By Ardith Stephanson
Brewing the perfect cup of coffee starts with the best ingredient: fresh coffee.
But it’s not always realistic to get fresh coffee beans or grounds every morning, or afternoon, just before you make it.
So how do you ensure you have the freshest start to your cup of coffee?
Let’s look at 7 tips for keeping coffee fresh.
1. Buy Beans Instead of Ground Coffee
The ideal way to ensure your coffee is fresh is by buying beans. This way, you can ensure the peak of flavour by grinding your beans right before brewing.
That’s because coffee beans start to lose flavour after they've been ground. In fact, flavours can be lost within 20-30 minutes of grinding the beans.
Once the beans turn into small grounds, it means more oxygen can hit the grounds, as compared to whole beans. Oxygen is what causes the coffee to lose its natural aromas, flavours and sugars.
So if it’s possible, buy whole beans.
2. Grind Only What You Need
If you are able to purchase beans, and you own a good grinder, then grind what you need, rather than grinding large batches.
Similar to buying grounds in the first place, if you grind too many beans at once, you risk losing much of the flavour before you have a chance to brew coffee.
3. If You Prefer Ground Coffee, Get Fresh Ground
If you prefer to buy ground coffee, you can still enjoy the perfect brew without having to grind the beans yourself. You can still sip on a delicious cup of espresso, coffee, latte, and cappuccino, if you buy fresh grounds.
But getting pre-ground coffee in a can at the store likely won’t achieve the level of freshness you need. After roasting the beans, they are cooled, ground, and then put in those cans or packages. So it could be weeks or months between roasting, grinding and arrival at the store. And then that can of coffee will likely sit in your kitchen for several weeks or even months, losing even more freshness.
So buying fresh-ground coffee in smaller batches is preferable.
4. Choose Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans or Grounds
Whether you choose beans or ground coffee, it’s also important to choose fresh roasted coffee, once again to ensure you’re enjoying it at the peak of flavour.
Coffee beans start losing flavour right after roasting, because coffee’s flavour is derived from the oils contained in the beans. The roasting process releases CO2 from the beans, along with essential oils, and those oils start to evaporate when they come into contact with air.
Peak freshness is lost within 1-2 weeks of roasting, meaning that if you’re buying a big batch of beans or grounds at the store, there’s the risk that they have lost much of their natural aromas, flavours and even sugars.
And, choosing freshly roasted beans or grounds will produce a more pronounced crema, that tan-coloured foam on the top of your coffee that signals the ideal cup of coffee. The perfect crema is produced by freshly roasted coffee, and crema is what differentiates the freshest, best tasting brew from one made with stale or poor quality coffee beans or grounds.
At Bops Beans, we ship within 3 days of roasting, making every coffee freshly ground.
Get your fresh coffee beans here
5. Buy Good Coffee
You don’t have to be a coffee snob, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money, to buy good coffee. You’ll notice the difference from the first sip.
And maybe you have some specific personal requirements for the coffee you buy. For instance, look for ethically sourced beans, grown in a sustainable environment.
If you start with quality, the end result in your cup will be quality.
100% Arabica with quality that's hard to beat. With Bop's Beans, good coffee will be all that you drink.
Get your fresh coffee beans here
6. Don’t Buy Too Much
It may be tempting to stock up, but big batches can be the bane of a perfect cup of coffee. 1kg is normally the sweet spot, not too much, but will keep you going for a good amount of time.
Unless you know you’ll be using a large amount of coffee in a short period of time, it’s best to buy smaller batches on a more frequent basis.
For instance, if you can get a regular subscription for fresh coffee delivered every week, or every two weeks, that would be ideal.
7. Store Your Coffee Properly
There are also some key steps to take when storing your coffee grounds or beans.
First off, if you purchase quality coffee, it will likely be sold in a sealed paper bag with a vent. The vent is a one-way valve that helps ensure the freshness and shelf life of your coffee beans or grounds.
After roasting, coffee releases carbon dioxide, so the valve allows the release of the carbon dioxide without creating expansion of the bag itself. It allows the roaster to get the beans into a bag immediately. Keeping the beans in a bag is preferable to keeping them in the open, since too much exposure to oxygen can cause the coffee beans or grounds to go stale.
The one-way valve allows carbon dioxide to be released while keeping coffee fresh by preventing oxygen from getting into the bag.
It’s also a reason that store-bought coffee is often stale before you buy it - the coffee is kept out so it releases carbon dioxide before packaging, which means it has been exposed to oxygen and likely aged before it even hits the store shelf. A paper bag with a vent allows the fresh roasted coffee to stay fresh longer.
To store your coffee, don’t believe the old myths about refrigerating or freezing your coffee. Simply keep it in the paper bag to keep air out, and store it where it won’t be subject to moisture, light, or extreme heat or cold. A pantry or similar cupboard is ideal.
Brew On This
If you’re looking for coffee that fits the bill for these 7 tips for coffee fresh, Bop’s Beans is an ideal choice.
Bop’s Beans sells beans or grounds, and they’re fresh in either format you choose. If you choose beans, you can grind only what you need. If you like ground coffee, you can order beans that are ground to your specific requirement, done at the time of your order to ensure freshness. Choose from grind options for every type of coffee and coffee machine, including espresso, filter, French press, aeropress, stovetop and cold drip.
Bop’s Beans coffee is guaranteed to be fresh, because you’ll get beans or grounds that are roasted within three days of your order. That’s the promise of Bop’s Beans, which are hand roasted in small batches in Sydney’s Inner West and shipped within three days of roasting. They’re ground fresh to your specifications.
You get only what you need, with different sizes available, a subscription service if you want, and beans or grounds delivered to you in a paper bag with a one-way valve to ensure they stay fresh. Depending when you order, you may even get same-day shipping.
You’ll also get quality, with 100% Arabica beans that are ethically sourced and sustainably grown, in a variety of roasts. And quality and freshness means a perfect crema and an outstanding cup of coffee.
So when you’re looking to follow the 7 tips for keeping coffee fresh, it all starts with Bop’s Beans.
Click here to get your Fresh Coffee Beans, shipped within 3 days of roasting
Ardith Stephanson has spent over 30 years as a journalist, writer and communications professional, and now focuses exclusively on her freelance writing business. You can follow her personal blog theardizan.com