Melissa Aki, Yahoo Contributor Network
Aug 21, 2012
Aug 21, 2012
Many people spend upwards of $15 on top quality coffee, only to do the unthinkable-have it ground before taking it home. From the moment you grind coffee, it begins to lose freshness and even after one day, the taste and smell are noticeably different.
The situation is made worse when multiple pounds of coffee are bought and ground at one time. No one would buy two or three bottles of wine, open them, and stick them in the refrigerator for weeks before drinking them, so why would you do the same with coffee?
If you are going to spend money on top-notch coffee, then it's best to invest in a grinder. A quality burr grinder can be purchased for less than fifty bucks. (A blade grinder will not give you a precise grind, therefore the coffee will not be the best.)
Once you have a grinder, storing the coffee at home is simple. Keep whole beans in a dark, air-tight container and leave it in a cool, dry place. Any opaque, sealable container or specially made coffee canister works well. (Exposure to light also affects the quality of the coffee).
If you don't have an air-tight container, keeping the beans in the bag is ok as long as you let the air out and seal it as tightly as possible and for God's sake, don't freeze or refrigerate the coffee! Moisture and cold causes the beans to lose taste and the beans also absorb odors from the refrigerator, much like baking soda. On the converse, don't leave whole bean coffee in a place where heat and humidity can get to it.
If you want to be a coffee purist, you can grind the beans fresh each time you make coffee. I tried this for awhile and it became a bit tedious every morning, so now I grind a small amount of coffee (enough for a day or two) and store it in an air-tight coffee tin.
When buying whole bean coffee, it's best to buy in small quantities. The date the beans were roasted also affects the flavor. Even unground whole bean coffee will eventually lose flavor, so there's no need to stockpile several pounds at a time.