How To Store Ground Coffee To Keep It Fresh

by TobyOct 3, 2021

We have come a long way since the popularity of instant coffee in a can. These days, most coffee drinkers crave quality. If you’re grinding your coffee from whole beans or for pure convenience you are buying pre-ground coffee, keeping the freshness for as long as possible is vital. Once you take whole beans and grind them down, it’s a bit of a race against time when it comes to maintaining quality.

Ground coffee begins to lose flavor the minute it is exposed to light, oxygen and high temperatures. If ground coffee is not from high-quality beans, stored properly, or even ground in a clean good quality grinder, it could be the difference between having a great-tasting brew and having a very stale disappointing cup of coffee.

For the best flavor, everything starts with the beans, so it’s important to pick high-quality beans. Next, you want to pick the right kind of coffee grinder – making sure it is clean can help you keep your ground coffee from mixing with old grounds, maintaining freshness in every cup.

The reason it’s important to keep your coffee grounds fresh is that once ground, the flavor begins to change. Knowing how to store ground coffee properly for longer freshness is a game-changer when it comes to making your morning brew the best it can be.

There are so many theories out there about the best methods of how and where to store coffee for ultimate freshness. Here is an interesting talk about coffee freshness and roasting by coffee expert Asher Yaron for more detail. 

With all those theories out there, we are going to cover how to keep your ground coffee as fresh as possible. We will also cover the best places to store it, and answer the age-old freeze or not-to freeze question. First, let’s talk about what happens to coffee once it has been ground.

What Happens To Coffee Once it’s Been Ground?

Many coffee experts will tell you that coffee is alive, and once it is roasted, it begins to die. This is a tad overdramatic, but it basically highlights that roasted coffee beans can start to lose all of the things that give your coffee flavor if they are not stored properly, leaving them open to the oxidization process which compromises their original flavor.

The same is true of ground coffee, which can start to lose flavor and taste once it’s ground, even if it’s stored carefully. This is why most coffee experts would always recommend freshly ground coffee and use it as soon as it’s ground.

How Long Should You Store Ground Coffee? 

Your coffee is ground, and the oxidation process has begun so how much time do you have before the flavor is gone? The answer here depends on where and how you store it. In reality, once coffee is roasted it can lose its ultimate freshness seven days after roasting. However, most of us buy our coffee well after that seven days.

So, if you keep your coffee in the right container, in a cool, dry, and dark pantry or cupboard you can prolong the freshness that still remains. This will allow you to keep your coffee fresh for about 2-3 weeks.

Fridge or Freezer?

Storing In The Fridge

Do not, under any circumstances (unless you’re dealing with a smelly fridge) store your ground coffee in the fridge. This is probably the worst storage option because coffee is a deodorizer which means that it will absorb all the smells in your fridge. Not to mention the temperature in the fridge is not quite low enough to keep your coffee as fresh as a freezer would. This will just ruin your coffee grounds and ultimately ruin your morning.

Storing In The Freezer

There is much debate about whether or not to freeze your coffee, but here is the consensus despite the controversy. Freezing ground coffee will keep your grounds fresh for up to six months. As long as they are in a vacuum-sealed bag or container this will help keep the grounds away from moisture. However, if you do store your ground coffee this way, it’s not recommended that you constantly take your grounds in and out of the freezer as doing this is likely to expose your coffee grounds to the moisture you’re trying to avoid, leading to crystalization.

If you’re going to be dipping into your ground coffee for your daily brew, it’s best to keep your grounds in the pantry in an appropriate container. Try to stay away from plastic or other materials that take on the smells and flavors of their surroundings. The recommended type of container to use is ceramic or glass, try to pick something that has the right kind of seal and is not clear.

Now that we’ve covered the science of ground coffee and what actually happens when you store it in the pantry, fridge, and freezer, here are the top 3 tips for storing your ground coffee for the ultimate freshness that lasts.

3 Important Things To Remember When Storing Your Ground Coffee

1. Location

It’s all about location when it comes to storing your ground coffee. Ideally, a cool, dark, and dry pantry or cupboard is the best place to put it. Try to keep it away from your sink, stovetop, or window. Ensuring your ground coffee is in the right environment will mean a world of difference to your morning pick-me-up.

2. Container

Your coffee grounds are best kept in a container that is going to keep them protected from light and any high temperatures. Pick a container like a solid ceramic or glass container to put the grounds in and make sure it has an airtight seal. You might think your coffee is safe enough in the packaging it came in, but keeping your coffee in the original packaging once opened will expose it to moisture and air.

3. Temperature

As we’ve stated above, your cupboard or pantry should be cool, dark, and dry. The temperature should ideally be at room or below room temperature. If you’re not going to be using your grinds for a while, the freezer will keep your coffee grinds fresh for longer, but only if you vacuum seal them in bags that you’re not going to be opening until you’re ready to use the whole batch.

The Last Drop

For the freshest cup of coffee, it is always best to grind your coffee straight from high-quality beans. However, if like many other coffee drinkers you choose pre-ground for convenience sake then remember these things;  location, container, and temperature, Storing your coffee grounds the right way will help make a better cup of coffee in the morning.