Coffee Storage in Humid Climates

Coffee Storage in Humid Climates

We send our beans all over Australia, to major cities and remote towns. One of the most common questions we get is how best to store coffee in this sub-tropical, humid country!

In places like Arnhem Land where humidity often sits around 80%, coffee can absorb the moisture from the air and sweat out their natural oils. This leads to moldy beans, clumpy grinds, meaning extraction can be slower and more difficult to regulate, and stale beans! 

But do not fret, there are some ways to store beans in these difficult climates that help keep the beans fresher for longer and slow the staling oxidation process.

  1. Invest in an air vacuum canister (like this one from Delonghi). While 70 bucks may seem like a lot for a container, these are pretty high tech, automatically removing the oxygen from the canister every time you close it.
  2. Store the canister in a cool, dark place like the bottom of a pantry. Keeping the beans in a spot where the temperature remains mostly the same, and prevents any light from hitting the beans, will slow the oxidation process. Keep it away from brewing stations, or stove tops, where steam and heat are close by.
  3. In especially humid places, consider keeping central air conditioning at a stable temperature to reduce the humidity inside the house. So even when you’re opening the canister, the humidity in the air isn’t at 80%. 

And to dispel the common myth about putting coffee in the fridge or freezer, we generally recommend not to. While it’s true that coffee can stay “fresher” longer in a cooler environment (by a factor of 2 when the temp is reduced by 10 degrees F from room temperature). However, when removing it from a cold environment to a warm one, you’ll get condensation and that spoils coffee. So you actually end up causing more harm than good, unless you figure out a way to brew the coffee from inside the fridge!

We would love to know what methods you use to keep your coffee fresh! Leave a comment below if you have any special tricks.

Ryadan Jeavons

by Ryadan Jeavons

Ryd is a passionate coffee educator who started his career in 2000 as a barista. Having seen the coffee industry develop over the years and how much there is to learn about coffee still, his personal mission has become a role as the conduit between the industry and the consumer. He is passionate about educating the public on all the wonderful things we are learning about this golden liquid drink.

9 comments on "Coffee Storage in Humid Climates"

  1. conrad.mercer says:

    Just received my first shipment of beans and I’m wondering if you plan to have a roasting date put on the bags in the future? I’m looking at opening the bags and vacuum packing the beans and it would be great to know in what stage of degassing they’re in before doing this. As a side note it would also be nice to have the confidence that the beans being received have actually been freshly roasted and not roasted months ago and stored.

    1. Ryadan Jeavons says:

      Hi Conrad!
      Yes, good question. We have thought about putting roast dates on the coffee bags. Our coffee is roasted each week on Tuesdays (and extra batches on Thursdays if needed) and they are sent out usually 5-7 days after roasting to allow for a proper degassing process to occur. I’m fascinated that the roasting date has become such a huge focus point for a lot of people. It definitely is important to have fresh coffee, but sometimes too fresh is undrinkable (especially for Espresso based coffees). I recently experimented with different storage methods and was pleasantly surprised when we unpacked a SIX MONTH old coffee and found it produced a great cup. You can see our experiment on Instagram

      1. conrad.mercer says:

        I’ll admit I don’t know very much about coffee and I was going by things that I’d read online regarding loss of oils along with CO2 and the connection of that to flavour and crema. In my reading I had seen that using coffee too early in the degassing process could produce poor espresso but with a lot of crema. 5-7 days after roasting sounds pretty optimal in my limited understanding so kudos 🙂

        6 months after roasting is definitely outside the recommendations that I’ve been reading but in my mind if stored properly I don’t really see how coffee can really lose that much flavour. If vacuum packed then there should be little oxidisation and nowhere for oils to escape except perhaps just into the storage container.

        Appreciate the reply and information 🙂

  2. Coffee beans says:

    Amazing and very interesting article. Thanks so much.

  3. Dave Healey says:

    Do you know if removing all air from a sealed airtight container prolongs the life/quality of coffee beans? I’ve just done so with a Sunbeam vacuum sealer which came with several plastic airtight containers and a tube to connect to the machine.

    The jar is stored in the fridge (not freezer).

    1. Ryadan Jeavons says:

      Yes, Absolutely! If you can remove all the oxygen then it will stop the small oxidisation that will occur.

  4. Dean says:

    It’s usually around 35°C and extremely humid every day and night.
    No central air is available nor practical here.
    I still think in this climate where its extremely hot and humid all the time, the freezer is the only way to keep my expensive coffee fresh.
    The cabinets are very warm inside and actually ruin unopened foods. There’s no cool dark place.

  5. Russell Volz says:

    Ryd, I know some folks that are avid “freezer” fans. I think they’re nuts, but they swear by it. Your point about the frozen beans sucking moisture out of the air as they thaw, makes a lot of sense.

    I can always tell roasted beans that are two or more weeks old. You’re spot on when you say “fresh is best”. So, how long does coffee last? That all depends on how sensitive your pallet is. I just keep mine in a sealed container in the cupboard and purchase new beans every two weeks.

    1. Ryadan Jeavons says:

      Yes you’re absolutely right but it really depends on the way you’re making coffee. If it’s espresso, I think 2 weeks is when the coffee really starts to hit a sweet point but in colder, drier weather it will take longer to Degass, so I prefer it after 3-4weeks.
      If however you drink it as a filter or plunger then 2 weeks is perfect.

      Freezing can only be accomplished in a extremely careful way with the right technique and technology.

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