How to store ground coffee – Keep Them FRESH!

The best coffee often comes from freshly ground beans. As fellow coffee lovers, one of our primary goals is to keep ground coffee fresh as long as possible. That is why we must learn how to store ground coffee properly. Generally, you’d need to consider four factors when you keep ground coffee: air, moisture, heat, and light. The rule is to eliminate airflow, keep a dry and dark environment, and maintain proper temperature. Sounds complex? Worry not! 

In this article, I will share the best tips to store ground coffee for maximum freshness and flavor.

#1 The Choice of Container

One of the most important considerations you will make to store ground beans is your choice of container. Sealing ground coffee in an airtight and non-reactive container is the best option. Oxygen-absorbing packets can also come in handy. 

Using Airtight and Non-reactive Containers. 

Airtight containers effectively prevent the entry of moisture and impurities, while non-reactive containers are ideal for maintaining the acidic nature of ground coffee because they inherently don’t interact with acidic substances.

The best non-reactive materials include glass, stainless steel, tin, and ceramic. Hence, an airtight ceramic jar is not only aesthetic but also makes an excellent choice. 

Using Oxygen-absorbing Packets.

These packets contain the element iron, which grabs oxygen molecules in the bag and removes them by chemical reaction. They help prevent ground coffee from being rancid. Plus, they are relatively inexpensive.

Storing Coffee Grounds in Smaller Batches. 

Constantly opening and reclosing packages or containers will cause the grounds to be exposed to more air. As a result, the beans will lose flavor and intensity faster than they usually would, as if the container was only opened sparingly. 

#2 Buying Process

The coffee beans or grounds sold in local retail stores are often processed differently. We can keep the freshness of ground coffee by looking for specific characteristics, such as nitrogen-flushed, or we can simply control the amount we buy. 

Choosing Nitrogen-flushed Coffee.

Nitrogen flushing is a preservation method that involves replacing oxygen with nitrogen from the coffee bean packaging. Many high-quality coffee brands use this method to help their blends maintain optimal freshness before consumers use them. 

If coffee grounds have been nitrogen-flushed, it will usually state so on the packaging. So, look for this sign the next time you go coffee shopping. 

Avoiding Bulk Buying Coffee Grounds.

Only buy coffee in bulk if you can consume it soon. Coffee starts to lose freshness immediately after roasting. Purchase the amount you can finish within one to two weeks for peak freshness. 

I recommend buying a small bag of your favorite beans more frequently instead of stocking up for months.

#3 Storage Environment

Humidity and light play a significant role in keeping ground coffee fresh. A humid environment can add moisture to coffee grounds, causing a loss in flavor. On the other hand, light can affect the quality of the grounds by photodegradation

Keeping the Coffee Storage Environment Dry and Cool. 

Coffee sweats out its natural oils and absorbs moisture in a humid environment. Not only does it lead to loss of flavor, but it can also produce moldy beans and clumpy grinds. Overall, it makes the beans go stale. 

This also means storing coffee grounds in the refrigerator is a big N-O because many refrigerator staples give off moisture. Doing this could expose them to the dampness and odors of other foods. 

Make sure the temperature of your storage is no more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity is no more than 55% on average. You can also use a hygrometer to be on the safe side.

Keeping the Coffee Storage Environment Dark.

Coffee is light-sensitive. When exposed to light, photons or light particles break down essential compounds that give coffee its characteristic aroma and taste. In fact, ground coffee is more prone to damage than coffee beans because they have a larger surface area. 

Sunlight can damage your coffee grounds, so plan to store them in a dark spot, such as in a cupboard or a closet. An opaque container also helps. 

Putting the Grounds in the Freezer or the Pantry. 

Many people need clarification about this. You can absolutely put your ground coffee into a freezer, as it is the safest method for long-term storage. But there are certain things you take note of. 

The eternal question here is, “pantry or freezer?”

Two factors matter here: fresh flavor and storage time.

For the freshest taste, we suggest storing the coffee on a pantry shelf using an opaque, airtight container to avoid light, heat, and moisture. Ground coffee can stay fresh for up to two weeks in your cupboards.

Putting coffee grounds into the freezer is better if you want to stock up on them longer. Frozen coffee grounds can stay fresh for up to two years. But remember that flavor and taste will inevitably decrease as time goes on. 

Remember to store the grounds in small batches, regardless of your chosen method.

#4 Common Practice

Although we can control the conditions to keep fresh and quality coffee grounds, the common practice is to prepare these coffee grounds within a month before use. 

Noting the dates on the packaging.

No matter how tightly sealed the storage container or how well-roasted the specialty coffee is, all coffee grounds and beans spoil eventually.

Check both the expiration date and the roast date provided on the packaging. Take the expiration date as a point of no return. I recommend grinding and drinking all the coffee within three or four weeks of its roasting date, even if that’s earlier than the expiration date. 

Grinding Coffee Beans Just Before Use

I always recommend you grind coffee beans before use.

One reason for this is that whole beans last much longer than ground coffee and are less prone to damage. Another reason would be that grinding the beans allows their characteristic aromatic compounds to escape more rapidly from the beans. 

This means that once the beans are grounded, they almost instantly lose their authentic flavor. 

Bottom Line

Although the preferred practice is grinding coffee beans just before brewing, we can not prevent the instances when we need to prepare coffee in advance or when we have grinded extra beans. 

Proper storage ensures that we can still enjoy an almost excellent cup of coffee no matter our circumstance. To preserve the freshness of coffee ground for as long as possible, creating a suitable environment, e.g. no heat, light, moisture, or air, is the best that you can do. 

Photo of author


Mesphird Yang

I have been brewing and drinking coffee for almost 6 years now. At first, I was just dazzled by how baristas look and that's why I started learning. In the long run, I became obsessed with its charm. I have tried many coffee brewing methods, with different kinds of beans in various roast levels. If I could have more than 4 cups of coffee a day, I definitely would!

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