For the best fresh coffee the ideal tips are to obtain unroasted beans, then roast and grind them on the same
day that you plan to brew. Roasting coffee beans is, however, something of a specialty and unless you are willing
to invest in a fairly expensive piece of equipment, the results are often less than satisfactory. Even if you
manage to master the art of coffee bean roasting, it can fill the house with odours that take time to dissipate and
can even become annoying after a while.
Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans
Coffee beans, even after roasting, will stay fresh for a while. Freshly roasted beans naturally release small
amounts of carbon dioxide which helps to keep oxygen away from the bean whilst delaying spoilage. If stored in an
airtight container, especially with a drying agent, they will retain their good flavor and aroma for up to a
Naturally, the closer to roasting they are ground and consumed the fresher they will be. But even after a few
days they can still produce a stellar grind and a superior brew. After two weeks the flavor may still be
acceptable, even though aroma will no longer be first rate. Whole bean coffee stored at even optimum conditions
will be dull after a month.
The key to getting a good fresh cup of coffee from purchased roasted beans is to ensure that the skin is
unbroken. Damaged or broken skin will cause the oils underneath the skin and inside the bean to deteriorate unless
frozen, in which case the brew will never be first rate.
Storing Coffee Beans
When storing coffee beans, be sure to use an airtight container. A glass jar of the type used for instant tea
grounds is tempting, but totally inadequate as there is still too much leakage around the lid. A good glass jar
with a rubber seal is best. Be sure to store the jar in a cool, dark place since not only air, but also heat and
light can contribute to spoiling coffee beans.
Even better, but more expensive, are containers which flush air with an inert gas, then inject the coffee beans
which then give off CO2, providing natural protection against spoilage. Beans stored in this way can keep their
freshness for several weeks.
Coffee Bean Grinding
The next best thing to home roasting, and an option open even to those with less than stellar cooking skills is
grinding at home.
Good grinders are available at moderate prices and are generally easy to use and are not difficult to clean.
Many are automated to the point that with very minor experimentation, it is possible to arrive at consistently good
Since grinding necessarily breaks the bean skin the same 'oil spoilage' problem can arise if the grind is not
used within a few days. Like roasted coffee beans, only more so, any grounds not consumed within a day should be
packed in a desiccating cannister. Those cannisters contain a drying agent, usually beneath a mesh at the bottom,
that keep moisture from introducing mold or excess oxygen into the grounds.
If not stored in a desiccating cannister, grounds will lose much flavor within a few hours. Oils will evaporate
and, exposed to the air and moisture within the jar, the grounds will deteriorate.
For a superior fresh coffee, grind only what you intend to brew and drink everything brewed within an hour. With
modern, moderate cost machines there is no longer any reason to suffer second rate coffee.