The shelf life of coffee beans depends greatly on two things—the roast date and the coffee storage, therefore knowing how to keep coffee beans fresh is crucial for any coffee fan. You’ll want to conserve your beans’ fresh roasted flavor as long as possible, so you can brew a great, highly scented cup of coffee.

According to the National Coffee Association (NSA), the four main enemies of coffee beans are oxygen, light, heat and moisture. So, the best conditions for storing coffee beans are in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. A cupboard or pantry away from any sources of heat (like an oven) is ideal.

Here are tips to preserve your beans’ fresh roasted flavor as long as possible.


1. Avoid the refrigerator

Freshness is critical to a quality cup of coffee. Experts agree that coffee should be consumed as quickly as possible after it is roasted, especially once the original packaging seal has been broken.

While there are different views on whether or not coffee should be frozen or refrigerated, the main consideration is that coffee absorbs moisture – and odors, and tastes – from the air around it. Hence, it is advised to stick to room temperature storage in an airtight container or bag, and you’ll be enjoying fresh coffee for weeks or months to come.


2. Buy your beans in smaller amounts

Coffee begins to lose freshness almost immediately after roasting. Try to buy smaller batches of freshly roasted coffee more frequently – enough for one or two weeks. 

This is especially important when buying pre-ground coffee, because of the increased exposure to oxygen. If you buy whole beans, grind the amount you need immediately before brewing. 


3. Use an airtight container

Once you’ve opened up your bag of coffee beans, you’ll need to transfer them into another storage container. Whole beans in an airtight storage container or canister will last anywhere from four to eight weeks.

Coffee canisters that are airtight, opaque glass, ceramic, or non-reactive metal (like copper) are perfect. You can even buy vacuum coffee containers which expel the air with a push or twist motion to increase the shelf life.


4. Keep the coffee beans in a dark place

Choose a cool, dark, dry place, such as in a pantry or cabinet. Avoid hot places, such as above/next to the oven or in cabinets that become heated from sunlight or cooking equipment. It’s fine to keep your coffee on the counter if it’s in an opaque, airtight container that’s kept away from direct sunlight and any heat source.


Make every effort to keep the beans away from light, oxygen, and drastic temperature changes.