All great coffee roasters know that the key ingredient to running a successful coffee shop is brewing high-quality coffee. It begins with high-quality beans and continues with sound roasting and good brewing systems. However, the quality controls that lead to a cup-after-cup of delicious coffee begin before roasting. So how long can you store green coffee beans?
What Are Green Coffee Beans?
If you are new to the world of green coffee, we wanted to take a brief moment to get you up to speed. Green coffee, as we mentioned earlier, has become increasingly popular due to the many benefits of the fruit.
The standard brown (or roasted) coffee bean comes from small evergreen trees that bear red fruit called coffee cherries. It is the seed of this fruit that is the coffee bean. When you buy coffee beans, they have been roasted and are ready for brewing. However, green coffee beans have not been roasted and are in their natural state, straight from the cherry.
Coffee beans come from all over the world. As the non-roasted variety has been increasingly in demand, you can find them at most grocery stores and other convenient locations. Green coffee, similar to roasted beans, comes in different flavours and boldness.
Green coffee beans that are mild likely come from South America, while the more citrus and acidic flavours are shipped from African countries like Kenya and Ethiopia. If you are a fan of a robust and bold flavour, Indonesian and Brazilian beans are what you are after.
How Long Do Green Coffee Beans Last?
Green coffee beans can last between 6 and 12 months, depending on how they are stored and the conditions in which they are held. When you compare that to the six weeks roasted beans remain stable or the one to two weeks for ground coffee, it is no wonder more, and more people are switching to the raw form.
That being said, the better you take care of your green coffee beans, the longer they will last.
The amount of moisture your beans are subject to can significantly affect how long they will stay stable. Too much humidity can cause the beans to become too soft, where they can lose a lot of flavours. Even worse, a humid area is prime real estate for mould. Bacteria, other fungi, and moulds can ruin your stash of raw coffee beans. You must check your beans carefully for signs of mould as it can cause serious health risks if ingested. The optimal humidity level is 60%, according to java experts.
Like humidity, the optimal temperature to store your green coffee beans is 60 degrees. This will keep your coffee rich and flavorful without drying it out. A storage pantry is usually the best place as they are dry and cool. Be careful, though. If the location is too dry or cold, it can ruin your beans. Drying them out will cause the flavour to become very bitter. It will also affect the aroma.
Coffee beans used to be shipped in burlap or jute bags, but the possibility of them becoming too humid or dry was genuine. Storing your beans in an airtight jar or container is typically best. However, zip lock bags and other similar containers can work, also. Some recommend the freezer, but as we mentioned, some experts indicate that freezer burn will cause damage along with the drying effects of the coldness. There is also the possibility of condensation as they defrost, which can cause mould. While the jury is out on whether freezing them is a good idea, we suggest that if you are going to do so, only freeze them for short periods and separate them into portion-sized containers.
How Long Do Green Coffee Beans Stay Fresh
Companies market green coffee to last for years. But in reality, you should be roasting and then drinking those beans between 6 to 12 months. Keep them any longer than that, and they will start to expire and lose their overall quality, distinct flavours, and aromas.
Compared to roasted coffee beans, which have around six weeks of optimum freshness, and pre-ground coffee, only a two-week window, raw green coffee beans last longer under the right conditions.
Because green coffee is in a raw state, many unseen variables can affect the freshness before they reach you.
For example, information on how long they have been stored before being shipped and the coffee storage conditions are not always readily available. It’s these unknowns that can make a big difference in their shelf life.
This is why it’s essential to check your green coffee beans for signs of dryness, as this will give you a quick indicator of how long they have been on the shelf.
Ideally, the green coffee should have a greenish hue, and it should be slightly glossy and a little soft.