According to a new study unveiled by F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc., producers of California’s own Don Francisco’s Coffee (www.donfranciscos.com), storing coffee bags in the freezer once they are opened is in fact the best way to keep coffee fresh.
The independent study, spearheaded by Don Francisco’s Coffee’s in-house Q Graders (professionally accredited coffee cuppers who are exclusively certified by the Coffee Quality Institute® - CQI), examined a variety of coffee samples stored in three different environments: the freezer 0 degrees Fahrenheit, the refrigerator 36 degrees Fahrenheit and on a counter room temperature at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, over a 12-week period.
According to the 2011 National Drinking Trends study, 54 percent of adults age 25 to 39 drink coffee daily up from 44 percent in 2010. Therefore, whether drinking espresso, iced coffee or just the regular straight up black coffee, consumers are getting their daily fill.
In order to get the best cup, Don Francisco’s Coffee Q Graders say that coffee storage plays a big role, as it affects the quality, aroma and flavor of the coffee. Once opened, the average 12 oz. bag of coffee maintains its optimal freshness for about 4 weeks, depending on how the bag is stored. They key to selecting the right storage is keeping in mind the “not so fantastic four” natural coffee enemies: moisture, air, light, and heat.
“Don Francisco’s coffees come in cans and re-sealable bags that are either nitrogen-flushed or vacuum-sealed to ensure that the coffee will remain fresh until the package is opened, but as a coffee roasting family for over 130 years, we want to make sure that our customers get a consistently great-tasting cup of coffee even weeks after that new seal has been broken,” said Michael Gaviña, purchasing manager for F. Gaviña & Sons and one of the company’s eight licensed Q Graders in a prepared statement. “We have always recommended that our customers store coffee in an air tight container in the freezer, but there are many contradicting opinions on this, so we decided to finally put our theory to the test.”
In the study, a sample from each storage environment was cupped and tested for moisture every 2 weeks; then brewed and checked for color consistency every 4 weeks. Throughout the 12 weeks, the samples were cupped and tasted in a blind taste test by three resident Q Graders at Don Francisco’s Coffee headquarters. The results revealed the best cup of coffee is achieved starting with whole beans stored in an airtight container in the freezer for a maximum of 6 weeks. For pre-ground coffee, the maximum storage time decreases to about four weeks.
- Keep it Tight: An airtight container is the best way to keep air and moisture out.
- Say Freeze: The best place to store coffee is in an airtight container in the freezer, which prevents the coffee from coming into contact with air and protects it from temperature changes. Additionally, storing the beans whole helps keep the rich aromas and tastes locked in longer.
- Fear the Fridge: Although the cool temperature helps keep the oils inside of the bean until they are ready to be used, the fluctuating temperature and additional exposure to air can create moisture and erode the flavor and taste.
- Dark and Dry: If the freezer isn’t an option, then the refrigerator is a good runner up. The next best place would be a dark and dry cabinet.
- No Can Do: Although the can offers a vacuum-sealed tin to ensure freshness, as soon as it is opened and the seal is broken, it immediately begins to lose flavor.
Don Francisco’s Coffee offers tips for a fresh and tasty cup every time:
- Buy coffee in small quantities. Ideally, the coffee should be consumed within 10 days.
- Check the coffee bag before you buy to make sure the one-way valve is sealed. If the valve is sealed properly, oxygen cannot get into the bag, keeping the coffee fresher.
- Grind your coffee beans as needed. Prolonged exposure to air will cause whole bean and ground coffees to go stale quickly, which will lead to a less flavorful, bitter, and dull tasting cup.
- Keep unopened bags in the freezer. Once removed from the freezer, place the remaining coffee immediately in an airtight container to avoid moisture, and store back in the freezer.