It’s All About the ‘Resting Period’!
Coffee that has been freshly roasted, allowed to rest for twelve to twenty-four hours and then brewed, produces the best possible cup of coffee, which has maximum flavor, full body and that heavenly aroma us coffee aficionados crave so badly.
During that resting period, the ground beans are releasing a lot of carbon dioxide (which interferes with the flavour of the coffee). While you can use the grounds as soon as they are roasted and ground, the flavours will not have had the time to fully develop, and the coffee will not be as delicious as it has the potential to be.
Immediately after the resting period, the amount of carbon dioxide being released starts to diminish and air starts to interact with the ground beans and they begin to deteriorate and lose their flavour. It’s almost a fine line, not to be crossed if you want the best flavor out of your cup of Joe!
While green (unroasted) beans can be stored for up to one year under proper conditions, once roasted, they have a much shorter life. Green coffee beans are made up mainly of water, carbohydrates, minerals, proteins, lipids amino and chlorogenic acids, and a few other substances in lesser amounts.
During the process of roasting, these substances generate the tantalizing aromas which are not present in the green beans. The raw beans undergo further transformations, getting bigger, browner, and more fragile during roasting. Fluctuations in temperature, moisture, light and air, all contribute to the depreciation of the coffee as soon as the roasting and resting period is over.
To ensure that you get that perfect cup of coffee every time, ideally one should roast and grind coffee beans roughly twice a week. Since this may not always be possible, the next best thing to do is preserve the flavour of the freshly ground coffee as long as possible, so that you can still get that delicious, desirable drink without the additional work.
Tip :: Whole Coffee Beans Stay Fresher, Longer Than Ground Coffee Beans
The best way to do this is to keep your roasted coffee away from the elements that contribute to its degradation. The rule to keep in mind is that whole roasted beans retain their flavours longer than ground beans.
This is because grinding increases the surface area where all things bad for coffee can come in contact with the beans and degrade their quality. So if you happen to buy your roasted coffee beans in bulk divide them into portions that you can keep them fresher, for longer. Next place each portion in separate paper bags, squeeze the air out, fold the top tightly and seal the bags.
Now put the paper bags in a plastic (or tin foil) bag and seal tightly. The paper bags protect the roasted coffee from light while the plastic bag keeps moisture and air out. But, even better (although more expensive, use foil bags).
Where to Store Your Coffee Beans to Keep Them Fresh
The best place to store these bags is in the least opened cupboard (to minimize exposure to light) in the kitchen. The cupboard should be away from the stove and any air-conditioning vents to minimize temperature fluctuations. The weekly requirement of beans can be removed and ground, while the bulk stays untouched and protected from harmful elements.
Stored in this way the roasted beans should retain their flavour for about a month. The ground coffee can be kept in a tin container to ensure that the grounds only have minimum interaction with light, air and moisture.
A Few Don’ts
Keeping roasted coffee in the refrigerator or freezer is not really a good idea and should be avoided if possible. This is due to the big variation in temperature the beans encounter once removed from the fridge or freezer.
Also the greater the difference in temperature the faster the beans deteriorate. Also, note that roasted coffee beans are porous, and they will absorb odours from the fridge or freezer that further degrades their quality.