Keeping Your Coffee Fresh: Grinding and Sorting
Everything’s better fresh, right? Okay, maybe some things age like fine wine. But, generally, foods and drinks are best enjoyed soon after you prepare them. In many regards, this is also true about your cup o’ joe. At The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, we proudly sell specialty whole bean coffee you can grind right before you brew as well as pre-ground coffee that you can still enjoy fresh if you follow the proper guidelines.
So, what’s the best way to ensure those complex aromatics and oils make their way into your morning mug of coffee? Take notes, and let’s break down why grinding and proper storage provide maximum flavor, especially when brewing at home.
Grinding Coffee Beans Fresh
If you want to feel like a real barista, wait until you’re ready to brew your batch of coffee before grinding the beans. There are a few scientific advantages to using freshly-ground coffee:
- Oxidation begins once your coffee beans have been ground. The oils and aromatics in the beans are released during the grinding process. To immediately capture that oily goodness in your coffee, brew right after grinding.
- Grinding your beans right before you brew gives you greater control over the final taste. At home, you can grind the beans as fine as you would like them.
The coarseness or fineness of your grounds entirely depends on how you plan to make your coffee. French Press coffee demands coarse grounds, espresso machines need fine grounds, and certain methods like pour over coffee necessitate medium grind coffee.
If you’re in a pinch, you can grind fresh coffee beans using a mortar and pestle. However, real coffee junkies should invest in a grinder for at-home use. You can decide if you want a more expensive, and more customizable, burr grinder, or if a simple blade grinder meets your needs. Read more about choosing and using a coffee grinder before you impulse-buy online.
Properly Storing Pre-Ground Coffee
You don’t need to grind your coffee beans every time to enjoy a distinct, rich, and fresh coffee flavor. The trick when you buy pre-ground coffee is to follow best practices and store it to keep the oils and aromatics firmly sealed inside the container.
- Ground coffee is freshest two to three weeks after you open it. After this period, some of the nuance and flavor will slowly evaporate. Plan accordingly!
- Once you open your ground coffee, the best place to store it is in its original bag or container. If you transfer the coffee to a new container, always keep it away from sunlight to avoid aging the beans.
- Occasionally de-gas your beans to allow built-up carbon dioxide to escape. Many coffee bags contain a release valve to let out CO2. Otherwise, open the bag on occasion to keep the grounds fresher for longer.
- Store your coffee in a temperature-stable location. Exposure to heat, sunlight, or extreme cold will spoil your coffee. For best results, store them in a dark pantry or cupboard (not in the fridge or freezer).
Choosing the Right Coffee
Grinding your coffee and properly storing it results in an invigorating drink packed with flavor. But the best way to guarantee your coffee tastes fresh is to invest in high-quality coffee. At The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, we select only the top 1% of Arabica beans from the world’s best-growing regions in East Africa, Latin America, and the Pacific.