“Should I keep coffee in the fridge or freezer?”
It’s a common question among home and office baristas, and one that draws wildly different opinions, depending on what you read.
In my experience, most offices will keep their ground coffee or coffee beans in the fridge, right next door to the milk. It keeps the coffee fresher for longer, right? Wrong.
The widespread belief that coffee should be stored in the fridge or, God forbid, the freezer for freshness is a complete fallacy. So how did the myth start, and why is it so bad to keep coffee in the fridge?
In this week’s column, I’ll be settling this long-standing debate among office coffee drinkers once and for all!
Why Do We Do It?
Storing coffee in the fridge or freezer is one of those myths that has found its way, quite convincingly, into popular wisdom. I confess that for a long time I stored my coffee in the fridge. I even still have some rather lovely Vietnamese beans in my freezer from 2010! But I soon came to realise that although, in general, fridges are designed to keep things fresh, they also bring one thing that coffee hates the most…. moisture!
Coffee Hates Condensation
The fragile, fresh flavours of coffee beans are so easily lost to the atmosphere. In fact, coffee starts to deteriorate only minutes after a grinder breaks its protective outer bean casing, so you need to take all steps necessary to lock in that flavor for as long as possible.
I’m afraid, though, keeping it in the fridge is not one of those steps.
Why? Because coffee really hates moisture – contact with moisture accelerates the deterioration process, causing your coffee to go stale much quicker. Although modern fridges control moisture and humidity reasonably well, it can still build up, destroying the freshness of your ground loveliness forever.
How to Store Coffee
To keep your coffee as fresh as possible, for as long as possible, there are a few golden rules that you need to live by. Your main priority is not to keep it cold, but rather protect it from excessive air, moisture, heat and light.
So the solution is quite simple – keep your coffee in small, airtight containers away from light or excessive heat. That’s it.
Don’t buy too much coffee in bulk – no matter how well you store it, all coffee will eventually become stale, so buy it as you need it. Also, I probably don’t need to tell you, but look for the best quality coffee, roasted in small batches. For optimum freshness, grind your own!
So if you’ve just cracked open a fresh bag of ground Arabica, and delighted in the rich aromas that fill your nostrils and the fresh taste that fills your mouth, don’t put it in the fridge. You’ll just ruin all that we love about fresh coffee.
How do you keep your coffee fresh? We’d love to hear about it. Tweet us @GreenerMediaUK using the hashtag #betterofficecoffee or write to us in the comments section below.
Are you in London this week? Head down to the London Coffee Festival on Brick Lane for all the latest in the world of coffee!
Next week, I’ll be looking at the some of the best ways to source good coffee beans for your office… Be here, 10am, next Monday!