Freshness of coffee beans is key to optimum intensity of flavours in the cup. Flavour notes on the bag are only available when the beans are fresh. Agreed, it's tricky if you want to buy a kilo or more of your favourite coffee and drink it all within 20 days! Well, my friend, we have a hot tip - or better said, a cold tip! 

Let's review the shelf life of a bean. 

When coffee is roasted, give those beans a little time to chill out before you dive in. Traditionally, we recommend five days. Why? During the roasting process, an amount of CO2 is trapped inside the beans, which can make your coffee taste a bit flat. You might have also noticed that an extra fresh coffee may have a very thick crema. Crema is made of gas and oils which emulsify together. More gas means more crema and this coffee is therefore considered too fresh. So, let the bag rest for five days after the roast to enjoy all its flavours. Just check behind or below the bag for a roast date and you're golden! 

Five days after the roast, crack open the bag. Depending on roast level and quality of the bean, the intensity of the flavours will last between 14-21 days (2-3 weeks) after the roast. But remember, coffee has its sworn enemies: moisture, air, exposure, light and heat. Keep your beans in an airtight container in a dark, cool spot, and you're sweet! Ideally, you'll want to drink it up within two weeks. 

After about 21 days, the coffee starts staling. It's still safe for consumption—even six months post-roast won’t hurt you—but it might taste a bit flat, with muted acidity and sweetness.

The life of a bean after opening a bag of coffee. 

Now, let's talk about the aging process. Once you open a bag, those beans start to age faster because they're exposed to oxygen. If you leave them in the grinder's hopper, exposure to light and more oxygen will speed up the aging process. As beans age, you'll need to grind them finer because the extraction time gets faster and the coffee might not taste as great. If you're a coffee perfectionist (like us!), you might even toss out the old coffee and start fresh with a finer grind setting. 

Since grinders retain grounds, you’ll need to purge a dose (or several for commercial grinders) to get the fresh stuff into your next cup. Yes, it’s wasteful, and it’s a bummer, but it’s part of the coffee-making process.

So, let’s recap: wasting beans is natural if you can’t drink the whole bag quickly or when you change your grind setting. It’s frustrating, but often necessary for that perfect cup.

Or perhaps not? Here’s a thought—have you considered freezing your coffee? It’s a bit time-consuming, but it might just be the game-changer you need!

When it comes to preserving food, the freezer is our best friend. So, what about coffee? Before you toss 5kg of beans into the freezer, there are a few rules to follow. 

Freezing coffee is a trick used in competitions and high-end cafes to preserve expensive, high-quality beans. The main reason? Minimising waste. If a cafe is not selling much of a particular coffee, freezing it lets them use it when they need it, maximising every penny spent on those precious beans.

Remember those four coffee killers we talked about? Light, moisture, air, and heat. Keep them at bay with a plastic container, sealing it tightly with minimal air space. Freezing per dose is ideal. If you use 15g for a filter brew or 22g for an espresso, freeze in small individual containers. Once frozen, you can grind it straight from the freezer—no defrosting needed! A single dose grinder is best for consistency (especially for espresso), but a high-quality hopper grinder works too. Your coffee won’t age anymore, so no more fiddling with grind settings. How cool is that?

When and how long should you freeze coffee?

Ideally, within 4-14 days post-roast, when the coffee is at its peak. This stops the aging process. We have conducted some experiments over the years, and we would recommend it drinking it within six months, as it can start to lose complexity and acidity after that. Just remember to label your frozen coffee with dates so you can keep track of them!

Now, let's talk about cafes. Is it worth it?

For everyday blends, not really. It’s a lot of work and time-consuming to dose up coffee, especially if you go through several kilos a day. But for limited or special releases, freezing is a game-changer. If you’re only using a kilo a month and want it always at its prime, freeze it! Or simply buy 250g bags for optimal freshness. It all depends on your café’s volume and whether you have a good freezer close to the coffee machine.

Freshness is key to tasty coffee. Make sure your coffee is within the 4-14 day window post-roast before brewing. Freezing gives you more time and saves waste if you 1) do it for the right reason and 2) do it the proper way. How cool is that? 

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