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Caring for your coffee!

For aficionados of the beloved beverage, maintaining the freshness and flavour integrity of coffee beans is paramount. However, improper storage can compromise these qualities which in turn leads to a subpar brewing experience.

In this short guide, we'll explore the optimal methods for storing coffee beans at home, emphasising the importance of avoiding some common pitfalls. We'll also look at the packaging we use here at Alfie & Co Coffee Roasters and why it's the best way to bag, ship and keep your beans!

Contrary to popular belief, refrigerating or freezing coffee beans is not recommended. While the cold environment may appear conducive to preservation as it is with many fresh foods, it can actually degrade the delicate and incredibly volatile aromatic compounds within the beans. 

If you refrigerate your beans, you're exposing them to low temperatures which can cause moisture to condense on the beans, especially when you're taking them out into a warm environment. This actually damages the bean and accelerates the deterioration of their flavour profile. Even where they're not being refrigerated, any significant fluctuations in temperature can have the same impact due to condensation. It might be invisible to the eye, but all it takes are those tiny droplets of moisture to get into the bean and it's downhill from there.

To safeguard the freshness of coffee beans, it is essential to store them in airtight containers in a cool, dark environment. Airtight containers prevent exposure to oxygen, which can hasten the staling process, while a cool, dark setting helps maintain a consistent temperature and protects the beans from sunlight, which can cause them to deteriorate more rapidly. 

Ideally, coffee beans should be stored in a pantry or cupboard away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Light and heat can accelerate the oxidation of the oils within the beans, resulting again in the loss of flavour and aroma that we've worked so hard to develop and get just right for your palate. By choosing a cool, dark location for storage, it makes a big difference when it comes to prolonging the freshness and vibrancy of your coffee beans.

We also advise buying just what you need and no more. The only thing worse than poorly stored beans, are excess beans that routinely get exposed to changes in temperature, opening and closing of sealed bags, etc. We would only ever advise you buy what you need. That's where our handy and shopper controlled subscription system comes in. Once you've figured out your weekly or fortnightly use, just set yourself up to get the same order as and when you need it!

Whole coffee beans generally retain their flavour for two to four weeks after roasting, while ground coffee starts to lose its freshness within days. By purchasing smaller batches of beans and grinding them as needed, you'll get the best flavour experience possible.

In addition to proper storage containers and environmental conditions, it is important to consider the potential for flavour contamination from other foods. Coffee beans have a porous surface that can absorb odours from nearby items, resulting in off-flavours in the brewed coffee. To mitigate this risk, store coffee beans away from strong-smelling foods and spices, preferably in a separate area of the kitchen.

This is why here at Alfie & Co Coffee Roasters, we have spent a long, long time looking for the perfect bag for storing, shipping and keeping at home. Our re-sealable and recyclable paper bags come with a built in one way air valve or 'freshness valve' as it's sometimes called. This valve allows the coffee to breathe - freshly roasted coffee gives off carbon dioxide, and if the bag was totally hermetically sealed, it would rupture and the coffee would deteriorate. 

That's also why we let our beans mature for at least five days after roasting - not just to help develop that essential flavour profile but also to allow them to off-gas to make for a more stable storage experience.

So a few things to consider? A few things you maybe hadn't thought of before? Well why not stick a wee order in for one of our beautifully roasted, considerately packaged and stored roasts and see the difference for yourself?