Green coffee beans are best for long term storage.
Roasted coffee beans have a limited shelf-life and comparatively won’t retain their fresh flavor for too long. The shelf life of ground coffee is even less – making both roasted coffee beans and ground coffee poor choices for long term storage.
So, what is the best coffee for long term storage? Green coffee beans.
Here’s more about it (they’ll need to be roasted), what you will need, and how to do it:
What Are Green Coffee Beans?
They are coffee beans in their natural state, BEFORE they are roasted.
When you buy coffee beans at the grocery store, they’ve already been roasted. Roasted coffee beans won’t pass the test of time like green coffee beans will (long term storage).
Coffee comes from a small red fruit that must go through many stages to become the tasty brown bean we all know as coffee. Most coffee is first “wet processed” to remove the outer skin, the pulp (which is actually fermented away), and the inner parchment skin.
This leaves the inner seed, or bean, which is then dried. This coffee bean is “green” (before it’s roasted) and is ideal for long term storage.
Green Coffee Bean Roaster
There are several popular coffee bean roasters on the market. Some are very expensive, though popular, like this one on amzn, Behmor Customizable Drum Coffee Roaster.
Another popular roaster (less expensive) is (this one on amzn).
Even less expensive while still quite popular is the NUVO Ceramic Coffee Bean Roaster. Simply put on a stove top.
How To Roast Green Coffee Beans
Note: The roasting process will create some smoke! Especially if roasting at higher temperatures and/or roasting beyond “second crack” of the beans. So be prepared to ventilate! Use under a range hood that vents outdoors, or consider roasting your beans outside on the porch, etc..
Note: If roasting with other than a specialized coffee bean roaster, a fairly low temperature of approximately 275-F will get the job done. You may roast up to 500-F for shorter times and darker flavors however be aware of smoke…
Coffee Bean Roast To “First Crack”
After a few minutes of roasting, the green beans will turn a lighter green-yellow color.
The beans may start to steam as any water that may be inside is released.
Soon after that, you will hear the “first crack.” The cracking sound occurs as the real roasting begins.
The sugars in the beans start to caramelize, more water is released, and oils start to release as the structure of the bean breaks down.
After the first crack, you can stop roasting if you like very lightly roasted coffee. The beans are dark brown, but not very oily.
Note: The beans retain most of their caffeine at this stage of roast.
Coffee Bean Roast To “Second Crack”
As you continue to roast, the beans caramelize more, and more oils appear as the bean expands and the roast becomes darker.
Soon after, the “second crack” can be heard. Pieces (chaff) will be blown away from the bean. You may want to stop roasting at the first sign of the second crack unless you are going for a very dark roast.
During the second crack, the sugars will burn and smoke will be more pungent. The dark beans will take on a very oily appearance.
Note from an experienced roaster:
I can say with confidence that the earlier stages of coffee roasting smells more like cut grass than coffee; once it hits first crack it starts to smell a bit like coffee.
If you take it past second crack (the beans swell and pop, first a little, then later more, so second crack is louder than first crack) too far you get to french roast, or a waste of beans. At this point the thick white coffee-smelling smoke begins.
Coffee Bean Grinder
After the roasting process and cool down, you will need a coffee grinder to grind the beans.
Best Manual Coffee Bean Grinder:
JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
(view on amzn)
Top-of-the-line Electric Coffee Bean Grinder:
Breville | The Smart Grinder Pro
Best Value Electric Coffee Grinder:
Bodum Bistro Burr
A Best Way To Store Ground Coffee For Freshness
If you’re grinding your roasted coffee beans and want to make “a batch”, you might consider storing the ground coffee in one of these self-sealing containers.
I have been storing my ground coffee in the following container which holds 1 pound of coffee (they make 5-lb size too),
How To Store Green Coffee Beans Long Term
So what’s the shelf life and how long will they last?
Professionally packaged green beans may subjectively retain their “freshness” for 20 years!
I also recommend storing them in a 5-gallon bucket with a Gamma Lid for easy access. I wrote about those lids (here).
Unroasted Green Coffee Beans
(view on amzn)