The two most important things to consider when trying to make the best coffee possible is the quality of the beans and the brewing method. That’s great for day one, but how do you make sure that the last cup tastes just as good as the first? Coffee behaves differently to pretty much everything else you’re likely to have in the kitchen, so you have to know how to store it properly if you want to start each day with an amazing brew.
Storing whole beans at home
Here are some general guidelines that should help you to keep your coffee beans fresh for as long as possible:
- The best container to store your beans in is usually the bag it came in. Most good coffee suppliers will put a lot of effort into storing coffee in a great quality bag that will keep it fresh for as long as possible.
- Keep your beans in an airtight, opaque container once opened and keep it in a cool location. Air, moisture, heat and light all have a negative effect on the flavour of your beans and make it age faster.
- Buy in small batches if possible. Sometimes buying in bulk can be more cost effective, but not so much if half of it ends up tasting stale! Coffee tastes best when recently roasted and freshly ground, so buying little and often is best.
- Store at room temperature. While conventional logic may dictate that putting food in the fridge makes it last longer, for coffee the opposite is true. Coffee is full of oils and storing it in the fridge pushes the oils to the surface, which actually makes it age faster.
To freeze or not to freeze?
It may be tempting to put your coffee beans in the freezer if you have a large bag that will take you a long time to get through, but that might not be the best idea. It’s a little bit like when you freeze bread or pasta, in that it will make it keep for a very long time, but it won’t be quite as good once it’s thawed. Plus, coffee is naturally porous and will take on scents and flavours of the other items in your freezer, so you may end up with a coffee that tastes a little bit like old leftovers! If you absolutely have to freeze some of your beans, make sure they’re in an airtight container and as far away from anything smelly as possible.
Tips for ground coffee
It is always best to grind coffee fresh to get the best flavour out of your beans, but not everyone has the luxury of a good grinder at home. All of the advice for whole beans is also true for ground, however you have to be extra careful. Keeping ground coffee away from moisture is very important, and it will not taste fresh for anywhere near as long as whole beans. Ideally coffee should be used on the day it’s ground, but if you have to store at home make sure you use it within a week.
Storing your coffee at different temperatures, in different containers and in different locations, as we have said above, can affect on the taste of your coffee. Aroma and flavour compounds are protected somewhat by the beans themselves, but as dissipation and oxidation happens this is what ages the beans and their flavour. Ground coffee ages at a much faster rate as flavour compounds begin to oxidise immediately. This is why freshly ground is best. If left too long is can taste bitter and even ash like.
What’s just as important as keeping your beans fresh is making sure your coffee machine helps you get the maximum flavour from your beans. WMF 1500 S+ features the Dynamic Coffee Assist system, which automatically adjusts factors such as the ground coffee quantity and grinding degree to give you the best taste possible every single time.
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