First up, fresh is best – no question. If you can, grind your beans when you need them, and only grind what you need. While coffee is in it’s whole bean state, all the good tasty stuff stays protected inside the bean, right where you want it. Once ground, the coffee’s exposure to oxygen and moisture is greatly increased, causing a rapid loss of flavour and aroma. How rapid you ask? We are talking a substantial loss of freshness within minutes, not in days or weeks. The good news is that, with all other factors remaining equal, a lighter roasted coffee bean will stay fresher longer than a darker roast – and specialty coffee roasters invariably favour a lighter roast.
Next up, you need to match your grind to your brewing method. On this site we have deliberately broken down the grind options by method of brewing to assist with this:
There are some helpful pictures of different coffee grind sizes here.
Different brewing methods require different brewing time to produce a coffee you will be happy with, and generally speaking the longer the water and ground coffee are going to be in contact with each other, the coarser the grind will need to be. This is why a cold brew uses an extra course grind, as the coffee extraction occurs over several hours.
Essentially there are two types of coffee grinders: blade grinders and burr grinders. If you like your coffee as espresso, then you really need a good quality burr grinder. The reason is simply precision – they offer a grind quality that a blade grinder cannot. If you don’t need a grind that fine, then a blade grinder will do the job, and the good news is they aren’t expensive to buy. Alternatively, try a hand grinder, they offer the fine grind of an electric burr grinder with the added bonus of a solid upper body workout!
Store your coffee in the bag it was delivered in. It has a one-way valve to allow gases to escape without letting air get inside the bag. Keep the bag away from light, heat and moisture, such as on the pantry shelf. Keeping your beans on a low shelf is also a good idea if possible, as it will be a bit cooler than shelves higher up. Don’t be tempted to put your coffee in the fridge or freezer!
Finally, try to buy less and more frequently. No matter how careful you are with storage, coffee is a fresh product and should be treated as such. All the coffee we send to you is freshly roasted, and should keep well for at least two to three weeks as long as properly stored in whole bean form. If you don’t think you will use all of your coffee in that sort of timeframe, try opting for a smaller bag size.
Or just drink more coffee more often.