So these two questions are asked at least a few times a week -
"How long will the coffee last ?"
"is it OK to store the coffee in the fridge ?, I've been doing that for years........".
The enemies of Fresh Coffee
Oxygen, Heat, Light and Moisture - not necessarily in any order.
Containers used for coffee storage should be preferably non-absorbant, e.g. metal and ceramic are the best, followed by glass and certain plastics, although many plastics in use today can absorb the aromatics, but it's OK for a short time, e.g. say up to 2 weeks.
Containers should be air-tight.
Where to place the container
Away from heat, light and changing temperatures. We like the bottom of a pantry or a cupboard that kept relative constant in temperate, a cool area that stays between 15 -25 degrees is best, particularly if you live north of Melbourne.
Never place coffee in the fridge - fridges have all sorts of moist vapours and aromas that are transferred into coffee. The act of taking a coffee container out of the fridge and placing it on the kitchen bench for just a few minutes will cause small microbeads of moisture to develop on coffee - more so in ground coffee (100 times worse).
BTW - I still have raging arguments with my Father as he insists the coffee tastes better when stored in the fridge - sometimes it's very hard to bite your tongue.
What about the Freezer ?
Well, back in 2008 we ran tests over a 10-month period with 10x 250g packs of coffee. These packs were heat-sealed in the same way you receive your packs from coffee suppliers and the packs were not opened - but placed fresh in the freezer within a week from the Roast Date.
Each month, we removed a pack from the freezer, allowed the pack to thaw over 10 hours and then opened, poured into a grinder and made espresso shots.
Basically, we did'nt enjoy the coffee - even Month 1 and 2 coffee packs were not that nice. By the time we got to Month 6, it was not a task we were particularly enjoying. Yes, we could get crema from the espresso shots by setting the grinder quite fine, but the aromatics were almost gone and flavour was quite flat. Bear in mind, we are used to super-fresh premium coffee, so anything else is always going to be a struggle.
Our view is DO NOT freeze coffee - use it or give it away.
How Long should we keep packs of Coffee ?
A topic of furious debate amongst all coffee experts - and of course those that are not experts but have strong opinions.
We believe coffee should be used within 45 days of recieving the packs. Ideally, this should be within 30 days.
There are quite a few people out there spruiking that coffee is useless after 14 days - that bit of information is utter nonsense.
Most coffees we roast take around 7 - 14 days post-roast to properly develop. In fact, I prefer the coffee when it's about Day 16.
We keep control samples from every batch of coffee and I regularly open up coffee that is 35 days old and can pull amazing shots with the beans.
Hope this information has been useful in providing guidelines that help you enjoy your coffee.