facebook twitter instagram youtube pinterest send location star star


Why Fresh Coffee Beans Make All Difference

Fresh Coffee Beans

June 23, 2023

picture of fresh coffee beans before coffee bean storage

From our single origin coffee beans to our barrel aged specialties, Cooper’s Cask Coffee provides fresh coffee beans for coffee lovers. And we do that on purpose. Because fresh is best. Period. 

Read on to find out why fresh coffee beans make all the difference, and how you can keep yours fresher, longer.

Why are fresh coffee beans important?

It’s all about the flavor. 

Fresh coffee beans allow you to taste the essence of the coffee beans and their true flavor profile. Basically, you get all the tastes that the roast brought out. 

Think of it like guacamole. When you get fresh guacamole with just the right amount of spices and lime juice, it’s amazing. You can put it in the refrigerator, but you have to make sure air doesn’t get to it, or that beautiful, chunky-yet-creamy green gold turns brown on the top. And that brown stuff doesn’t taste right at all.

That’s called oxidation, and pretty much the same thing happens with your coffee beans. Minus the tortilla chips and margaritas, of course.

Cooper’s Cask Coffee delivers the freshest coffee possible.

We’re not the big guys, and we don’t want to be. As a small batch coffee company, we have the agility and customer-centric ability to roast our beans on a per-order basis. These small batches get shipped out asap after roasting, in our airtight bags. 

Our roasters hand-write the roast date on the bag along with the lot number. This tells you when it was roasted and which group of beans was used. And if you loved it, you can even give us those numbers when you order it again, and we’ll replicate the flavors in your fresh batch.

How long before the beans lose freshness?

Keep in mind a caveat: stale coffee won’t kill you. The flavor can range from flat to sour to downright bad. But it’s not going to make you shuffle the mortal coil, even if your tastebuds beg to be ended.

What we’re talking about here is the best time to get the best flavor and enjoyment from your fresh coffee beans. For peak quality, roasted beans have about 1 to 2 weeks before the flavors start to oxidize and degrade. 

This doesn’t mean the flavors fall off a cliff after 7 to 14 days. It’s just that the best experience of the coffee happens within that time. The coffee is still very good even after 14 days. To be blunt, we’d put our month-old coffee up against any mass-producer’s off-the-shelf bag any day. 

As people who care about our craft, we conduct testing on how our coffee holds up over time.. We test how aging affects the flavor, and also test ways to store them so that we can offer useful advice. 

The Fact Is: Small Batch Makes a Better Bag

We don’t stockpile roasted beans here at Cooper’s Cask Coffee. Our product never sits roasted in warehouses or on retail shelves for weeks or months. 

Mass-producers do that, hiding the loss of flavor by over-roasting beans, by blending types of coffee for a generic flavor, and by using powerful synthetic flavorings which help cover the loss of freshness.

We don’t do any of that. We write the date on the bag, get your freshly roasted beans to you quickly, and replace any coffees you don’t like within 30 days of your purchase. It’s our 100% satisfaction guarantee

Related topic: how to store coffee beans

How do coffee beans go stale?

Like a rusty Michigan truck fender or that tasty guacamole, it’s oxygen that wreaks all the havoc.

The solubles within the coffee—the oils and specific flavor elements—start to degrade as soon as the air hits it after roasting. Because we have years of practice, we’re able to quickly discern when coffee has passed its peak flavor time. Most people don’t notice a difference in the first 3 to 4 weeks after roasting. 

But after a month? It’s just a fact of nature that even the best coffee beans can start losing flavor and aroma. 

Storing Tips for Fresh Coffee Beans

We have some tips on how to keep your Cooper’s Cask Coffee at its freshest. 

Enough Is Actually Enough

Let’s say you really love our Tanzania Peaberry Medium Light Roast Coffee. It’s a delightful cup, with a bright, acidic presence offering notes of orange, raspberry, and wine.

You might want to order several bags of it so that you always have some handy. What we’re about to say probably goes against the grain of a business that sells coffee, but we recommend you don’t do that.

