Advice circulates that coffee beans should be kept in the freezer to maintain freshness.
Freezing the coffee coagulates the natural oils contained in the beans. These oils need to emulsify to produce the body and mouthfeel of the coffee.
Coffee is best right after it is freshly-roasted. Beans can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks, but an airtight container is crucial. It protects the internal moisture of the coffee bean and keeps out odors.
Of course, the best storage advice is to buy what you need as you need it. Fresh-roasted coffee should be purchased with other perishables. Large, bargain-size bags of beans or ground coffee are no bargain if they hang around for weeks (or months!), losing flavor.
If you find yourself with too much coffee on hand, consider brewing iced coffee to keep in the fridge. Coffee is a source of healthful antioxidants. If you don’t have a caffeine sensitivity or high cholesterol, iced coffee is a refreshing cold drink.
The best coffee is made with freshly-roasted beans. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.
What About Ground Coffee?
Ground coffee that is not in a sealed vaccum pack will begin to go stale within 24 hours after the coffee has been exposed to air.
Connoisseurs with sensitive palates can notice a decline in flavor two hours after the coffee is ground!
Keep all coffee away from direct light and heat. They begin to cook the coffee oils, and will affect the flavor and aroma properties.
Coffee Trivia: Why The Lemon Peel?
In Europe, you may see coffee—especially espresso—served with a piece of lemon peel. The peel is rubbed around the rim of the cup.
This was originally used to counteract the taste of over-roasted, bitter espresso. The lemon oil in the peel blocks the bitterness.
Italians traditionally serve top-quality espresso without lemon peel; to serve peel means the coffee isn’t as good as it could be. However, some people grew to enjoy a hint of lemon with their espresso. If you do it (we do), there’s no shame in serving lemon peel.
MORE ABOUT COFFEE
Find information galore, recipes and things you never knew about coffee in our Gourmet Coffee Section.
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