Every coffee expert we spoke to recommended grinding fresh beans immediately before brewing, but if that’s just not the way you roll you can certainly continue buying pre-ground coffee. Much like whole beans, these should be kept in the bag you bought them in, says Childress, and you should squeeze any excess air out of the bag before sealing it.
How to Store Excess Coffee Beans or Grounds
Let’s say you bought more bags of coffee than you plan to use in a month. What’s the best way to stow them for later? That depends on how long they’ll be sitting around before use. According to Allie Caran, director of education at Partner’s Coffee in Brooklyn, NY, “Coffee can last for months stored in a cool, dark and dry environment,” like the back of your cabinet.
But what if you purchased in bulk and are hoping to store your coffee for an extended period of time? Childress recommends sticking beans or grounds in the freezer, albeit with some pretty specific instructions. “If you are not going to use your coffee immediately, put the [coffee] bag inside of a Ziploc bag, compress the air out of it and put it in the freezer.” You can stow coffee like this for a couple of months without fear of reducing that wonderfully deep flavor you love so much, unlike if you store it on your counter. “Once you are ready to use [the coffee], pull it out of the freezer and allow it to thaw completely,” says Childress. Just don’t try to refreeze it once it’s thawed—this is strictly a one-time-only kind of thing.
You should also avoid storing any beans or grounds you plan to use every day in the freezer (or the refrigerator, for that matter). The drastic change in temperature when you remove just a little bit of coffee from the freezer every day leads to excess moisture seeping into the beans, warns Viguera.