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The 7 Rules for Buying and Storing Coffee
There’s coffee, and then there’s coffee. If you want the latter, a few conscientious steps make all the difference. Follow these guidelines to ensure that you’re getting the best out of your brew.
1. Always Buy Whole Bean Coffee
Always. As they say, if you want something done right, you’ve gotta do it yourself. Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to grinding beans.
If it’s already been ground, it’s either been losing flavor ever since, or what flavor it has is being chemically preserved. Fresher is always better, and in the case of coffee, that means grinding immediately before brewing.
2. Buy from Local Coffee Shops and Roasters
The supermarket? The Starbucks? They’re the enemy. Not the enemy of society or anything (that’s another debate), but certainly the enemy of conscientious coffee. With rare exception, what they sell is sub-par, no matter what idyllic photos of indigenous coffee farmers they slap on the package.
Your local, independent cafes are like you. Assuming you’re not on this website by accident, you care. You care about quality, you care about ingenuity, and you want your coffee from people who nurture a passion for it.
These are the places where personal relationships are fostered around the sacred brew, where the barista who knows what you like turns you on to a flavor you’ve never considered. These are the places that make coffee, and neighborhoods, better.
3. Look for a Roast Date
Everybody checks the date on milk, but somehow coffee is assumed to be immortal. It’s not. Look for a roast date within the last two weeks, preferably with info about its origins.
Freshly roasted coffee beans offer a superior flavor and aroma as compared the large, pre-ground tin cans you see packing the isles of your grocery store.
Not only that, but fresh coffee is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants!
4. Buy Only What You Need
By which we mean a week’s worth, tops. Not only does this ensure that you’re drinking fresh coffee, it encourages you to go out and interact with fellow java-philes.
Regular trips to the coffee shop foster the culture, and the culture fosters the brew.
5. Store Coffee Beans in an Airtight Container
As soon as you’ve brought home the beans, re-home them in a mason jar or tinted OXO container. As charming as those recyclable twine-tied bags with the shop’s name on them are, they do little to delay the bean’s degrading.
Tip: With mason jars, you should hear a slight pop every time you open it, as the beans will still be gassing off inside. That’s the sound of freshness. But if your beans are REALLY fresh, don’t tighten the lid. Let the gas escape or else you could end up with an exploding mason jar.
6. Store Your Coffee in a Dry, Cool Place
Believe it or not, even light can affect the freshness of your coffee (hence the tint on the OXO).
As attractive as a mason jar full of beautiful beans may be, don’t be tempted to use it as decoration. A cool pantry is best.
7. Skip the Fridge
Coffee beans don’t refrigerate well, and there’s no good reason to buy so much coffee that you’d have to refrigerate it anyway.
A cool pantry and an airtight container are all that’s needed.
The 7 Rules for Buying and Storing Coffee INFOGRAPHIC
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