You can ensure you always enjoy fresh coffee by following these simple steps:

1. Buy freshly roasted beans.

Ideally, you want to get your coffee soon after roasting. This gives you the maximum amount of 'fresh life.'  We work with our retailers to make sure the coffee you buy is fresh.

 

2. Store roasted beans properly.

You must protect beans from air, moisture, light, and heat to keep them fresh. It's easy, really. Take the amount of beans you will use within two weeks and store them in a washable, air-tight, light-proof container (like a ceramic canister or an opaque Tupperware®-style one). This amount of beans can be stored on the counter or in a cabinet (away from direct sun or heat).

 

If you have more beans than you will use within two weeks, store them in an air-tight container (like Tupperware®) and keep them in the freezer.  You should avoid putting beans in the refrigerator, because the inside of a fridge is moist and there may be flavors like onions that can get into the coffee.

 

There's a lot of debate about the possible effects of freezing on roasted beans. To the best of my knowledge, there is no definitive documentation of freezing hurting coffee beans. Certainly, there is no agreement among those in the coffee world about any down-side to freezing, and from my experience, freezing works. Freezing will definitely extend the 'fresh life' of coffee, and my experiments show that you can freeze coffee with confidence.

 

3. Grind beans right before brewing. (This is important!) 

Whole beans have a natural, cellular structure which protect the delicate oils that provide aroma and flavor. Once that structure is broken down by grinding, the coffee will very rapidly deteriorate. After only a few hours, the coffee has completed a decline that would take weeks in whole-bean form. After grinding, volatile elements of the beans will evaporate taking all the high notes with them. Grinding also exposes tremendous surface area to the air, and oxidation will stale the coffee very quickly.

 

I know that grinding for each pot can sometimes seem like a hassle. The best way to get back in the habit of regular grinding is to buy a new coffee grinder! (I use a Krupps, the bigger size, but Braun makes a good grinder, too.) If you already have a grinder, treat yourself to a new set of blades (or burrs if your machine uses them). A grinder is a tool that dulls over time, and you'll be amazed at how a new, sharp tool speeds up the process.

 

4. Brew only what you will consume within 20 minutes or so.

I won't bore you with all the details, but brewed coffee left in the pot on a burner gets funky fast. A thermos bottle or carafe is a good way to hold brewed coffee, but still you shouldn't keep it much longer than an hour or so. You'll definitely notice the difference. Reheated coffee is just a drug!