The Care and Feeding of Coffee

So you went out and got yourself the super-mega-premium organic coffee beans from the local purveyor, and you want to make sure it stays well long enough for you to consume. Well, here are a few key rules to remember.

  • Buy as much as you can finish within the week. The oils in coffee beans go rancid fairly quickly, giving rise to funky flavors you don’t want.
  • Keep the beans in an airtight, dark container at room temperature. Why not in the fridge, you ask? Coffee beans are flavor sponges, and can pick up odors from the chiller. Better safe than sorry. Also, some of the oils in the beans denature when frozen, losing their aroma. If you absolutely have to freeze your beans, I’ve found dark roasts freeze better than mild/city roasts.
  • Keep coffee away from strong odors. As stated before, coffee beans are odor magnets.
  • Unless your coffee came in a sealed stoneware or glass jar, never store coffee in the original foil packet. These packets have a one-way valve that lets out air to keep coffee “fresh”. In reality, all they do is let the essential oils escape through the vent.
  • Lastly, never buy ground coffee. Your precious coffee will turn to sawdust sooner than you can drink it. Get a decent grinder (a burr grinder works best, but a blade grinder should do the job just fine) and grind just what you need.

Following these instructions can mean the difference between enjoying an exemplary cup or tasting cinders in the morning.

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