Over the last several decades an international phenomenon has occurred, making coffee everybody's favourite "feel good" drink & launching its popularity to new heights. Coffee has taken the world by storm or shall we say by the brewing of the storm! This new found popularity has made coffee one of the world's most valuable & traded commodities. This has made proper Coffee Storage an important factor, indispensable for maintaining the value of your purchase, its freshness & flavour.
Like Tea, Coffee has a long history & folklore, from medicinal & spiritual use in the ancient Middle East to the modern day office coffee break. Brazil remains the largest coffee exporting nation and the forecast worldwide is that 7 million metric tons of coffee will be sold in 2010. Coffee's medicinal purposes continue today having found coffee contains antioxidants that prevent free radicals from causing cell damage. Spiritual use remains, as we all know a cup will lift the spirit!
Roasted coffee beans emit comparably large amounts of gas, carbon dioxide to be specific. This is why most coffee manufacturers use foil bags with a one way degassing valve to store beans. The valves on these bags open at a specific pressure, allowing for the excess gasses to escape. At the same time the one way valve is preventing oxygen from entering the bag & causing the beans to go stale. Absolutely the best way to store coffee beans or grounds is in an airtight container away from light, moisture and heat.
It has been a long time belief & practice that freezing coffee is the best way to maintain the flavour & taste. This only applies to whole beans; not the ground coffee. Whole beans naturally preserve the flavour by keeping the inside of the bean from exposure to the elements. As soon as the bean is ground, it begins to lose its essence, flavour and vitality. By storing beans whole you can preserve the rich aromatic coffee taste you expect & enjoy. There are many experts who disagree with freezing coffee, citing that a frozen coffee bean causes the cell walls on the outer layer of the bean to burst. This changes the molecular structure and the coffee goes stale quickly. Gasses are released, moisture and oils evaporate. In addition, people do not thaw coffee properly after freezing & moisture from the condensation will also cause damage to the bean.