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August 24, 2022 3 min read

We don't consider ourselves to be coffee snobs here at Milwaukee Coffee Co. But we do appreciate a delicious cup of coffee. And we've learned a thing or two about how to improve the taste of our home brew over the years. Like choosing the right grind for our brew method, always buying fresh beans and grinding them ourselves, and using the right coffee to water ratio. But did you know that how you store your coffee can make a big difference in the taste, too?

Coffee is a sensitive soul. Beans start to degrade as soon as they're ground, and coffee that's been sitting on a grocery store shelf for weeks (or months) is already past its peak. So if you're not careful, that $20 bag of coffee beans you just bought could be wasted. Or at the very least, lose their flavor.

Here are our best tips for keeping your coffee fresh even after you open it:


1. Buy whole beans and grind them yourself

We know, grinding coffee beans can be a pain. But it's worth it! Coffee that's been pre-ground likely lost a lot of its flavor before you even bought it. And coffee that's been sitting in your pantry for weeks will only get worse.

Trust us, when it comes to keeping your coffee fresh and flavorful, this tip is by far the most important one.

If you don't have a coffee grinder at home, you can usually find one at your local coffee shop. Or, invest in a small, handheld grinder that you can keep at home for fresh coffee every time.

We also really like this manual grinder and this electric one.


2. Store coffee in an airtight container

Once coffee is ground, the inside of the beans gets exposed to oxygen and the coffee starts to stale. So it's important to store coffee in an airtight container to keep it fresh for as long as possible.

We like glass mason jars with a tight-fitting lid. But you can also use a coffee canister or even a zip-top bag. Just make sure to squeeze all the air out before sealing it.


3. Keep coffee away from light, heat and moisture

Like most food, coffee tastes best when it's stored in a cool, dark place. So keep your coffee away from sunlight, heat sources and moisture.

A kitchen cabinet or pantry is usually a good spot. But avoid storing coffee near the stove or microwave. We also don't recommend storing your everyday beans in the fridge (they will absorb smells from other food) or in the freezer (which can dry out beans and make them taste stale).

Live in a climate where the moisture and humidity are unavoidable? Then we recommend taking out what you need for the week and keeping it in a coffee canister at room temperature. The rest can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge or freezer until you're ready to use it.


4. Use coffee within a few weeks of opening

Once your coffee bag is opened, the clock starts ticking. Ideally, you should use coffee within a few days of grinding it. But we know that's not always possible. If you can't finish a bag of coffee within a week or two, try to keep it as fresh as possible by using an airtight container and storing it in a cool, dark place.


5. Know when to toss it

Even if you follow all of our tips, coffee will eventually go bad. You'll know it's time to toss it when it starts to taste flat or dull. It will also start to develop a stale smell. If you're obsessed with the smell of fresh coffee beans like we are, you'll be able to smell a difference it right away.

So, if your coffee doesn't taste as good as it should, it might be time to start fresh. Fortunately, coffee is relatively cheap. So you can always afford to experiment until you find the perfect storage method for your coffee beans.


We hope you found these tips helpful! Now go forth and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee.

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