Ground coffee, there’s no getting around it, doesn’t last very long; in fact it is coffee at its most vulnerable. The grinding process creates coffee that has the highest surface area exposed to the elements. It is best to keep your beans in all their complete unground glory for as long as possible before you turn them into a cup of the good stuff, but if for some reason this can’t be done you need to take precautions to make sure you keep your ground coffee at its best for as long as possible.
Now, as a sort of semi-disclaimer, it’s important to tell you that by going ‘bad’ I mean passing its best. It’s not going bad in the moldy and dangerous sense of the word, but merely deteriorated and flavorless or otherwise stale.
A bad “stale” cup of coffee won’t harm you physically. Coffee beans, even those that are ground, don’t become a health threat for years, but they develop a dull flavor much sooner than that. Most coffee lovers claim to notice a deterioration of the flavor in ground beans within two weeks from grinding, about twice as fast as un-ground coffee.
The trick to preserving your coffee is storing it correctly. If kept anywhere where it comes into contact with air, moisture, heat or light then it is being affected, and sooner rather than later, it’ll go bad.
Try to keep your coffee in an airtight container – forget about the valved bags by this point, the degasing process should be well over before you’ve ground the beans. Some people keep them in vacuum sealed bags but an airtight canister or even an opaque jar is acceptable.
Here are some of the best air tight coffee storage solutions available today.
Friis 16-Ounce Coffee Vault, Stainless SteelTightvac Coffeevac 1 Pound Vacuum Sealed Storage Container, Solid Black Body/CapOXO Good Grips Coffee POP Container, 1.5-QuartBeanSafe Coffee Storage Solutions in BPA-Free Polypropylene-BlackPlanetary Design Airscape 64oz Chrome
If you’re storing a large amount of grounds, try to use a large canister to store the bulk of it and a smaller container for everyday use; that way you’re limiting the light and air exposure for the majority of your supply for longer.
There’s also the possibility of freezing your ground beans too, although it’s a controversial practice and most people try to avoid this where they can, although it’s better than throwing your beans away and can help keep them drinkable for longer.
The best way to avoid ground coffee going stale is by keeping it whole as long as possible, many coffee drinkers find it necessary to grind beans at home to save the trouble and it really is the best way forward. Anything you can do to limit the amount of time between grinding the coffee and making your drink is going to help, so buying your grounds more regularly in smaller quantities is a good idea if you can do it too.
Overall the main thing is to try to avoid the situation where you’re trying to store large quantities of ground coffee, it’s not the best way to do things, but if you have to do so, make sure you take as much care as possible to keep that coffee well sealed in a cool, dark place. Still, you’re only going to get two weeks of good coffee but that’s a lot better than nothing.
Gathering Grounds Cafe 116 S 11th St. Klamath Falls, OR 97601 541-887-8403