Product Guide: Roasted & Green Coffee Storage

How do I keep coffee fresh? Let’s talk about roasted coffee, then about green coffee beans…

What are the options for storing your roasted coffee? And how should you be storing your green coffee to maximize life span and quality?

After roasting your coffee, you have to put it somewhere! You can just use a ziploc bag or a mason jar…it’s up to you, but there are some nice containers available that are made specifically for coffee storage and others that are great for helping you share your roasted creation.

Regardless, it’s best to keep roasted coffee away from sunlight, oxygen, extreme temperatures and humidity (elements that will make your coffee stale). If you are gifting coffee or storing it untouched for a few days, you will want to use a bag or container with a one-way valve. A valve allows for C02 to escape and keeps oxygen out.

If you are accessing your coffee often, a valve isn’t totally necessary since you will be exposing it to oxygen on a daily basis but it will help a bit if you are storing larger batches. Freshly roasted coffee should be treated like fresh produce since it’s flavor will start to degrade after a week or so. The aroma will degrade first and the “cup quality” will follow.

Coffee Tin

Tin for roasted coffee with one-way valve for freshness
Tin for roasted coffee with one-way valve for freshness

These tins are very popular, affordable and work well. They store up to a pound of roasted coffee and there’s a one-way valve underneath. The sidewalls are a bit thin so it will dent easy if you are clumsy but will last for years if it just lives on your counter or in your cabinet.

Airscape

Airscape brand 7 inch roasted coffee storage container for freshness
Airscape brand 7 inch roasted coffee storage container for freshness

If you are looking for a more robust coffee tin that also holds up to a pound, the Airscape is really impressive. One issue with large storage containers is the amount of oxygen that sits with your coffee once your stash starts to get low. The Airscape presses all that air out, leaving only coffee and the space between the beans.

High barrier valve bags for roasted coffee freshness
High barrier valve bags for roasted coffee freshness

1 Pound and ½ Pound Valve Bags

These are the same bags we use to ship our roasted coffee in. They are extremely strong, with a thick foil barrier that keeps oxygen and light out. The one-way valve allows C02 a way out and you can use an iron to create a permanent seal above the zipper. Here’s a video showing how.

¼ Pound Valve Bags

Small clear 1/4 pound valve bags for roasted coffee freshness
Small clear 1/4 pound valve bags for roasted coffee freshness

We say light is an enemy of freshness so why do we offer clear valve bags? A ¼ pound of coffee is only good for a few servings so we imagine a day or two of sunlight won’t have a chance to do noticible damage to your coffee’s flavor. We don’t recommend these for long term storage. They are mainly for sharing and gifting.

55 gram Tins with Clear Lids

Small roasted coffee tin to keep home roasted coffee 55 gram size
Small roasted coffee tin to keep home roasted coffee 55 gram size

These are very handy if you like to weigh your coffee before brewing. You can pre-weigh your doses into a few of these put your scale away for a couple days. Aside from home use, they are great for travel or the office.

Paper Tin Tie Bags

Eco friendly paper coffee bags for roasted coffee
Eco friendly paper coffee bags for roasted coffee

These are great for gifting as long as your coffee isn’t planning an extended stay in the bag. They are affordable and look great but don’t have much of a barrier to keep oxygen away from your coffee. Make sure whomever receives your gift of fresh roasted coffee, brews it before they attempt to finish off their oily tub of “Dark Roast Supreme Bold Holiday Breakfast Blend”. A lot roasteries sell their coffee in paper bags just like this so using these bags are your opportunity to live out your professional roaster fantasies (unless they are already a reality). They are compostable minus the tin tie and come in two sizes.


Green Coffee Storage

Green coffee is tough, dense, hard and resilient, but nothing lasts forever. You can expect green coffee to remain fresh for about 6 months (some say up to a year). We ship green coffee to you in clear zip bags. These are LDPE (recycling symbol “4” for plastics). The plastic provides a bit of a protective barrier and the holes us to get the air out. LDPE means Low-Density PolyEthelyene.

We recommend storing your coffee in these bags if you plan on roasting within a few weeks after receiving your coffee, or up to 2 months.

If you plan to store green coffee longer we recommend transferring the green coffee to glass, with as little headspace as possible, or using our Ecotact high barrier bags for green coffee storage.

We have the Ecotact bags in 1, 2 and 5 Kgs at Sweet Maria’s now, as an add-on item.

Ecotact Green Coffee Storage
Ecotact Green Coffee Storage 3 pouch sizes

Learn more about our current understanding of green coffee storage and our Ecotact bags Here.

We don’t consider cloth or jute bags good for storing coffee long term any more. They look great but without a barrier liner, the coffee flavors might fade sooner than if stored with proper high barrier protection.

Consider that now we at Sweet Maria’s now import our coffee in typical jute or sisal woven bags but every single bag we bring in from all over the world has a high barrier inner liner. This is often referred to by the trade name of one brand, Grain Pro, because it was created to keep grain safe. But now it is a standard with high quality green coffee beans. We often use the brand Ecotact as well as GrainPro.

