In today’s fast-paced world, we have always been instructed not to waste anything. Coffee is no exception, and the escalating demand for more beans has encouraged growers and roasters worldwide to bring up new ways of preserving coffee beans for an extended period without losing their flavor or aroma. Once roasted and spilled into the air, the delicate aroma of a coffee bean begins to deteriorate in a short span of time. An air-tight container can be a solution to protect the bean’s quality. Many methods have been developed and tested over the years.
Many methods have been developed and tested over the years. The primary goal is to keep the beans fresh by slowing or stopping any release of gas from them.
Why Do We Need to Store Coffee Beans?
Top-quality coffee beans require about eight weeks to develop their full flavor. During this period, there is a constant excretion of carbon dioxide gas from the beans, which results in the loss of volatile compounds and flavor. However, the level of carbon dioxide at room temperature and pressure remains constant at around 9 percent.
The finest way to store coffee beans for a prolonged time is to keep them in the dark and airtight container, protected from oxygen and light.
How Are the Beans Processed?
Coffee beans are considered ready to harvest when they are clean, dry, and begin to turn red. These characteristics indicate that the ripe coffee cherries have been picked from the plant. When ripe, the fruit is taken off its branches, put in a fermentation tank for up to 24 hours for further ripening and cleaning.
During this process, the fruit’s skin is removed by hand, allowing the pulp of the fruit (which contains many of the seeds) to ferment and later be used as a fertilizer. After the complete cleansing of fruit, it continues in a drying process where it is spread out in the Sun to be exposed for several days. This process not only dries the coffee cherries but further enhances the aroma.
After this step, the coffee cherries are subjected to a further soaking process for an additional 2-3 weeks, during which they are kept in plastic bags. This process is called post-harvest fermentation, and it is a particular method used to control the moisture content of the coffee bean during drying.
Once completed, the beans are sorted into different size categories depending on their level of maturity and finally ready for the roasting process.
Ways To Preserve Coffee Beans
1) Keep the coffee beans in a storage container that will not allow air to penetrate. This can be a paper bag with a vacuum seal or an airtight container.
2) The coffee beans can be processed in water that is between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius. This can assist in keeping the beans fresh for longer periods and also kills germs.
3) In this process, coffee beans are soaked in water for two weeks to three months and then stored in an airtight container at room temperature. This technique is primarily used for instant coffee.
4) One of the straightforward ways to store is to seal them in a vacuum. You can do this at home with a basic vacuum sealer or food saver, or you can purchase special bags for this purpose.
Factors That Impact Freshly Roasted Coffee
1) Humidity: Humidity plays a significant role in affecting both the flavor and aroma of the coffee. The higher the humidity, the more moisture will appear on the surface of the beans. Therefore, you can store coffee in an environment that is relatively low in moisture.
2) Temperature: While high temperatures can result in a loss of flavor, lower temperatures can affect the freshness and aroma because they slow down or stop the production of gas in different ways. If the coffee beans are kept in a room that is too warm, they will release a greater percentage of moisture than if they were kept in a cooler environment.
3) Bartering: The aroma of the beans can be affected by how they are handled. Coffee is often used to barter because it is one of the most important exports from developing countries. When coffee is sold, it can quickly lose its taste and aroma due to storage in severe conditions. Its purity can also be affected by mishandling.
4) Air: The coffee beans are whole and unground prior to use. When the seal is removed, they release the carbon dioxide that is temporarily trapped in its fibers. If your house or office is in a high-humid area, you will notice the coffee beans have a much stronger aroma than they do at a lower temperature and humidity area.
5) Light: Like all plants, coffee needs light to grow. The problem with providing light to the plant is the decrease in the quality and flavor of the beans. For this reason, it is best to store coffee in a dark place.
6) Time: The time used to store coffee beans relates to the production of carbon dioxide present. If the duration extends from a specific limit, acids are formed, which react with oxygen and water vapors, affecting the quality and taste of the beans.
Does Storing Coffee Beans in a Freezer Work?
No, it does not. When coffee beans are frozen, the carbon dioxide in the beans is released into the air, so they will not last as long as if they were stored in a refrigerator or sealed bag. Also, ice crystals form on coffee beans which reduce the flavor and aroma significantly. This effect is much more pronounced with whole beans than ground coffee. Coffee frozen in a vacuum-sealed container does hold flavor better but will lose its aromatic compounds over time.
How to Check the Freshness of Coffee Beans?
The aroma of the whole beans will dissipate faster than that of ground beans. If you happen to have whole coffee beans, make sure it smells like chocolate or nuts. It should not smell sour, rancid, or like vinegar. If it does, you will probably need to grind it up and check the flavor.
Several varieties of coffee beans are made with exclusive properties that are programmed to have a particular aroma. These unique aromatic coffee beans include washed coffee. These types have been cleaned through a water cycle to remove undesirable substances that may have been added for flavoring or other purposes, including some kinds of vegetable matter and clay molecules.
The world of coffee beans is a beautiful one, fraught with complex flavors and scents. Interaction with oxygen is the main reason for coffee beans to lose their flavor and aroma. One of the best ways to increase the lifespan of coffee beans is by storing them in an airtight container. Moreover, use fresh bags for storing beans to preserve their freshness and flavor as much as possible. We hope that our article provided you ample ways to store beans. Good Day!
Q: What is the shelf life of roasted coffee beans?
A: Roasted coffee beans are suitable for a year if they are in an air-tight container. If they are left in an oxygen-rich environment, they will still be good for about six months. However, the longer you leave them in the open, the less flavor they keep when brewed.
Q: How to test the freshness of Espresso coffee beans at home?
A: Take a look at the beans to make sure they are unbroken and uniform in appearance. The coffee color should appear light brown. They should be even in size, size varies with the origin of the beans.
Q: What do you mean by barista?
A: A barista is a professional who prepares and serves coffee to customers. Their role is similar to that of a waiter in a restaurant. In addition to preparing the coffee, many baristas will help the customer judge the quality of their drink by calculating the coffee’s strength using volume measurements.
Q: Why does my brewed coffee taste bitter?
A: This is a common problem with people who are using ground coffee beans. This is because the oils in the coffee beans begin to oxidize and interact with oxygen molecules in the air. Brewed coffee that has been stored for a long time may taste bitter or stale as oxidation causes this problem. To solve this, you can grind the beans right before brewing each cup of coffee so that it retains its flavor and aroma longer.