How to Grind and Store Your Coffee Beans at Home

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As you probably already know, making coffee can be as simple as pushing a button on an automatic pot or as complicated as a full-on science experiment.

You may not realize it, but how and where you store your coffee beans has a direct impact on their lifespan. Read our tips to increase the longevity of your beans. This will allow you to save some cash as you will be able to purchase in bulk and keep your supply fresher for longer periods. Read all about it at

But one thing’s for sure: If you want to make one simple change that will result in a much more flavorful drink, try grinding your coffee beans at home right before you brew them.

The Benefits Of Grinding Coffee Beans Immediately Before You Brew

Coffee beans are chock-full of delicate aromatic and flavorful compounds that dissipate quickly once roasted and ground – or when they come into contact with direct sunlight and oxygen in the air.

So, when they are prematurely ground and exposed to elements such as light and oxygen, they instantly begin to lose their aroma and flavor.

The Basics of Home Coffee Grinding and Coffee Bean Storage |

Whole beans hold onto their flavor much longer than the ground up variety because all of the delicious flavors and aromas are being protected from the elements inside the shell.

As soon as you process a bean or put it through a grinder, you break open that protective casing that has been preserving all of the volatile compounds that comprise the various flavors and aromas.

So, in order for you to maintain quality and to extract the full range of complex flavors, it is extremely important to grind just prior to brewing.

Think about it… Would you open up a packet of potato chips a day before you planned on eating them? No, you wouldn’t! They would become stale, lose their flavor, and you would have ruined a perfectly good packet of potato chips.

Prematurely grinding will have the exact same impact. You will be left with a stale, “flat” tasting coffee and you will have wasted your time and money buying those particular beans in the first place.

What’s The Correct Method Of Storage of Coffee Beans And How Long Do They Last?

Short Term

To get the maximum benefits and flavors every time you brew, it is recommended that you store your beans in a cool, dry place – away from sunlight for a maximum of 2-3 weeks after roasting.

LOVFFEE Ceramic Premium Coffee Canisters available on Amazon

Airtight containers are highly highly recommended and you can use everything from generic containers purchased at the local department store to nicely constructed, purposely built coffee bean storage jars.

I personally recommend the LOVFFEE Cereamic Coffee Canisters. They are air tight, made of ceramic to prevent any flavor leaching, with a one-way valve that lets CO2 escape (important for fresh roasted beans) while keeping additional oxygen from entering.

Best of all, they are available in multiple colors.

Long Term

If you manage to find a really good deal on bulk quantities and you would like to purchase them while they are still readily available, then you can also use your freezer to store beans for future use.

BUT you must follow these 2 very important rules in order to keep everything fresh when storing them in the freezer:

1) Coffee is porous, so it can absorb other flavors and smells that may be present in your freezer, such as those present in seafood and meat products. This will compromise the flavors and aromas and ultimately affect the taste.

Don’t keep defrosting and re-freezing. Once your beans go into the freezer, don’t keep pulling them in and out all of the time.

2) Moisture from the condensation caused by a constant change in temperature will soak into them and ruin the integrity of the shells.

If you buy in bulk, make sure you separate what you buy into smaller, usable portions that can be used within a couple of weeks.

Selecting The Right Grind

Selecting the right texture or size of grain that you are going to grind your beans into is going to have a direct impact on the caffeine extract and the overall taste of your brew.

The particle size of your granules will affect the surface area from which caffeine and flavor can be extracted. Once hot water has been added, it activates the “flavor cells” and releases all of those beautiful tasting (and smelling) essences in the “blooming” process.

If you don’t have the right size grains for the type of coffee you are trying prepare, then you are either going to get a weak, under-developed brew or an over-extracted, bitter taste.

General Guidelines For Grinding Coffee

To help you choose the best type of grind when using your coffee grinder and to help you gain the best possible value, you should use the following guidelines:

  • Coarse Grind- A coarse grind is commonly used in a percolator or a French press, where the hot water is going to be in contact with the grounds for a reasonable amount of time (usually 2-4 minutes).
  • Medium Grind- Commonly used with vacuum pots and drip brewing machines.
  • Fine Grind- Commonly used with filter brewing methods and some drip brewing machines.
  • Espresso Grind- Espresso grind is usually the hardest to get right because it has to be fine enough so the pressure can build up, extract all of the flavor, and then push the liquid through the filter, yet not so fine that it actually blocks the filter and prevents the liquid from coming through.

