by Joseph Molloy August 07, 2023 4 min read
For enjoying a delicious cup of specialty coffee, maintaining the freshness of coffee beans is as essential as the brewing process. You've started by buying the freshest beans, now it's time to ensure you're storing them properly to keep their flavours vibrant and intact.
Proper coffee storage is critical because it directly influences the quality and flavour of your brew. Both whole-bean coffee and ground coffee contain volatile compounds sensitive to environmental changes. When preserved correctly, these compounds remain intact, ensuring the coffee's original flavour profile is maintained, and significantly extending the shelf life of the coffee.
Storing coffee improperly leads to premature aging of the beans, degradation of flavor compounds, and, eventually, stale coffee. For instance, a friend of mine once stored a high-quality bag of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe in a transparent container on his kitchen counter, directly exposed to sunlight and air. In just a week, the beans' bright, fruity, and floral notes diminished significantly. He brewed a pot and ended up with a flat, bitter coffee that bore little resemblance to the original beans.
The Role of the Elements in Coffee Freshness
With coffee storage, air, oxygen, and carbon dioxide play pivotal roles. Oxygen causes coffee beans to oxidize, degrading their volatile compounds and leading to stale coffee. Simultaneously, coffee beans naturally emit carbon dioxide, a process called "degassing." If carbon dioxide builds up around the beans, it can lead to 'off' flavours. Therefore, we need a storage solution that minimizes oxygen exposure while allowing carbon dioxide to escape - this is where the best coffee canisters, like the Airscape range excel.
The Advantages of Using Coffee Canisters
Storing beans in coffee bags or on the kitchen counter exposes them to environmental elements such as light, heat, and humidity, accelerating the aging process. In contrast, the Airscape provides an airtight environment with a vacuum seal and opaque design, mitigating these factors and preserving the original flavours and aromas.
We've tried many coffee canisters over the years and there are lots of good options, but Airscape reign supreme. They are well-made, sturdy and look good in any kitchen. They keep light and air away from your delicious beans and help you make better coffee.
How to Use the Airscape Coffee Canister
The Airscape coffee container, with its innovative design, is perfect for preserving the freshness of your beans. To use it, place your coffee beans in the canister, ensuring there is enough space at the top for the inner lid. Push down this lid to the level of the beans, forcing out excess air. Then, secure the top lid. The canister's one-way valve allows the release of carbon dioxide without letting oxygen in, preserving your beans' freshness. Remember to keep the coffee canister in a cool, dark place, away from any heat sources. The Airscape is available in 1kg and 500g sizes and is the best coffee storage container available.
Storing Different Sizes of Coffee
Whether you're storing a large batch or just a few days' worth of beans, the principle remains the same: minimize oxygen exposure and protect from light, heat, and moisture. If you're dealing with a larger batch, consider using a larger canister or dividing the beans among multiple containers. The Airscape Kilo and 500g have an adjustable inner lid, allowing them to accommodate varying amounts while still creating an airtight seal.
Examples of Coffee Deterioration vs. Enhanced Freshness
Improper storage can drastically alter your coffee experience. In a blind taste test conducted, participants unanimously favoured a Kenyan AA stored in the Airscape Kilo over the same coffee stored in its original bag on the counter. The latter had lost its vibrant acidity and distinctive blackcurrant notes after just a week, while the former remained bright and fruity.
The Importance of Dark Storage
Light can degrade coffee beans, just like heat and air. Therefore, coffee should be stored in a dark place or in an opaque container like the Airscape Kilo. Think of coffee as a perishable good, just like produce or dairy - it should be treated with the same care.
Reducing Waste and Other Tips
To reduce waste, buy beans in amounts you'll consume within a week or two and store them properly. You can also reuse the Airscape Kilo for years, unlike coffee bags that end up in the trash.
Remember, every bag of coffee is an investment in an experience. Proper storage ensures that this experience remains as delightful as the roaster intended. Use tools like the Airscape to look after your fresh coffee and make sure you can enjoy it at its best for longer.
We sell coffee by the kilo at both our roastery in Kensington and Double Dutch Bakery in Kensington. You can bring any container you like and we will fill it for you. Or you can buy an Airscape and treat your coffee right.
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