Sample Coffee brew guides

How to store coffee

Simon Wright A brew guide by Simon Wright

How long does coffee stay fresh, and how should you store it?

Roasted coffee is an interesting thing.

The coffee cherry goes through many processes from it first growing on a tree to being washed, dried, shipped around the world, then roasted and popped into the bag you’re holding.

That roasted coffee is still a fresh product so it’s always changing, and like all fresh products it’ll slowly degrade over time.

You can find the roast date on all our coffee, either on the label or stamped on the back of the bag; and all the retail coffee in our cafes has been roasted within the past 7 days.

Use the beans within the first few days after roasting and they’re often too fresh: the aromas and flavours are still developing and aren’t at their brightest.

After 21 days, those flavours start to fade away again, giving you a more muted cup of coffee.

Once you’ve cracked open the bag, here’s some tips to help you best store your beans for maximum flavour and lifespan.

Use an airtight container

Almost all our beans are packed in resealable bags, which are designed to keep the air around the coffee sealed so it doesn’t get exposed to fresh air and oxidise quickly.

If you’d prefer, you can transfer the beans to a small, opaque, airtight container. It doesn’t need to have fancy valves: after 2-3 days most of the roast gases will have escaped the bag we packed the coffee into.

Grind it as you brew

It’s the oils and moisture in the coffee bean that gives you a delicious cup of coffee: but they both also react with air over time. That’s why we recommend grinding your coffee just before you brew, so all that flavour goes into your cup, not into the air.

Cool, dark place.

Once you’re storing the coffee in an airtight container, the other two things that can speed up its ageing are exposure to light, and heat. Easy fix: store your coffee in a cool, dark, dry place (but not the fridge).

Also make sure your coffee isn’t stored too close to steam or heat from brewers, kettles or an espresso machine.

Wait, why not the fridge?

Your fridge isn’t cold enough to keep coffee any more fresh than at room temperature, and the beans will absorb aromas from inside your fridge (which probably won’t add any delicious flavour notes).

A word on freezing coffee

You’ve probably heard about storing coffee in the freezer, and while it’s possible, we generally don’t recommend it. Let’s dig into why.

Freezers are great at sucking moisture out of the air to help preserve foods. When we roast coffee, there’s a very carefully controlled amount of moisture left at the end: freezing beans can interfere with this, giving you flat, stale-tasting coffee.

As frozen beans defrost, the moisture that’s reintroduced condenses on the beans and dilutes the flavour.

For these reasons, we advise against freezing beans: or if you do, to only freeze and defrost whole coffee beans once.

But if you have to freeze beans (to keep a bag unopened for longer than 3-4 weeks) here’s our advice on how to keep as much flavour as possible.

  1. Use an unopened bag of coffee

  2. Wrap the whole bag in a ziplock bag, seal, then freeze

  3. When defrosting, leave the bag inside the ziplock, and keep both unopened for 24 hours at room temperature to defrost.

    Opening the bag before the beans are at room temperature will create condensation, spoiling the beans

  4. Use as normal, without freezing again.

Have a question we haven’t covered? Email us and we’ll find you the answer (and add it to this page).

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