No matter what your business is, from hospitality to café, or from office to retail, you want to keep your coffee fresh. Whole coffee beans need to be used within 24 hours after being exposed to air and once the coffee is ground it will last just one hour! So, what’s the secret to keeping fresh coffee beans when you are serving a high volume, whether that’s staff, guests or walk-in customers? Find out what makes coffee go stale and how you can keep it as fresh as can be with these tips!

What makes coffee go stale?

The main culprit is oxidisation. When exposed to oxygen, the compounds in the beans start to degenerate and cause the coffee to go stale.  Other causes are light, heat and moisture so it’s important to regulate all these factors to ensure you serve only the best coffee!

How is coffee packaged to keep it fresh?

Coffee beans are packaged for freshness so that they arrive to you in the best condition. Most coffee beans come in gas-flushed bags with a non-return valve. This means that gas can leave the bag, but no oxygen can get in. Coffee beans release CO2 after roasting so it’s important that the bags allow this to escape, without letting any oxygen in so the beans don’t go stale.

As this valve allows the CO2 out, it also means that by giving the bag a little squeeze you can smell the aromas of the coffee – an added bonus to a functional device!

How can I keep my coffee fresh once I’ve opened the bag?

After opening the bag of coffee beans and therefore exposing them to air and sunlight, you will need to store them appropriately. The best way is to roll up the bag, keep it tight with an elastic band and put it in an airtight container. Keep the coffee cool (so not too close to any ovens for example) and somewhere nice and dry, out of direct sunlight.

It’s often thought that keeping coffee beans in the fridge will keep them fresh, but we would strongly advise against this. Storing your coffee beans in the fridge can expose them to moisture which will affect the flavour of the bean. They can also absorb the odour of any strong-smelling foods in the fridge, which again will compromise their flavour.

How can I check if my coffee beans are fresh?

Any easy way to tell is just by looking at the beans. They should have a slightly glossy finish from the oily substance released when the beans are roasted. The beans should also give a full aroma, so if the smell is faint, they may be past their prime.

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Day to day good practice

Whether you’re using a traditional machine or a bean to cup machine, we recommend filling the hoppers or your grinder with just enough beans required for the period of service to serve the freshest cup. Towards the end of the day don’t refill the hoppers fully as you will just need to throw away the stale coffee – try just filling it a small amount as you need it to reduce wastage and ensure every bean is freshly ground.

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So now you know the best ways to keep your coffee fresh to make sure your staff, guests and customers will be served the best quality coffee every time!

Do you have additional any top tips for keeping coffee fresh in a busy environment? Let us know in the comments!

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