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5 Rules for Storing Your Coffee

What is the best way to store my coffee? This is one of the more common questions that we get in the shop and there is no real easy answer except, “Buy your coffee directly from your roaster every two weeks.” If you do this store the coffee in an airtight container in the cupboard or on the counter in a container that does not allow light to get to the coffee. Now, how does that idea work in your world? In most cases this is just impractical if not impossible. It is at this point that creativity comes into play, as well as some compromise in the overall flavor of the coffee.

We, at Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company, went out of our way to select what we consider to be the best storage bags to package our coffee. These one pound bags are resealable and have the one way gas valve to allow for the off gassing that occurs in freshly roasted coffee. These bags are ideal for coffee storage with just one caveat, with the clear back that we decided on for simply asthetic reasons (many people like to see their coffee in the bag) it is recommended that you store the coffee in a cupboard out of the light.

So, what are the rules if you can only visit your roaster or order online for a month at a time? In the July/August 2007 issue of Roast Magazine there is an article that addresses exactly this issue. You can follow the link to purchase the back issue for the full detail.

Rule #1: Always buy your coffee directly from your roaster (that would be us) every other week if not more frequently.

Rule #2: Never put your coffee in the freezer as this will cause a pronounced effect on the quality and flavor of your coffee.

Rule #3: Never put your coffee in the refrigerator. Coffee is highly odor absorbent and unless you like your coffee to taste like last night’s leftovers never in the refrigerator.

Rule #4: Coffee is highly perishable and the volatile oils will degrade rapidly once the coffee is roasted. You can expect a pronounced difference in quality and flavor in just three weeks.

Rule #5: Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself what works best for you, but I will offer my suggestions as a starting point.

Did I mention yet? Get your coffee frequently directly from the roaster. That is the best case scenario. Never freeze your coffee.

That being said, if you have to make some compromises here is how I recommend handling your coffee: Take a two week supply and store it at room temperature out of the light in an air tight container. The rest, put in the freezer right away. Remember, this will change the coffee, but it is the best of a bad situation. In my opinion, once the coffee is frozen, never let it thaw. Very quickly, take out only what you need to brew minimizing the exposure to possible condensation and place the remaining coffee back in the freezer. Store the coffee in the bag that we package it in when freezing.

Is this perfect? No. Perfect is having dozens of coffees to choose from all roasted within a couple of days. But, if you follow these simple steps it will enhance your coffee drinking experience and your enjoyment of Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee.

-Tim

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