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Storing Beans

Daily French press enjoyer, and I usually get a pound bag local to the Minneapolis area. Just received my 5 lbs bag from Bird Mountain, and their dark roast is outstanding! Discovered it on a road trip a couple years back.

I fill about 12oz weekly in a glass container next to my grinder. What is the best way to store the large bag for optimal freshness?
Any roast past 4 weeks will taste like regular grocery store coffee. My max is 2-3 weeks between roasting.

It is best to get on a weekly delivery schedule. That way you will always have fresh beans.

There are some really good and really bad commercial storage options.

Tight-vac and airscape are the better ones out there. I fill my grinder hopper 4-5- days in there and keep the rest in multiple tight-vac containers in a cabinet (away from light). I use airscape containers when traveling as they are more durable.

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Thanks, Mick. I may use mason jars for now as they’re readily available. I know a few who freeze their beans. Is this a bad idea?
I have been told numerous times that freezing beans is not a good idea. The best storage is airtight and in a dark cabinet. Coffee, once roasted and opened to air exposure, is like fresh bread. It is at its best the first 7 days and then goes downhill. I never buy those big 5 pound bags because once opened it should be used within a week or two. I roast my own green coffee beans. I roast once a week using an old air popcorn popper. It is for me the ideal way to have fresh roasted coffee beans once a week. A good company to purchase green coffee beans is Sweet Maria’s in Oakland, CA. Their website also is a great source of information.
Thanks, Mick. I may use mason jars for now as they’re readily available. I know a few who freeze their beans. Is this a bad idea?
Freezing is the worst you could probably do to store beans. Coffee is very sensitive to aromas that are close by and can absorb them. In your freezer next to meat and other foods the coffee can absorb those aromas. The best you can do is to store the beans away from sunlight in a cabinet away from other spices. One of the first bags of coffee beans I bought when I started to grind my own coffee for French press I stored it next to some Chile peppers. I was wondering why my coffee tasted spicy? You can find vacuum sealed containers online for beans, but I just use the bag the coffee comes in inside a cabinet away from sunlight.
Freezing is not the worst thing you can do to beans provided you do it correctly. I would store the beans in zip lock bags and then stick the zip lock bags in air tight mason jars. Depending when the beans were roasted you may want to let them degas a bit before storing them though. As long as they are properly sealed you'll be good. I wouldn't just stick them in the cabinet in their coffee bags they came in. Way too much oxygen to get at the beans. It sounds like you bought yourself about a 6 or 7 week supply. Sitting the cabinet, by the time you reach the last few weeks much of the great flavor will have disappeared.
Source long forgotten. Rule of thumb coffee expiration dates. 15 months from picking, 15 days from roasting, 15 minutes from grinding
And... espresso... drank 15 seconds from being pulled (believe it or not).

I notice a taste difference between the first cup out of the pot that changes with each additional cup. It does not bother me enough to go through making one cup at a time.
Thanks, Mick. I may use mason jars for now as they’re readily available. I know a few who freeze their beans. Is this a bad idea?
If you can't roast yourself, get on a weekly delivery schedule with a roasting house you like.

Far better to have a steady supply of fresh coffee that to store too much so it goes bad. Buying too much coffee is the first step back into buying grocery store coffee again.

Mason jars will work fine for short term storage. Just don't use them to go into daily. Fill your grinder hopper, store beans and only open to refill the hopper.

Grinders work more consistently with a full hopper.


Fussy Evil Genius
What you are trying to avoid is oxygen, heat, and light, so the short answer is to store the large bag in a cool, dry, dark place, but that will only get you so far.

Vacuum packing is the best to minimize oxygen and moisture exposure. Since you go through about 12 ounces in a week, vacuum packing in 12 ounce portions is a good idea. If you can't vacuum pack, put them in a container and keep them as still as possible. With a little luck, the natural off-gassing will create some protective CO2.

Refrigeration is a big no-no, and you're just asking for off-aromas and moisture to creep in. You'll find differing opinions on freezing, but even those that advocate freezing advise doing to in a truly airtight container to minimize exposure. You still have issues with condensation, though. If you are going to remove beans from the freezer and then put them back in, keep them out on for as long as necessary to minimize condensation.

But, yeah, the best thing to do is buy no more than a couple weeks' worth. That said, you may find that you still enjoy the "not fresh" coffee, even if it isn't as fantastic as the fresh. No telling.
+1 on @Mick recommendation of airscape. I have a few and have learned that the spun metal ones hold less but seal well. I also have a large glass one that if the sealing lid gets the slightest bit off level it doesn't seal very well. I am not an expert but agree that smaller regular shipments would result in better coffee.

I roast 2.1kg of beans every 10-14 days (about 1.75 kg after roast weight). Every couple days I fill my grinder hopper. I try to let the beans "rest" overnight but there may have been a time when I got up and there were no beans ... called in sick to work and fired up the roaster. That day I would say the time from cooling try to grinding was closer to 5-6 minutes.

ruckin (on the hunt for a large conical grinder)
when I used to buy coffee in larger quantities I’d foodsaver ( vaccum seal ) them into 1 lb portions and then freeze them. Definitely good as new on the other side. For the smaller portions ( 1 lb ) we use the airscape as has been mentioned.

The condensation issue is taken care of by not opening the vacuum sealed bag until it is back to room temp.

'Freezing beans is a bad idea'. This is incorrect, based on many years of doing so and reading similar experiences. I buy 5 lbs of Redbird Espresso and prior to this, five plus pounds of other freshly roasted boutique blends.

When I get the beans in, I separate into 1 quart zip locks, then place into gallon zip locks. Place in freezer.

When ready, remove one...1 quart bag, leave out to room temp, then place beans into glass, sealed container. For three to four days, open top of container, then close, to degass. Then place into regular container, grind and use beans.

The secret is not to remove beans and refreeze! Just remove and use one 1 guart bag at a time, after bringing to room temp and degasing.

Do what you feel comfortable with but this method has worked for me and many others for many years. Espresso, French Press, Drip.

Enjoy your coffee.


I'm calling the U.N.
Moderator Emeritus
Here's a picture of a guy who freezes his coffee beans, and a guy who doesn't, talking to each other. But I forget which is which.