Green Coffee: Ideas to keep coffee in a high and dry place

Dry climates can be bad for green coffee in the long term.

by Chris Schooley

The most important thing to consider in regards to green coffee storage is atmospheric stability. The ideal relative humidity (RH) is around 60% and the ideal relative temperature is around 75 degrees F. If where you live is more/less humid or hot you need to take some measures to protect your green coffee. Most of us do live in climate controlled buildings, so you are pretty set to keep your green in an airtight container in a cabinet; although, humidity is the big factor in the home.

You will read about air circulation in some articles about green coffee storage, but it’s generally not made very clear in these articles why air circulation is necessary. The idea is that air circulation will help prevent condensation, but if your storage area is environmentally stable then this shouldn’t be an issue. When green coffee is in transit it is much more of a problem, and having packaging with a little breathability can help reduce this risk.

I live in Colorado which is incredibly dry. I store my green coffee in a cooler with an air tight lid in order to protect it from having all of its moisture stripped away. This is the main concern in a dry climate; if the green coffee’s moisture is stripped away, many of the important volatiles that distinguish a coffee also will evaporate. In a more humid area, coffee will take on moisture and off flavors or even mold. It’s important to note that the most dangerous environment for green coffee is one that has wild fluctuations in temperature and/or humidity.

One of the best ways to protect your green coffee if you live in an area that’s less than ideal is simple: order as much coffee as you will use within a few weeks to a month. Ordering a volume of coffee that you will have for a number of months means taking extra precautions with storage, and perhaps re-packaging the coffee into smaller amounts, and even vacuum packing.

While some people swear by freezing, it is important to note that the quicker and deeper a coffee freezes, the better the outcome is. This type of quick and deep freezing is generally beyond the capabilities of your home freezer. Also, from what I’ve read and heard from people is that the thawing process is fairly tricky and involved (and not disclosed anywhere).

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