The "rule of 2" to preserve coffee at its best
When it comes to coffee, quality is synonymous with freshness. Between popular beliefs and grandmothers’ advice, here is the best way to store coffee.
- Unlike other foods, coffee does not have an actual expiration date. But the sooner it is consumed the better.
- When the coffee is fresh, the flavor and aromas are more intense. Fresh ground coffee makes the best espresso.
- To protect its freshness, coffee should be stored away from air, humidity, heat and light.
- It is recommended to store the coffee in an opaque airtight container, and kept in a cool, dry and dark place.
- Do not put coffee in the fridge or place apple peels and corks with the coffee beans: they could, in fact, alter the beans’ organoleptic characteristics.
- A good tip to always have fresh coffee is to buy small packs, according to your consumption.
Long live the coffee!
Coffee is part of our daily life. It has been with us from the beginning and we feel like we know everything about it. In reality, there is a lot more to discover. An example? The second life of coffee grounds.
There is also a question that few can answer: does coffee have an expiration date? Technically, coffee does not expire like other foods and drinks do. Truth is that on the package you can find the words "to be consumed preferably by". However, it should be noted that consuming coffee beans or ground coffee beyond the recommended date on the package does not involve any health risk. Despite that, the aroma and flavor of the coffee may be affected. Storing coffee properly helps protect its freshness and keep it tasting better for longer. Here are some tips on the best way to store coffee.
Coffee’s mortal enemies
Coffee tastes best when fresh. This is because its flavors and aromas, which are what make a cup delicious, are more intense. In order, therefore, to preserve the freshness of the beans or of the blend, it is suggested to store the coffee according to precise criteria. First rule: keep it away from air, humidity, heat and light.
- Exposure to oxygen and high temperatures causes oxidation of the coffee beans. This phenomenon leads to the deterioration of their aromatic quality and produces unpleasant rancid smells.
- Coffee is hygroscopic, meaning it is able to absorb humidity from the environment. This too causes the degradation of the typical coffee aromas.
One must also pay attention to light, as it can cause evaporation, depriving the grains of precious components that give them their specific organoleptic characteristics.
The rule of 2
When storing coffee, it should be noted that air, humidity, heat and light are coffee’s mortal enemies. This is even more true after the beans are roasted. This process is a necessary practice to facilitate the extraction of aromas. At the same time, however, the porosity of the coffee increases, making it more likely to absorb humidity and odors. Furthermore, this process causes fatty substances to concentrate on the surface, which, in contact with these four factors, tend to oxidize and go rancid very easily.
To better understand how the aromatic and organoleptic properties of coffee evolve over time, we refer to the so-called "rule of 2". That is to say:
- coffee beans lose 50% of their aromas within 2 days, if they are not packaged and stored correctly;
- ground coffee loses 50% of its aromas within 2 hours, if it is not packaged and stored correctly;
- a cup of coffee (espresso) loses 50% of its aromas in just 2 minutes. It is therefore advisable to drink freshly brewed coffee.
The importance of packaging, and the added value of the Bialetti’s valve
The freshness of the raw material is essential for a high-quality cup of coffee. Experts agree that coffee should be consumed as quickly as possible after roasting. For this reason, storing coffee requires suitable packaging. That is, it must offer a high barrier against:
From this point of view, Bialetti coffee is stored either in a self-protected aluminum capsule or in a soft bag that offers protection from oxygen and light. Our Perfetto Moka, Elected Product of the Year 2022, also features a specific aroma-saving valve designed to preserve the aroma of coffee for a long time. It is a one-way valve that prevents the entry of oxygen but allows the correct release of CO2, as the coffee releases it naturally after roasting. The valve guarantees an optimal and longer preservation of the blend and the maintenance of its aromatic notes, while protecting it from oxidation.
In a cool and dry place: the best way to store coffee
Good storage can protect the freshness of the coffee. It is recommended to store the coffee in a dry and cool place, away from sources of heat and light. For example, a wall unit, away from the oven or the refrigerator motor and where the sun does not shine.
All open packages must then be placed in an airtight container made of steel, dark glass or ceramic. If stored correctly, coffee beans can preserve their organoleptic characteristics for up to a month. Home-ground coffee, on the other hand, usually lasts a maximum of two weeks.
Can coffee be stored in the fridge?
You could decide to keep the coffee in the fridge, provided that the container in which it is stored is truly airtight. It is therefore preferable to preserve it in a cool, dry and dark place. Storing coffee in the refrigerator lends itself to some negative consequences. First of all, the fridge contains other foods and the variety of smells can permeate the coffee. Then, there is the issue of potential exposure to moisture which, as seen, risks damaging the integrity of the beans, causing them to become stale faster. Finally, the cold temperature of the refrigerator affects the chemical structure of the grain. It means that the coffee can develop a flat flavor profile, hindering the possibility of enjoying an excellent espresso.
An apple a day won't keep humidity at bay
Between popular beliefs and grandmothers’ remedies, there are many suggestions related to coffee. From tips to clean your Moka pot with natural products to tricks for storing ground coffee or beans.
However, they are not always sound. For example, despite what many believe, adding an apple peel or a cork in the container where you store coffee beans is useless. Some say these ingredients should help to preserve the right degree of humidity in the coffee: instead, they risk ruining the beans.
One of the best practices to adopt in order to be able to store coffee in the best way possible, is to purchase it in small packages or package sizes that match your consumption. By doing this, you avoid having bags of coffee that have been open for too long.