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The Best Ways to Store Green Coffee Beans 

Green coffee beans being poured from one container to another

If you love coffee as much as we do and want to ensure that every cup is perfect, you may well buy your coffee beans green.

Green coffee beans are a fantastic option for those who want to be able to roast their beans exactly as they like them.

Green coffee beans also store better than their roasted or ground counterparts. However, it is still vital to know the best ways to store green coffee beans to ensure they stay in good condition and brew a fantastic cup of coffee.

What Are Green Coffee Beans?

Green coffee beans on plant. Photo by Nico Smit.
Green coffee beans on plant. Photo by Nico Smit.

Before we get on to how to store green coffee beans, it’s worth covering exactly what they are.

When we talk about coffee beans, what we are actually describing is the seed of the coffee cherry—the fruit that grows on the coffee plant, or to use its scientific name, the Coffea plant.

When coffee beans (or rather seeds) are harvested, they are naturally green in color. The coffee bean only goes that familiar, beautiful, and decadent shade of brown after roasting.

What Are the Best Ways to Store Green Coffee Beans?

Storing already roasted beans is widely different from storing green coffee beans. Photo by Diego Catto.
Storing already roasted beans is widely different from storing green coffee beans. Photo by Diego Catto.

Whether green, roasted, or even ground, all of the forms of coffee that you might pick up at the store share four common enemies. These are air, moisture, heat, and sunlight.

If stored optimally, roasted coffee tends to begin losing quality in a matter of months, and if stored badly, it can last just weeks. When those roasted beans have been ground, things get even bleaker – your beloved stash could suffer rapid flavor-compromising oxidation in just days.

In contrast, green beans can be kept successfully for up to a year! But they need to be stored properly.

So, what are our essential tips on how to store green coffee beans correctly?

Choosing the Perfect Containers For Your Green Coffee Beans

Before we cover finding the perfect storage spot for your precious beans, it’s important to consider what makes a great coffee bean container.

When we think about the factors that cause coffee to degrade in quality—air, sunlight, dampness, and high or fluctuating temperatures—it’s easy to see why opaque food-grade containers that seal really well are an ideal option.

Vacuum-sealed and Airscape containers are also excellent choices, as they’ll reduce the risk of oxidation even more.

You’ve probably noticed that the bags of roasted coffee you see on the shelves feature one-way valves. Are these useful for green coffee beans too? Well, ultimately, they won’t do any harm because they only let air out rather than in.

However, for green beans, that valve is surplus to requirements, because one of its major functions is to let the carbon dioxide generated by roasting escape, which isn’t necessary for green coffee beans..

Shielding Beans From the Sun

It can be tempting to put coffee on display—a glass jar of green beans provides a lovely decorative aesthetic—but this is definitely a no-no for long-term storage.

If you find the look irresistible, consider keeping a small jar on the counter so you can rotate the beans frequently. Or, alternatively, use a sacrificial batch for display and keep your true beans in a dedicated hiding spot!

This will help you avoid the inevitable flavor loss that follows extended exposure to light.

Maintaining the Right Temperature

When exploring the best ways to store green coffee beans, it helps to know that they have the longest shelf life at a temperature of around 75° F or 24°C.

If your home is climate-controlled then maintaining this kind of ballpark shouldn’t be too much of a problem. However, if it isn’t you might want to consider more imaginative storage locations or skip forwards to our section on freezing green coffee beans.

Both excessive temperatures and big fluctuations are dastardly foes of the finest espresso.

“Storage of Green Coffee with Peter Wolff” by Wolff Coffee Roasters on YouTube.

Staying in the Humidity Sweet Spot

Drying out from heat and ventilation won’t do your green coffee beans any favors. In fact, you can expect most of the taste and nutrients to drift off as the moisture does.

High humidity is also bad for green coffee beans, as porous coffee beans will soak that moisture up and soon go bad.

While you may be able to rescue green coffee beans if you notice and dry them out quickly, the best tactic is to store them well and safeguard that optimal moisture level from the get-go.

Deciding Whether to Freeze Coffee Beans

While considered a little controversial by many coffee connoisseurs, for some, the most convenient answer to the question of how to store green coffee beans is to keep them in the freezer.

Freezing green coffee beans can work well, however, there are some problems to watch out for.

We mentioned that coffee beans are porous, and in a freezer or refrigerator, they’ll make quick work of absorbing the aromas of everything around them. If you’d rather not sip on a garlic-infused cup of joe, then you’ll need to make extra certain that your containers are truly air-tight before storing them near other foods.

Another thing to avoid is constantly taking the beans in and out of the freezer. Instead, portion them up and take a big enough batch out each time to cover you for a week or so, remembering to thaw and roast them quickly so they don’t sit damp.

How to Know If Green Coffee Beans Have Gone Bad

If your green coffee beans have become damp and are showing signs of mold, it’s common sense that they’re destined for the trash. Bad coffee beans not only provide an unpleasant flavor but they can also make us pretty unwell, so it’s always better to be on the safe side.

At other times, you may be able to spot that your green coffee beans have gone bad by noticing that they’ve lost some of their color.

However, the best tool at your disposal is your nose. If your coffee beans don’t smell fragrant and delicious, then they are sadly no longer suitable for roasting and brewing.

Fortunately though, if you stick to the tips above and choose a cool, dark storage spot and a sealed food-grade container then you can’t go far wrong.

FAQ – The Best Ways to Store Green Coffee Beans

How should I store my green coffee beans?

If you’d like your beans to be fresh. Keep them rather dark and somewhere where it’s room temperature. The most important thing to cater for is to make sure there’s no moisture around the coffee beans.

How do you store green coffee beans long term?

Green coffee beans will stay “healthy” for a very long time, up to years, if they’re placed in a cool or room temperatured place that also is dry. A cupboard is better than a refrigerator!

How long can I store green coffee beans?

For years if they are stored in a cool, dark, and moist free environment. The most important thing is to shield them from a) warmth b) moist.

Should I vacuum seal green coffee beans?

Vacuum sealing green coffee is great for preservation and protection from humidity. Just make sure you use them within a few hours once you break the vacuum seal.

What is the best thing to store coffee beans in?

Coffee beans are often considered nice to show (e.g. on a shelf in your kitchen). Doing this could compromise the taste! Make sure the canister is dark and doesn’t let light in, and above all – that they can keep dry and cool.

Can I freeze my green coffee beans?

Yes. While considered controversial by coffee connoisseurs, for some, the most convenient answer to the question of how to store green coffee beans is to keep them in the freezer.

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