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I love coffee, in many of its forms, and have recently started playing around with grinding my own, brewing it and so on. When I grind beans, I usually use a specific amount by weight, and go from there.

The beans that are not ground are kept in the in which they came, which is kept sealed, with as much air squeezed out as possible. How long should the beans last?

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2 Answers 2

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Coffee beans will retain their essential oils and flavor compounds longest if stored in a dry, dark, airtight container. Refrigeration and freezing are therefore not desirable options since they will almost always cause moisture to form on the surface of the beans.

Note that for the first couple weeks after the coffee has been roasted it will naturally release a lot of carbon dioxide, so the airtight container must have some sort of one-way vent valve to let the gas out. Therefore, the pre-sealed coffee bags that are now ubiquitous in stores are ideal since they have a built-in one-way valve. There are also some vacuum container devices specifically designed for storing coffee beans that have a small pump to pump out the air once or twice a day.

Once the beans are roasted, their essential flavor compounds quickly start to degrade. Therefore, do not buy beans unless you know their roasting date. If stored in ideal conditions, the beans should remain in peak condition for two or three months.

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4  
...in other words, I'd use them far quicker than they would take to spoil. –  razumny Sep 16 '13 at 17:32
    
If stored in ideal conditions, the beans should remain in peak condition for two or three WEEKS. coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/questions/543604 –  Rick G Sep 23 '13 at 13:54
    
@RickG I got the two to three months number from Alton Brown, whom I consider to be a source at least as reliable as forum posts on Coffee Geek. (To be clear, I do also enjoy Coffee Geek as a resource.) Personally, I find it hard to imagine how a pound of beans could last longer than three weeks before being consumed ;-) –  ESultanik Sep 26 '13 at 1:12

My sense is that if kept in optimal conditions it can be indefinite(not eternal). Optimal would be cool dry and well sealed.

Here are some guidelines, however I am not sure what they are basing this on: http://www.eatbydate.com/drinks/coffee-tea-shelf-life/coffee-shelf-life-expiration-date/

another interesting resource for any information on coffee: http://www.ncausa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1

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If stored in ideal conditions, the beans should remain in peak condition for two or three WEEKS. coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/questions/543604 –  Rick G Sep 23 '13 at 13:55

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