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Old 11-21-2011, 07:09 PM
dalej42 dalej42 is online now
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Chicago
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How long does whole bean coffee stay fresh?

I noticed that Starbucks now has available their Christmas blend which I love. So, I'll buy it from now until the end of December. If I buy extra at the end of December, about how long should I expect an unopened package to stay fresh?
Old 11-21-2011, 07:45 PM
Anamorphic Anamorphic is offline
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,299
For optimal freshness, not long. Really, coffee should be consumed by about a week after it's roasted. And of course, with a place like Starbucks, or coffee purchased in bags from a supermarket, you have no idea how long it's been sitting on the shelf, since they don't generally put roast dates on the bags. If you're not too picky, it'll probably be drinkable for maybe a few weeks before it really goes off.

You can add some life to it by putting it in the freezer. But, if you do this, it's very important not take it in and out of the freezer like many people do - this is bad for the coffee. Moisture is one of coffee's enemies, and taking the coffee in and out of the freezer will cause the moisture to be absorbed by the beans.
Old 11-21-2011, 08:22 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 14,292
I keep my coffee beans in an airtight plastic container with a rubber gasket; I think it keeps well.
Old 11-22-2011, 12:20 AM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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Location: Chicago, Far Northsider
Posts: 7,809
If they haven't changed things, I believe the vacuum packed bags from Starbucks with the one-way valve should have a roast date on the bottom. In the sealed vacuum bag, the coffee is considered fresh for three months. It should at least have a sell-by date, and I would consider the coffee fresh for one week past that date. Also fresh for one week past the day the vacuum seal is broken.

If you have a Caribou near you, I know from working there you can get whole bean coffee in two ways. They have the bulk bags they use in-store for brewing - they will sell you that coffee and each bag has the roast date on it. It's considered fresh for a week past the roasting date, then they throw it out. Then there are the pre-packed vacuum bags marked in the way I described the Starbucks above. I'm pretty sure both places have the same sort of dating on the vacuum packs.

At home, the best way to store whole bean coffee is at room temperature in a gasket-sealed airtight container, most commonly I see stainless or ceramic.

Last edited by SeaDragonTattoo; 11-22-2011 at 12:21 AM.
Old 11-22-2011, 08:27 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 39,659
I keep my whole beans in the freezer, and there's something I've been wondering about: Can I grind the beans while still frozen, or do I have to let them warm up first?
Old 11-22-2011, 09:03 AM
Tapioca Dextrin Tapioca Dextrin is offline
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Posts: 11,874
According to my coffee maker manual, the beans should be at room temperature before grinding.
Old 11-23-2011, 11:11 PM
squeegee squeegee is online now
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Gilroy CA
Posts: 8,597
I've ground frozen beans often, and the grind comes out just fine. I don't know if this was bad for the grinder itself, which may be what Tapioca Dextrin's manual was concerned about. But my frozen beans made very good coffee.


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