How To Store Green Coffee Beans

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Updated Dec 09, 2022
Donaldina Lugeumbiza
Donaldina Lugeumbiza
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How To Store Green Coffee BeansHow To Store Green Coffee Beans

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Storage plays an important role in maintaining the freshness, aroma, and body of green coffee beans. So, it’s a good idea to learn how to store green coffee beans at home. Without proper storage, different factors can affect your beans.

Whether it's a pest infestation or the beans’ own porosity, you can very easily lose your entire supply with even the smallest mistake. Before stocking up on your next green coffee supply, spare some time to check out this guide on how to store raw green coffee beans.

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How Do I Store Green Coffee Beans?

Raw coffee beans sitting in a bin with a scoop

Store green coffee beans in a vacuum-sealed bag, vacuum-sealed container, or airtight container. Ensure the storage bag or container is not susceptible to moisture build up or air penetration. Further, store the container in a dark, room temperature cabinet or room.

Doing this allows them to stay fresh for longer. Both raw and roasted coffee beans are pretty porous. So, exposing them to the elements can easily affect their freshness, flavor, aroma, and body.

Why Is The Right Green Coffee Bean Storage Method Important?

Proper storage is essential for green coffee beans as it affects their freshness and overall viability. Green coffee beans stay fresh for longer compared to their roasted or ground counterparts. But, to truly extend their longevity, you have to know how to store them properly. 

For one, green coffee beans are pretty porous. This means that they will absorb whatever is in their environment (even bad odors) and will easily retain moisture. Now, when brewed or roasted and brewed, you won’t particularly get the best taste or “smelling” coffee.

A good example is when you store your pre-brewed coffee beans in the freezer compartment with other items, such as seafood, steak, and frozen vegetables. Ultimately, you will end up with coffee beans that have absorbed all these food flavors in the freezer.

Now, when it comes to the storage of your green coffee beans, don’t just pick anything. This is particularly important if you want to keep the coffee for some time as it serves as your daily supply. You can’t just toss it in burlap sacks that serve as short-term storage after harvest or decorative display sacks in cafes for a few beans. This is because burlap sacks are equally porous just like coffee beans.

You need to choose something more dependable, like vacuum-sealed bags or containers. There’s a good explanation for using vacuum-sealed or airtight media. For one, these types of storage options help to counter key factors that affect your coffee's freshness and overall properties. Below, we’ve explained exactly how these factors impact fresh green coffee beans.

Factors To Consider When Storing Coffee Beans

Coffee beans stored in a warehouse

Moisture & Temperature

Moisture builds up within the coffee can easily damage your supply. After all, during harvest green coffee contains an average of 50% water and 11% water after sun drying and packaging (before roasting). During the stages before roasting or brewing, it’s easy for humidity to build up.

So, when stored in an unsuitable manner, green coffee beans can easily develop mold –deeming them inedible. But it’s not only high humidity and moisture you have to worry about. Low moisture and humidity can also drain out all the water from the coffee, losing its flavor along the way.

Higher temperatures will certainly increase humidity around the storage area, allowing for moisture buildup. Ideally, you want to store your green coffee beans at room temperature or cool the room to about (60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit).

Note: Storing the beans in an airtight or vacuum-sealed medium keeps the moisture out.

Oxygen

Always store your coffee beans in an airtight or vacuum-sealed container or bag. This will prevent oxygen from getting in contact with coffee beans. When air comes in contact with beans, it expedites the degrading process, forcing the bean to lose flavor, aroma, and body.

If you invest in a large supply, you want to separate it into multiple bags or containers. Secure seal the load you will use in the future. This means that when you take a few beans every day, the opening and closing of the bag or container won’t degrade the remaining load. After all, the opening and closing process will certainly allow some air to penetrate.

Light

Light also affects the freshness of green coffee. After harvest, green coffee beans are usually sundried for an extended period to get them ready for packaging and distribution. However, any more exposure to light after this can ultimately drain the remaining moisture, flavor, and aroma.

So, when storing the beans at home, keep them away from light.  Ideally, you want to store your beans in an airtight/vacuum-sealed container or bag in a dark place, like your kitchen cabinets. Alternatively, you can place them in an opaque airtight, or sealed container.

