications that coffee beans are past their best, unfortunately. There are a few ways you can tell, once you’ve brewed your coffee, though.
For ground coffee, you should get a frothy foam at the top, after adding hot water. You should be able to distinguish this quite easily in a cafetiere. If you’re making an Espresso, you should be left with a good crema on the surface. If not, you can assume your coffee is past its best.
Keeping coffee fresh
At Lincoln & York, our production line is optimised to roast and pack coffee beans to maintain freshness and quality.
Furthermore, all of our beans are packaged in our valve-sealed bags to secure the flavour profiles of our unique blends.
For any further information, feel free to get in touch and speak with our team!