At Cooper’s Cask Coffee, we suggest you buy what you can drink in a couple of weeks to a month. You won’t run out if you join a subscription service. At Cooper’s, we automatically deliver your favorite Tanzania, Organic Sumatra Dark Roast Coffee, or Malt Whiskey Barrel Aged Coffee right to your door. You set the amount of coffee and frequency of shipment, and never have to worry about running out.

It’s a fresh idea for having fresh coffee beans whenever you want!

Resist the Urge to Open Up

When your new bag of beans arrives, you might want to open it up immediately for that wonderful first “sneak sniff.” Just don’t do it. Our bags are specially designed to let no air in, but to vent out carbon dioxide naturally created by coffee beans after roasting. 

Your beans are happy when they’re in an unopened bag. So if you still get the urge (we wouldn’t blame you) just give the bag a squeeze and smell the fresh roasted goodness at the safety vent.

Don’t Leave Your Beans in the Grinder Hopper

If you want the freshest coffee beans, you should only grind as much as you need to. Leaving beans in your grinder’s hopper allows lots of air exposure, and that means accelerated oxidation. We know that the hopper can frequently hold a lot of beans. Just remember: it doesn’t have to be filled.

This Tip is Shady

Keep your bag of Brazil Medium Dark Roast Espresso, or maybe your Barrel Aged Coffee Boxed Set, in a cool, dry place away from heat sources and out of direct sunlight. Keeping them cool and protected like this helps to prevent those tasty coffee oils from leaching out of the beans more quickly. 

Freezing Isn’t What You Thawed It Was

Though freezing works well for keeping food safe for extended periods, it’s not great for storing coffee.

When you take the coffee out of the freezer, you need to get the right amount of beans out quickly and not let the remaining ones thaw. Thawing and refreezing works the oils out of the beans and causes them to go stale more quickly, plus condensation on them can further promote freezer burn.

Have you ever stored food in the freezer, and when you went to use it, that food seemed to taste like the freezer? Freezing can cause the bag’s safety vent to fail and allow air to enter. Even zip tight bags can fail when frozen. It’s just not the best way to preserve your coffee’s flavor. 

Airtight is All Right

If you have a container that’s airtight and can hold your airtight coffee bags, by all means—do it. The less airflow around the bags—especially if they’ve been opened and resealed—then the less chance of exposure to oxygen.

Some Roasts Store Better

Sometimes necessity requires that you buy a larger amount of coffee than you can reasonably enjoy over a few weeks or a couple of months. If that’s the case, you might consider purchasing a dark roast coffee

Don’t get us wrong: dark roasts oxidize just like any other coffee. The difference is that for a dark roast or espresso roast, the flavor profile is in large part the roast itself. Since oxidation won’t change the roast level, you may still have that toasty, roasty flavor to enjoy even when the bean’s natural flavor notes have degraded.

Related topic: how to make the perfect cup of coffee

Will fresh coffee beans go stale even in an airtight container?

It’s unfortunate, but yes, they will. Coffee beans stay fresher-tasting longer when stored in an airtight container because there is less exposure to air. But they will still eventually become stale.

The issue lies in the oils in the coffee. Imagine buying the freshest sealed bottle of premium olive oil you can find. Even if the bottle is airtight, eventually the oil will go rancid. It’s just the nature of edible oils.

So if there’s ever an excuse to use your “special occasion coffee” on a special occasion such as, oh—tomorrow morning, that’s it!

With the optimal storage conditions in place, you can expect your whole bean coffee to retain peak flavors and aroma for 2 to 6 weeks. 

Once you’re past the 4 to 6 week mark, oxidation will eventually make the coffee beans taste bland and “flat,” and maybe a little “dusty.” If the coffee has truly gone over, you’ll notice an extreme sourness or bitterness to it. 

How can you tell if your coffee beans are stale?

As you get to know your single origin beans and their excellent flavors, you’ll begin to learn when you may have saved a bag longer than their peak experience.

