Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

How to Store Ground Coffee Long Term

Good coffee comes from good grounds. Good grounds are fresh grounds.
Good coffee comes from good grounds. Good grounds are fresh grounds.

Are you an avid coffee lover? If so we have some news that is sure to set you in a frenzy. According to Bloomberg, “coffee shortages for an unprecedented third year in a row” Yes, you read that correctly. What this means to coffee drinkers is that a 15 dollar bag of coffee (ground or whole bean) is going to cost you more than it once did.

But this is only arabica coffee, right? Well not necessarily.

If history is any indication of what the future will bring (and we know it is), then all the smaller coffee varieties will have to follow suit. In fact, the smaller brands may need to raise prices even more than the estimated rise. We could go into detail, but this is not a post on the intricacies of modern day economics and the laws governing it.

Store your coffee long term

Today, we are going to look at some ways to store your coffee, so it will maintain its freshness long term. I’ll be giving some storage tips that I have picked up along the way during my research, as well as a few devices you can purchase to help out in your quest to keep your coffee fresh.

Before we get into the tips of how to keep your coffee fresh, I want to illustrate some of the things you probably should do when trying to prolong the life of your favorite beans.

Coffee Canister (Large) Airtight Seal Set with Scoop - Stainless Steel Kitchen Storage Container with AirFresh Valve Technology (Vienna Silver)

Here’s a large canister for coffee storage from Kitchables at Amazon.

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How to store coffee

  1. Keep in a sealed airtight container
  2. Keep in dry place (moisture ruins coffee)
  3. Store away from direct sunlight

Following these steps will get you started in the right direction, but let’s get into the details of what you should aim for and what you should avoid at all cost.

Ever wondered if you can roast coffee at home? Popcorn makers work great.

Do not store in the fridge

I used to preach to always put your coffee in the refrigerator. Why? The idea was simple really. First, I heard from a friend who heard it from a friend (you’ll soon see why this is always a bad reason to do anything). Also, I already knew that coffee was supposed to be stored in a dark, cool place so that sunlight could not dilute it nor would it be exposed to high temperature.

Avoiding moisture and odors

Of course, I disregarded the other most important rule, keep it away from moisture, and refrigerators are moisture’s best friend. The porous nature of coffee means that flavors quickly soak into it. For me, this meant my coffee had a combination of highly unfavorable flavors because of some of the foods I routinely store in the fridge.

Onion mint coffee… ew! Don’t try it. I’ve had it. It’s gross, and there is nothing else to say here. Except that never, under any circumstances store your coffee in the fridge. (Oh and generally don’t do anything that a friend’s friend says to do either.)

After these beauties are ground, they need special love to stay fresh.
After these beauties are ground, they need special love to stay fresh.

Do not store in clear containers

As I said earlier, coffee is supposed to be stored away from light. That’s why they are shipped in dark containers. While it is true that coffee beans can add a nice touch to your kitchen decorations, light will only serve to sap the flavor from the beans. Keep them in the dark containers.

Coffeevac 1 lb - The Ultimate Vacuum Sealed Coffee Container, Black Cap & Body

Now let’s look at ways to store your coffee. Some of the ways I will mention have opposing views to them, but my experience (as well as research) has proven to me that they work well.

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Vacuum seal and protect from light with this Coffeevac canister from Amazon.

Freezer Storage

This is the part where some people will tell you I don’t know what I’m talking about. And I’ll be the first to say that their reasoning isn’t invalid. Storing coffee in the freezer keeps moisture out, only while it is in the freezer. But the moment you take it out, physics happens, and condensation occurs. This means your coffee is in direct contact with water and that is a no go.


Separate your coffee grounds/beans. When you purchase your coffee, it is best to buy it in bulk (because the cost is rising). When you get it home, separate it into smaller pouches that you can use either daily or weekly. It is important to only keep out enough to consume in about a week’s time. Otherwise, it will begin to lose its flavor. Doing this will give you fresh coffee at all times regardless of when you purchased it.

Rubbermaid TakeAlongs Twist & Seal Food Storage Containers, 1.2 Cup, Tint Chili, 4 Count

These Rubbermaid Take-Alongs from Amazon are small and freezer safe.

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Vacuum Seal

FoodSaver FM2000 Vacuum Sealer Machine with Starter Bags & Rolls | Safety Certified | Black - FM2000-FFP

There is a reason coffee always comes to you in a vacuum sealed container. Keeping oxygen out is what keeps the freshness locked in. When you open your coffee to divvy up your weekly rations, you should vacuum seal each bag that you get. There is a nifty device that will help you with this.

The FoodSaver FM 2100 is a tool that will extract all the oxygen from the bag you store it in and the seal it up so that oxygen (or any other element in the air) is unable to penetrate the bag.

FoodSaver FM2100-000 Vacuum Sealer Machine System with Starter Bags & Rolls | Safety Certified

Check out the FoodSaver FM 2100 at Amazon.

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Alternate Option

Vacuum sealing your coffee grounds is an absolute must. However, some people do not like to store it in the freezer even if vacuum packed and that is okay too. Once you have vacuum packed your coffee, you can just find a cool dark place in your home to store the coffee. My suggestion is to return it back to the can it came from, although there are some containers like the Kitchables canister that can store your coffee while still looking elegant.

Coffee Canister (Large) Airtight Seal Set with Scoop - Stainless Steel Kitchen Storage Container with AirFresh Valve Technology (Vienna Silver)

Check out the Kitchables coffee canister at Amazon.

View on Amazon

Wrap – Up

Now that you know some ways to store your coffee for the long term. It is time to go out there and get your favorite flavors in bulk. I don’t know about you, but I am going to be ready for the coffee price hike that is set to hit the market.

Now that you know how to store it, I’ll show you the best single cup coffee maker.

Additional Resources

Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: jen and Olle S.

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