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To Freeze Or Not To Freeze - The Big Question On Coffee Storage

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The people of the UK drink 70 million cups of coffee every day - a number which has now overtaken the consumption of the traditional cup of tea.  As more and more British people embrace the humble bean, one question comes up time and time again - How should I store my coffee to keep it fresh?


Iced coffee


Many self-styled coffee connoisseurs in the UK will insist that coffee should always be kept in the freezer to maintain freshness, however, this is really not a great idea.


There are four elements which will freshness of your coffee and, these are Light, Oxygen, Humidity and Heat.  For these reasons, coffee should always be stored in an airtight container and kept in a cool, dark place.  Of all of these enemies of the bean, humidity is quite possibly one of the worst.  Roasted coffee beans are hygroscopic - which means that they absorb moisture from their environment, including any flavours and aromas contained within that moisture. 


To freeze or not to freeze


As with most fresh produce, the process of ageing is slowed down for coffee when the temperature is decreased.  For this reason, many people are of the mistaken belief that their coffee should be stored in either the freezer or the fridge.  Although this will, of course, decrease the temperature of the coffee, there is a major problem with this kind of storage.  When removing coffee from a cold or freezing environment to one of room temperature, a considerable amount of condensation forms on the coffee - which alters the taste, structure and aroma.  This unfortunately means that any benefit gained from cold storage is instantly negated the moment you remove the coffee from that storage.  Speciality coffee should, instead, be stored in a cool dark place such as a cupboard or larder.  For best results, follow the golden rules of coffee storage as follows.


The golden rules of coffee storage


In the air-tight


Always make sure that your coffee container is completely airtight.  This will help prevent condensation and, also, prevent the coffee being contaminated by the aroma of other foods stored in the same cupboard or larder.


Small and separate


Where possible, separate the coffee into small batches for best results.


In an opaque container - although glass jars may look pretty, they expose the coffee to light which is damaging to the flavour


Although this may seem like a lot of rules just for storing your coffee, it’s worth the effort - after all, there’s no point in buying great quality coffee only to have it ruined by sunlight, moisture or the smell of last night’s vindaloo!

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