Sweet Maria's coffee jute bag with high barrier liner
Sweet Maria’s coffee jute bag with high barrier liner. 100% of our coffee is imported with the protective high barrier liner to maximize green coffee quality.

Cotton Drawstring Bags

Sweet Maria's brand cotton coffee bags for green coffee storage decoration
Sweet Maria’s logo cotton coffee bags.

We still offer these in 1 pound, 2 pound, 5 pound and 20 pound sizes with our logo on them.  They look nice but as you can see they are more for decoration now as we use a barrier liner inside all our green coffee.

Burlap Sacks

Jute coffee bags for coffee 150 pounds decoration
Jute coffee bags for coffee 150 pounds decoration

These are the same bags we receive green coffee in from around the world. They are probably too big for you to store coffee in but our customers really like them for projects, decor, etc.

Also see our article about Green Coffee, Defined !

What is the best way to store roasted coffee?

The right answer is anything with a high barrier value! What does that mean? A good barrier for coffee packaging is something that does not allow aromatics to escape, and does not allow oxygen to enter.

What is the cheapest way to keep roasted coffee fresh?

Glass! A mason jar or any resealable type used for food – provided you cleaned it really well and it has no smells!

How soon can I drink the coffee I just roasted?

Well, right away, but it will better if you can wait 12-24 hours. Even then you will see super fresh coffee emits so much natural carbon dioxide that water can’t fully saturate it. So use a “full immersion” brew method if that is the case: French Press, Clever Dripper, perhaps an Aeropress. For pourover drip of super fresh coffee, pre-soak the grinds for a long time.

In 2020 what is the best way to store green coffee?

We used to recommend cloth or jute bags, but now these are more for decoration. For short term storage up to 2 months, the plastic zip bags we ship your coffee in have proven to work fine. If you want to “cellar” your coffee for longer, consider using our high-barrier Ecotact zip pouches, or transfer your coffee to glass jars.

Where should I keep my coffee?

In a cool dark place, without excessive humidity, dryness, or heat.

5 Responses

  1. i know someone who stores their roasted coffee in the freezer. I’d be interested in your opinion about that.

    1. Yes! This definitely deserves some focus. I think freezing can indeed have some benefits, and this has been shown in terms of a simple freshness test: the amount of CO-2 outgassing from brewed coffee. Fresher coffee has more outgassing, and freezing roasted coffee in some cases will have greater outgassing versus same coffee stored at room temperature. BUT it really depends on the quality of the barrier provided by the packaging. And it depends on whether you might open and close a package. If left totally unopened and undisturbed, yes, freeze it for a while. If you are going to open it to take some out, and then put it back in the freezer, I wouldn’t. You can do more damage that way… but your questions really deserves a whole article and support material. I’ll make a note to do that!

      I just want to make a note about freezing green coffee too: I tested various storage methods and packaging types for green coffee. The test lasted 16 months, and the best result at the end was properly vacuum-packed green coffee that was frozen. To be more precise … “properly” means it was commercial vacuum backed material that was nitrogen-flushed in the process, forcing out any residual oxygen. And the other, and rather important footnote to this experiment was that the vac-packed frozen coffee did show some degradation in the form of a slight papery age taste. So it was not as good as the new crop coffee from that particular origin (need to check my notes, but I think it was wet-process Costa Rica). So the net benefit of long term storage like this was not really meaningful to me. The best thing was to simply be buying fresher arrivals of coffee as the harvest cycle occurs…

  2. I notice there are no “zip-lok” type bags, with one-way valves in them. Seems like a good idea… reusable and the right design; CO2 gets out, but no air gets in (“Zip-Lok” is air-tight). Why don’t I see those? The bags the green coffee comes in (the 1lb samplers) could easily have one-way valves in them and that would make them reusable for freshly roasted coffee!

    1. Yes – we have several zip seal valve bags we offer. Like this: https://www.sweetmarias.com/roasted-coffee-storage-resealable-valve-bag.html . They ideal for roasted coffee, because roasted coffee produces CO2 and therefore needs a valve to release pressure in a sealed package – plus the out-gassing of roasted coffee pushes oxygen out to prevent staling for a while. But green coffee would have to be force-flushed with a gas somehow to do the same thing, so the valve bag isn’t helpful generally for green unroasted coffee. That’s the general thinking on difference between green and roasted coffee at least…

  3. I typically roast enough coffee for about a week, would be unusual to be stored for more than that. I used to put just roasted coffee in storage containers with the lid cracked overnight, then seal the lid. I now use several airscape ceramic containers (which I really like, wish they were slightly larger), but the beans now don’t get vented overnight. Other than the really great coffee smell that I don’t get so much of in the coffee cupboard, am I missing something by lack of venting CO2? Does it work to leave handle up overnight?
    Thanks

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