Freshly roasted coffee has a shelf life and should be treated with the same care as baked goods or fresh produce. For the best flavor, coffee needs a minimum of 12-24 hours rest after roasting before it is brewed. You can drink it before then but the body and flavor really won't be as developed. Don't wait too long to drink it though. Depending on the coffee the "cup quality" will begin to show a loss in flavor after a about a week. Coffee stored beyond a week will still taste good but not as amazing as it did a few days out of the roaster. Therefore, we call coffee "fresh" for 7 days if it is stored properly.
- After roasting, make sure your roasted coffee is cool enough to touch before moving it into it's new home.
- Keep your roasted coffee away from excessive humidity, aridity, temperatures, light and oxygen. Basically, if you store coffee in the same cabinet you would store grains or bread, your coffee will be happy.
- You can buy special containers and bags that allow your coffee to release CO2 without exposing it to oxygen. These work great but if you are roasting small batches and drink a lot of coffee, we think mason jars, plastic storage containers and even zipper bags make decent and economical storage options. If you decide to store coffee in mason jars, leave the lid loose for the first day since most of the degassing will happen during this time. Leaving the lid loose will leave some room for the CO2 to escape.
- Freezing your coffee is an option if you know you won't be able to drink what you just roasted over the next week. Although the freezer can dehydrate roasted coffee, the real downside is condensation refreezing inside of the bag or container your coffee is stored in. If your coffee is going in the freezer, do your best to remove it once to let it defrost and then store it at room temperature.
- Schedule your roast days so you always have fresh roasted (and rested) coffee.
Storage containers made for coffee are great, look cool and work great.
Glass jars and plastic containers are perfect for small batches, especially if you will be grinding and brewing it all within a few days after roasting.