Coffee: Tips on how to preserve its aroma and flavor

Coffee: Tips on how to preserve its aroma and flavor


Coffee is big part of our everyday schedule. For people living in Italy, it is probably the most common drink they enjoy during the day and the importance given to the taste of the coffee offered, seems to be crucial.

There is a question that is not so easy to be answered: Is coffee going bad after its expiry date? Technically, coffee is not the same like other types of food. For coffee, "best before", means that although consuming it beyond the recommended date does not pose any risk to your health, the aroma and flavor might be affected. To help you get the best out of your coffee package stored somewhere in your kitchen, we will try to give you some tips that will help you to protect its freshness and its taste for a longer time.


  • Fresh coffee tastes better, that’s for sure, simply because the flavor and the aroma present a much higher intensity. That’s why probably the best coffee is coming from beans that have been ground only at the last moment. 


  • Rule of 2: Coffee beans can lose 50% of their aromas within just 2 days if not packaged and stored correctly, while ground coffee loses 50% of its aromas within 2 hours if not packaged and stored correctly and coffee in a cup, like an espresso, loses 50% of its aromas in just 2 minutes or even less. (and you can now tell why Italians use the name espresso for the type of coffee they are drinking. Espresso means fast, that is, fast to prepare, fast to taste). Plus, after a couple of minutes, it just gets too cold to enjoy it.


  • In order to preserve the freshness of the beans or ground coffee, it is best to store the coffee according to simple but precise rules: 

    • Keep it away from air, humidity, heat and light. Coffee exposed to the presence of oxygen in the box where it is kept or very low/high temperatures or extreme variations of temperature, can cause fast oxidation of the coffee beans which results in degradation of the aromatic quality and the production of unpleasant aromas.


    • Coffee is hygroscopic, that is, it will absorb humidity from the environment. This is another factor that can cause the degradation of the typical aromas of coffee.


    • Light is another enemy which can cause evaporation, depriving the beans or ground coffee of the precious components that provide the specific organoleptic characteristics which make coffee taste so particular.


Therefore, it is highly recommended to store coffee in a dry and cool place, away from sources of heat and light, probably away from the refrigerator or the oven.

All opened packages must then be placed in an airtight steel, aluminum, dark glass or ceramic container. If stored correctly, coffee beans can be preserved for up to 4-6 weeks. Home-ground coffee, on the other hand, usually lasts less, maximum 2-3 weeks.


Should coffee be stored in the fridge?

If you use an airtight container that will keep light, humidity and aromas out, then yes, you could do that. But, a cool, dry and dark place is always better, since coffee in the refrigerator can get exposed to aromas or smells of the other foods stored in there. Then, there is the problem of potential exposure to moisture which will damage the integrity of the beans, causing them to become stale much faster. Finally, cold temperature inside the refrigerator, can affect the chemical structure of the grains, developing a flat flavor profile and altering the real taste of an -otherwise excellent- cup of espresso.

Un caffè per favore!


(TIP: always use the word "caffè", when you need one;
the word "espresso" in Italy is not as common as one might think...)

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