  • Pinch Proof. When you rub the grinds between your fingers, they feel grainy and dry, plus they don’t stick together.
  • Gas Bag. Fresh beans create CO2, so put a half-cup of beans in a Ziplock overnight. If the bag doesn’t puff up a bit, the beans aren’t fresh.
  • Whiff Test. Has the aroma of your brewed coffee changed—smelling kind of dusty, mildewy, or flat? If the answer is yes, your beans are old. 
  • A Cupping. Let your fresh cup of coffee cool down, and then taste it. Is it more sour and bitter than usual? If yes, then the beans have turned. 
  • Foam Zone. Pull your favorite espresso. Are there little to no bubbles (the “crema”)? If there aren’t, it’s past its prime.
a close up of coffee beans in a bag of cooper's cask coffee as one of the ways to keep fresh coffee beans stored

Cool Containers for Freshness

We recommend using airtight containers for your fresh coffee beans! However, keep in mind that our Cooper’s Cask Coffee arrives within 2 to 3 days of having been roasted. Your order is extremely fresh, so it will be releasing CO2 for a while.

Your airtight container needs to be able to vent that extra gas. Otherwise, if you don’t get back to it for a while, it could pop its top.

With coffee in hand, we scoured the web for some cool container suggestions.

Soulhand Coffee Container

This coffee container comes in two sizes: 12 ounces, or 17 ounces. It’s clear glass, with an airtight lid seal.

What makes the Soulhand Coffee Contain unusual is that it’s also electric. The lid contains a rechargeable battery, which powers air pressure monitors and a vacuum pump. Not only is it airtight—it actually removes air for even more protection from oxidation. With the touch of a button you can let air back in to open the canister, use what you need, then close it with another click: voila! Air sucked out, freshness retained.

Veken Coffee Canister

Though the Veken Coffee Canister doesn’t have a vacuum pump to remove air, it does offer an airtight seal, and a one-way CO2 valve in the top. Also, this canister is made of stainless steel with a black finish, ensuring zero light penetrates to age the coffee beans.

The CO2 valve also serves as a date tracker. You dial up a date according to settings around the valve. This means you can track when you bought it, or even when 6 weeks have passed for peak freshness warning.

Airscape Stainless Steel Coffee Canister

This airtight storage canister combines durability and air removal without requiring any batteries. The Airscape Stainless Steel Coffee Canister has two lids. Once you put your beans in, you push the airtight inner lid down into the canister. This removes all the excess air. Then you push on the top lid for another air barrier. The inner lid’s 2-way valve also lets pressure vent for safety.

There are many, many more types of containers, in many price ranges. Choose the type you want, but just keep in mind that freshly roasted coffee will need to have that vent available.

What about basic storage? 

The most basic storage for fresh coffee beans is the original bag your Cooper’s Cask Coffee arrived in. They don’t let in sunlight, they seal at the top, and they have built-in vents. If you have a canister you want to put them in, it will help keep fresh air from constantly being around the bags; just make sure it’s not airtight.

You can also put our bag inside another airtight bag. However, this works best if you use that coffee every day, since you’ll end up venting the bag at least once every 24 or so hours. Otherwise you’ll have a balloon just waiting to pop.

Other containers can include:

  • Food storage containers
  • Paper bags (with a chip-clip or other clamp sealing the top closed)
  • Mason jars (with lids screwed on but not too tight)

Don’t put any of these into the refrigerator! 

We’ve already talked about the freezer. The refrigerator is even worse. Coffee beans can absorb moisture in the air, and refrigerators are moist places with lots of odors. Even a little air transfer can also transfer some not great odor flavors into your coffee beans.

The Key Takeaways for Keeping Fresh Coffee Beans Fresh

  • Keep your beans in a cool, dry, dark place.
  • Store in an airtight container.
  • Make sure the container can vent outward.
  • Order only as much as you can use up in 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Use our subscription plan to never run out.
  • Only buy from a small-batch company (like us!).

Make the Fresh Choice with Cooper’s

Cooper’s Cask Coffee only roasts fresh to order. Look for the hand-written roast date and lot number on every bag you order from us. From single original coffees to our barrel aged specialties, we’ll deliver the freshest beans to your door.

Haven’t tried us before? Don’t worry; if your order doesn’t wholly satisfy you, our money back guarantee ensures free returns or exchanges. With 7000 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon, we’d like to think we’re on to something good! 

Contact us with any questions, and then freshen up your cup. Small batch, big satisfaction. That’s Cooper’s Cask Coffee

Sign up for our email list and get 10% off your first order!