The study also found that, on average, a 12 oz bag of open-ground coffee stays fresh for four weeks, depending on variables such as humidity, light and air. To test the theory, open coffee bags were stored in a freezer at zero degrees Celsius, a refrigerator at 2 degrees Celsius and a counter at a temperature of 22 degrees Celsius.
One sample from each storage environment was humidity tested every two weeks, then analysed for colour consistency every four weeks. The coffees were cupped and blind tested throughout the entire period of 12 weeks.
The study found that despite being low, the temperature varies too much in a refrigerator, and moisture from the air can erode the aroma and flavour. Over time exposure to air and warmer temperatures can cause the essential oils to evaporate which is what causes a loss of flavour. Freezing the coffee in an air tight container gives it the best chance to stay fresh and maintain aroma and flavour.
The other main finding of the study was that consumers should buy coffee in small quantities. Ideally, the coffee should be consumed within 10 days.
Check the coffee bag before you buy to make sure the one-way valve is sealed. If the valve is sealed properly, oxygen cannot get into the bag, keeping the coffee fresher. Keep unopened bags in the freezer. Once removed from the freezer, place the remaining coffee immediately in an airtight container to avoid moisture, and store back in the freezer.
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