Pests

You also have to learn how best to store green coffee beans from mice and other pests. Whether they are insufficiently dried or accumulate moisture from bad storage, your coffee beans can easily become susceptible to pests. This is particularly true for small insects, which thrive in moisture. On the other hand, poor storage in your home can result in infestations from mice and even roaches.

Time

Even with the best storage practices, over time, your coffee can still degrade, losing freshness, aroma, and some of its flavor elements. Generally, green coffee beans can last longer than their roasted or ground counterparts.

In general, you can store green beans for up to a year while roasted should be consumed within 6 to 9 months.  Ground coffee should be consumed within a few weeks. After all, you also have to consider the supply chain of your coffee.

Remember, good coffee comes from different continents, whether South America or Africa. So, you must think of transportation and processing, from harvest to packaging to travel. It can take at least 6 months for coffee harvested from different continents to get to your grocery store shelf!

Top 3 Best Storage Methods for Storing Green Coffee Beans

  • Valved bags: Valved bags are excellent for green coffee beans as they prevent air from escaping which can prematurely degrade the beans. These bags are even ideal for when you roast the beans. 

After all, while restricting oxygen entry, they allow for carbon dioxide to escape from the freshly roasted beans. These bags are great for day-to-day use as you can get your daily supply of beans and reseal the bag to protect the rest.

  • Vacuum-sealed containers or bags: If you are a coffee lover like me, you should invest in a vacuum sealer for bags and containers. My personal favorite is the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer. In addition to sealing regular bags, this tool can also be used in regular airtight containers. 

I usually invest in a large supply of green beans to brew or roast. To preserve my supply, I use multiple bags to divide the load, vacuum seal, and use the bags one by one. The vacuum sealing process is effective at removing all the excess air and reduces/eliminates the risks of moisture buildup or pest infestation. 

Sure, coffee beans degrade over time even with the best storage practices. But vacuum sealing significantly prolongs this process. Vacuum sealing can prolong the longevity of your green coffee beans for up to a year.

  •   Airtight containers: airtight containers, particularly opaque ones, are another excellent option. In addition to protecting the coffee from light, they prevent air from escaping or coming in.

Tips For Proper Green Coffee Storage

  • Store green coffee beans in a cool, dry, and dark place to prolong its lifespan
  • Keep coffee beans away from the window or the heat of the kitchen stove
  • Store coffee beans away from humid or wet areas (take particular care when you live in a hot to warm climate)
  • Avoid storing your coffee on the floor to prevent pest infestation
  • Store it in a neutral-smelling environment to prevent absorption of external aromas – whether cleaning products or food items, like garlic or onions

Lastly, never freeze or refrigerate green coffee beans or any type of coffee for that matter. While doing so may seem like an excellent freshness-preserving process, freezing or refrigerating isn’t ideal. For one, the freezer or refrigerator produces extreme temperatures of between 0 and 40 degrees.

At such low temperatures, your beans continue to dry, ultimately, losing their flavors and aroma. In addition to the extreme temperatures, you have to worry about the coffee beans’ porosity. Depending on what you have in the freezer or refrigerator, the beans absorb the flavors. So, if you have fish – prepare to have fish-smelling coffee!

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Store Fresh Roasted Green Coffee Beans?

Store freshly roasted green coffee beans in an opaque, airtight, or vacuum-sealed package. Keep the package in a dry, dark, and room temperature place. Protecting the beans from the elements, like air, light, and extreme temperatures, allows roasted coffee beans to retain their freshness for up to 6 months.

Are Burlap Sacks Ideal For Storing Green Beans?

Burlap sacks aren’t the best options for storing green coffee beans. While you may see farmers use them, they only work for short-term storage. This is typical during the harvesting process. However, burlap sacks are just as porous as coffee beans and can leave them susceptible to the elements.

How Long To Store Green Coffee Beans?

When stored properly, you can store green coffee beans for up to a year. However, if you purchase the beans in large quantities, you want to section them into different bags. This allows you to get your daily supply without disturbing the long-term batch. This is because the constant opening of the packaging, even valve bags, will allow some air to penetrate and speed up the loss of freshness.

How To Store Green Coffee Beans

Donaldina Lugeumbiza

Donaldina is a coffee lover and freelance writer from Tanzania. Coffee runs deep in her family - tracing its roots to her grandmother’s running of their first coffee farm in the mid-70s. She enjoys spending her time writing and co-running her grandmother's small robusta coffee farm with her sister in northwest Tanzania during the summer seasons.