How long will coffee keep fresh? How do I store it?

Although I am prepared for power outages, flooded roads and other disasters that may cut off my power, water or access to stores for a good amount of time, the one thing I haven't really stored is coffee. This could be a disaster for me, as I have become one of those people who need their morning coffee routine to start my day! Without it I'm 'off' from my schedule and if I don't have my quiet, coffee time to myself, (the hot mug, the aroma, the silence of an early morning and finally, the sipping of my java) I'm a bear the rest of the day.

The reason I haven't stored coffee (yet) is because I've been researching the best version to store and how to store, as well as how long it stores. The information basic is that green coffee stores for about 2 years, but you have to roast it and degas it before you can brew it. This morning we had a power surge and the power briefly went out, right in the middle of me brewing a cup of coffee with a k-cup in my Keurig brewer. This was the wake up call I needed. So without further adieu, I've decided this week is a week to purchase some sort of coffee for long term storage. And this information is the best I've found so far as far as being clear and concise.

Heat Sealed Valve Bags

When coffee is fresh roasted it needs to de-gas. Coffee roasters commonly use heat sealed valve bags that have a one-way valve to allow the gases to escape without allowing any air or odors to get in. As long as the valve bag remains sealed it is "vacuum" packed and will remain as fresh as the day it was roasted until the heat sealed valve bag is opened. Purchasing your coffee in heat-sealed valve bags and keeping them sealed until needed is the best way to store both whole bean coffee and ground coffee for the long term.

Store Coffee in a Cool Dry Place

Once the heat sealed valve bag is opened, the proper way to store all coffee according to the coffee experts is to keep your coffee in a cool dry place. Heat, cold, moisture, oxygen and generally any kind of outside odors are all enemies of fresh coffee so caution should be taken to reduce or eliminate these. Keep in mind that fresh roasted gourmet coffee is porous so it will absorb outside influences. Whole bean coffee is a lot more dense than ground coffee so ground coffee is more susceptible to outside influences that destroy coffee freshness. Storing your coffee in a cool dry place preferably in an air tight sealed container is the best way to keep your coffee fresh for as long as possible.

Avoid Storing Coffee in a Fridge or Freezer

Many coffee drinkers are surprised to learn that freezing coffee or storing coffee in the refrigerator is actually detrimental to keeping your coffee fresh and should be avoided. Freezing coffee affects the chemical characteristics of the coffee bean or ground coffee. Storing coffee in the refrigerator is not recommended because as mentioned, coffee is very porous and will absorb other food odors that are present.

Green Bean and Roasted Whole Bean Verses Ground Coffee

The taste of coffee will vary depending on the type of coffee, the coarseness of the grind, the type of coffee brewing equipment used and of course, the age of the stored coffee.

Green Coffee Beans have the longest shelf life over roasted whole bean or ground coffee. If stored in a cool, dry place green coffee beans can last more than a year and still retain much of its flavor and aroma. The primary drawback with storing green coffee beans is that they still have to undergo a lengthier process from roasting to brewing. Very few people have their own coffee roasting equipment and green coffee beans are not as readily available on the market.

Roasted Whole Bean Coffee has a longer shelf life than ground coffee and is readily available on the market. When stored in a cool, dry place fresh roasted whole bean coffee will last for a number of weeks without losing too much flavor and aroma. It is preferable to store whole bean coffee in air sealed containers. Ceramic storage containers are recommended since plastic or metal containers can sometimes affect the flavor of the coffee over time. Glass containers are acceptable provided these are stored in cool dark cabinets. Whole bean gourmet coffee is recommended for home use for a number of reasons. As stated, whole bean coffee has a longer shelf life and provides a better, more flavorful cup of coffee, especially if brewed immediately after being ground.

Ground Coffee has the shortest shelf life of all and is best brewed right after being ground. Ground coffee is the most porous form of coffee and can loose its flavor and aroma in a matter of days. It's best to try and keep ground coffee stored for as short a time as possible prior to brewing.

It's that time of year for coffee: Starbuck's Holiday Blend is Available!

This morning I'm reviewing the seasonal Holiday Blend from Starbucks.  Even though the calendar hasn't yet even arrived at Thanksgiving, my foray out-and-about yesterday to run errands was filled with holiday joy and Santa's galore.