Want to know more about brewing espresso? Check out Foodal’s Basics of Espresso Brewing: Tips and Techniques.

Also take a look at what kinds of carafes you might want to consider purchasing to serve your coffee and keep it hot.

Or if you just want to get more hip to the java jive, bone up on these coffee terms and lingo you absolutely shouldn’t be without!

You can’t get very far without the appropriate ingredients and equipment! Our list of top gifts for coffee lovers gives you five essentials everyone needs in their home.

About Mike Quinn

Mike Quinn spent 20 years in the US Army and traveled extensively all over the world. As part of his military service, Mike sampled coffee and tea from all virtually every geographic region, from the beans from the plantation of an El Salvadorian Army Colonel to "Chi" in Iraq to Turkish Coffee in the Turkish Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. He spent nearly a decade in the Republic of Korea where he was exposed to all forms of traditional teas. Mike formerly owned and operated Cup And Brew, an online espresso and coffee equipment retail operation.

7 thoughts on “How to Grind and Store Your Coffee Beans at Home”

  1. I LOVE this blog post! I had no idea the kind of grind had an effect on how the brew turns out. My boyfriend bought a grinder not that long ago and yes, it totally makes a difference when we use freshly ground vs. pre-ground coffee. Pre-ground does in fact taste flat, and often stale. It does not have the robust flavor of freshly ground. We keep ours in a air tight container and grind every time we brew a batch, which is usually once week since we make iced coffee during the summer! I also never thought about getting bulk coffee, then freezing, and separating it! That sounds like a great plan that I will be enacting in the future! Loved this post, cannot wait to see more!

  2. These are some good things to know. My husband just recently bought me a coffee grinder. It was very nice of him, but I really didn’t know much about it or much about the process. Thanks for all the great tips for storing, etc. I do use it right before I make my pot for the day so my grounds are nice and fresh. It does make a difference. In fact, in makes a difference in the aroma as well as the taste, much more so than I would have thought.

  3. I bet enthusiasts are like kids in a candy store when buying different coffee varieties and equipment. I would be too overloaded with options trying to figure out what type of beans I want and how much I like to buy at once. There are so many factors that go into making this drink and any one thing can cause a bad experience. Not having the beans evenly ground or using hard water comes to mind.

  4. This was good and helpful info. I love my coffee and I have gone back and forth between buying pre-ground or grinding myself. I need to start by whole bean again, its so much better.

  5. This is very informative. I have always been told to keep extra coffee in the freezer after grinding it. I now see that is not the best way to preserve the flavor of my coffee. My son occasionally buys me a very good gourmet coffee that I grind myself. From now own, I will be more careful about grinding just the amount I need.

  6. I have a great method for storing freshly roasted beans for a long period. A friend of mine roasts very small batch (.5 lb at a time) for me. Within a week the flavor diminishes dramatically, two weeks and I might as well buy Pete’s from the grocery store and I tend to use it fairly slowly. My solution: split the pound into 3 or 4 small vacuum sealed bags and freeze them. No condensation (condenses on the bag as long as you thaw under pressure), very little off gassing (bags are still tight after months), no flavor exchange (sealed bag), and very fresh tasting coffee.

  7. People actually buy pre-ground coffee? Yuk! I’ve always used a high speed grinder for my coffee needs but just bought a burr mill grinder 6 months ago and will NEVER go back! It grinds the exact amount I need every time! It’s about consistancy and high speed grinders would make a different cup of coffee every time. The burr mill makes a perfect grind and my coffee has been enhanced exponentially! I will always buy small amounts of beans though. I don’t think there is a good way to store beans long term and I’ve heard that putting them into the freezer will actually pull the water out of the beans. Think freezer burn and then think of your beans. Blah! Why not just buy a half or full pound at a time? Then you can try out and find different roasts! Maybe the one you like isn’t the best one for you? I think there will always be a better bean out there if you look. Stumptown Roasters in Portland Oregon is by far the best roaster I have found. They are the opposite of StarBla’s and their roasts are lighter, bringing out more flavor and quite the kick! Try it if you have the opportunity. You will not be disappointed! Best coffee EVER!!!


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