As you make yourself a coffee in the morning and take a sip from the cup, everything seems to be perfectly normal. But suddenly you notice a stale taste. This was doubtless caused by aroma killers! But who are they?
Nothing beats a coffee in the morning. It wakes us up and helps us start the day. But it is also a natural product and does not have an endless shelf life like the sugar you may add – even if some manufacturers like to make such claims.
Cutting off the oxygen supply
It only takes around eight weeks for freshly ground and correctly stored coffee to lose its flavour. Oxygen plays a major role. Too much of it makes the coffee taste old, stale and wooden – not very appetising. It should therefore remain in the packaging if possible. Transferring it to another container unnecessarily exposes it to the harmful air.
The best way to store it is in the original packaging in an airtight container. Two really are better than one when it comes to keeping coffee fresh. Coffee that is too fresh is also not particularly tasty – a lot of carbon dioxide is released after roasting, so the coffee should be left for three to four days before the first cup is brewed.
Giving heat the cold shoulder
Storing coffee directly above devices that give off heat, such as the fridge or, God forbid, the heating, is anything but advisable. This is because the heat releases flavour from the coffee, just like it does when the coffee is brewed. It only happens slowly, but at some stage you will wonder why your Single Origin from Ethiopia suddenly has notes of cardboard rather than berries. It is therefore best to store your coffee in a cupboard or pantry.
Leaving humidity high and dry
Humidity is another of coffee’s enemies. Every effort is made to keep the coffee dry during processing, drying and roasting, because only then can a coffee also be deemed to be full of character.
You might think that throwing the coffee in the fridge (please never throw your coffee) would be a good idea, but this would also be bad for your coffee. Of course, coffee likes to be kept cool. But the fridge is full of humidity – and odours. So if you want to avoid trying an extravagant cheese-and-ham coffee, we strongly advise against it. Storage in the freezer, however, may make sense, but only if all of the coffee is consumed immediately after defrosting and the freezer is not opened daily. The normal storage of coffee in a dry place is, however, the much more practical option.
Cutting the power on light
Last but not least, coffee should also be protected from light. While sunlight may help the ripening process of the coffee cherries, it removes flavour from the finished bean. It is therefore best not to use see-through plastic containers – or to put them in a cupboard.
So what can be done about aroma killers?
To sum up: old coffee is not tasty, so it is best to keep your freshly roasted coffee in its original packaging, preferably in a dark, air-tight container in a cool, dry place in your apartment – not in the fridge! It must be noted here that whole-bean coffee keeps its flavour for up to eight weeks, while ground coffee loses its flavour in around four weeks due to its larger surface area.
It is therefore always best to buy whole coffee beans, which then need to be freshly ground. This is not necessary with capsules. Here, the coffee only comes into contact with humidity and oxygen when you actually want it to – when it is being turned into a drink in the machine.