One of my errands was to pick up some coffee and even though we own and use a Keurig, I feel guilt spending so much on k-cups when I am easily a 3 or 4 cups per morning kind of girl.  So, I regularly keep whole bean coffee on hand to make a small pot of coffee each morning as well as a back up.  And with that long introduction, I give you today's coffee post;  the Holiday Blend.

Now, even though Starbucks has been releasing this blend since 1985, I have never bought it.  Granted, I wasn't drinking coffee in 1985 (I was just barely a teenager then), but I've never felt compelled to purchase it.  Yesterday however, I did.

The gold and white is pretty and eye-catching and the description on the packaging said it was sweet and had a hint of spice.  Try as I may to squeeze the package in the store and smell through the little air vent, I could not sense even a hint of spice or anything but regular coffee.  Still, I was at the store FOR coffee so I thought I'd give it a go.  It did not come in whole bean style though, only ground.

The Starbucks website describes it this way;  

The secret to this blend is the rare, aged Sumatran beans, which add a depth and mellowness to fine Latin American and Asia/Pacific coffees.

I am going to describe it as a nice Sumatran coffee that isn't as bold as most Sumatran styles, and the mellowness comes through a little more than on the dark Sumantran versions, however I did not detect even a hint of anything 'spice' or 'holiday' in the least.  Herbal, yes.  Spice?  Not so much.

For those looking for a spice or flavor to their 'holiday' blend coffee this is not it.  But it is a really good, nice, smooth coffee!  I am enjoying my second cup right now.  I can easily envision it being served at a holiday party or open house - it would pair lovely with any dessert or on it's own.  It's also great as a morning coffee.  I absolutely give it a thumbs up - but not necessarily for the 'holidays' - but for 'any' day.

 You can order some from Amazon if you can't yet find it in your area;
Starbucks Ground Holiday Blend Coffee 2012 10 oz (Pack of 2)


Coffee around the world..... A coffee 'book' and 'music' for your morning caffeine boost

  This morning I came to Coffee Talking with the phrase "coffee around the world" in my head.  It was typing this phrase into my search box that led me to a book about coffee; Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World.

Uncommon Grounds tells the story of coffee from its discovery on a hill in ancient Abyssinia to the advent of Starbucks. In this updated edition of the classic work, Mark Pendergrast reviews the dramatic changes in coffee culture over the past decade, from the disastrous “Coffee Crisis” that caused global prices to plummet to the rise of the Fair Trade movement and the “third-wave” of quality-obsessed coffee connoisseurs. As the scope of coffee culture continues to expand, Uncommon Grounds remains more than ever a brilliantly entertaining guide to the currents of one of the world’s favorite beverages.

What goes better with a hot cup of coffee, a nice comfy leather couch and a book in your hand?  Music playing softly in the background!  So of course I had to find a coffee-themed book to go with it.  And here is one; Music from the Coffee Lands

Putumayo World Music was established in 1993 to introduce people to the music of the world's cultures. The label grew out of Putumayo clothing company, founded by Dan Storper in 1975 and sold in 1997. Co-founder Michael Kraus joined Dan to launch Putumayo World Music and establish a non-traditional sales division. Putumayo World Music has become known primarily for its upbeat and melodic compilations of great international music characterized by the company's motto: "guaranteed to make you feel good!"

How about some Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Popcorn with your Hot Coffee?

Cinnamon Brown Sugar
Popcorn coupled with hot coffee?  The perfect blend of sweet and cinnamon to make you think you are enjoying a dessert, not just a snack.

Smartfood Selects have no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  Healthy all natural snacks you can keep for yourself or share with your family and friends.  Whether or not you tell them how healthy they are is up to you... some Moms like to keep that little secret to themselves and let their kids think they are getting 'junk' food.  Don't worry, I won't tell!

Our family doesn't actually like 'sweet' as much as savory - but as a BzzAgent, I was able to receive 3 samples of these healthy snacks to try.  While one was the sweeter brown sugar and cinnamon version, we also tried the Feta Herb Hummus and the Garlic, Tomato, Basil Hummus popped chips.  Those were huge hits in our family!  Although, admittedly I wouldn't pair those with your morning coffee!

SmartFoods Select have a huge variety of choices;

And I'm happy to say I have seen these available in my local grocery stores;  well stocked, with all the varieties.  Sweet, savory?  It's up to you.  But oh-so-good and good for you too!