Properly storing your green coffee beans will ensure that their flavor and aroma stick around for a long time. If you don’t store them properly, they can not only lose that flavor and aroma but also develop problems like mold. Since nobody wants that, we must ask the question, how do you store green coffee beans?
Green coffee beans should be stored at room temperature in a dark sealed container. There should be at least 10% humidity to ensure that they don’t lose their aroma and flavor. There are a number of different methods to do this, ranging from vacuum sealing them to freezing them.
If you need to store green coffee beans but you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In our guide below we will break down the factors that lead to coffee beans degrading faster and give you our recommendations on how you can store them both short-term and long-term.
Do Green Coffee Beans Go Bad?
If they are unroasted and not stored ideally, green coffee beans can go bad in a matter of months. Still, with the right precautions, they can last for years. That’s why how you store them is so important.
How Long Can Green Coffee Beans Last
So how long do green coffee beans last anyway? Well, like with everything about these beans, it depends.
Generally, it is asserted that green coffee beans can last around two years. Still, there are methods of storing them that can expand their lifetime all the way up to 20 years. See our section on long-term storage to find out what the best storage option is.
What Factors Determine How Long Green Coffee Beans Last?
There are several factors you need to consider when thinking about storing your green coffee beans. Each of these must be accounted for to ensure that your beans don’t lose as much flavor and remain usable, even after years..
The following factors must be taken into account when deciding how you will store your green coffee beans:
Oxygen Exposure Effect On Green Coffee Beans
Too much oxygen exposure can cause coffee beans to lose their flavor and aroma over time. Whatever you decide to keep them in, therefore, should be sealed tight. This holds true even for shorter-term storage like weeks or months.
This is one of the primary reasons why green coffee beans should be kept in an airtight container. Whether it’s a mason jar you’re using, a freezer-lock bag or a mylar bag, making sure it is airtight will buy you a lot of time.
Moisture Effect On Green Coffee Beans
There should be a certain level of moisture from humidity to keep the beans from losing their flavor. Still, too much moisture will lead to mold. Avoid storing them in places where it's possible for a lot of moisture to get through.
This is another reason why it's important that whatever container they are put in should be sealed. Preferably air tight or vacuum sealed if you’re going to be storing them for a long period of time.
Light Effect On Green Coffee Beans
Believe it or not, too much light can actually cause your green coffee beans to lose their flavor. Light can actually have an effect where it prematurely ages the beans themselves. This is the reason why they tend to lose flavor if they are kept in a bright environment.
It is best to keep them in a darker environment so that the flavor and aroma are still there when you go to use or sell them. That doesn’t mean they have to be locked away in a dark closet. Just that, at the very least, they are kept in a dark container. If they’re not… Well, then you do indeed need to keep them in a place like a dark closet. One that is cool and dry, of course.
Storage Temperature and Humidity’s Effect On Green Coffee Beans
Green coffee beans thrive at room temperature. Still, they need about 10.5% moisture to retain their flavor so a little bit of humidity isn’t a huge problem.
That said, if you’re keeping them in a place that is noticeably humid to you, then it is too much. The moisture, along with the oxygen it brings, can build up and cause your beans to lose their flavor and aroma. In severe circumstances this can even lead to a build up of mold. Since nobody wants that, just make sure you keep them out of humid places.
Potential Pest Problems Effect on Green Coffee Beans
One more thing you may want to keep in mind is pests. Insects, weevils, and even mice can come after your beans if you aren’t careful. In our section on how to store coffee beans long-term, we will break down how to get around this in more detail.
How Do You Store Green Coffee Beans Short-Term?
If you’re only storing your green coffee beans for a short period of time, you’ve got a lot more wiggle room in how you go about doing it. As long as you keep them in a bag in your kitchen cupboard, they should be fine. This, of course, assumes that the temperature in your house is around 68 to 77°F (room temperature).
Another option is to place them in your refrigerator. Though not ideal for long-term storage, your good old fridge will be great at keeping the beans fresh, flavorful, and aromatic for the short-term.
These methods should keep them good for several weeks to months. If you need to store your beans for longer than a month, however, you should try one of the methods we go over in our long-term section.
How Do You Store Green Coffee Beans Long-Term?
If you’re looking to store your beans long-term, you have several options at your disposal. You could do anything from vacuum sealing them in a mylar bag, to keeping them in a freezer (also in a ziplock container).
Below we’ve outlined some of the best ways to store green coffee beans along with their advantages and disadvantages:
Storing Green Coffee Beans in a Burlap Sack
One of the most popular ways to store green coffee beans is in a burlap sack. You put the beans in the sack, ensure it is sealed and then store it in a cool dry place. Preferably one that is dark.
The biggest advantage of using a burlap sack is convenience. They aren’t as expensive as some of the other options on our list and they are readily available.
There are a couple of downsides, however. The biggest being that a burlap sack is not air-sealed. If you’re not storing them for an extremely long time, this won’t be a big deal. That said, if you’re looking for years of use, that definitely will become a problem.
The other major downside is that pests can get into a burlap sack pretty easily. If you go with this option, you’ll therefore want to make sure that you keep it in a place that isn’t likely to have an infestation. The last thing you want is to find that a rat or a mouse chewed its way into the bag.
Storing Green Coffee Beans in Airtight Containers
Airtight containers like mason jars are another great option for storing your green coffee beans. They are easy to use, readily available, and cheap to buy.
The only major downsides here is that some air does get into them, and they are usually clear and vulnerable to the light. To be safe, just keep them in one of your kitchen cabinets or cupboards. If you want to, you can look for ones that aren’t see-through or paint the ones you have. Just make sure the paint is on the outside.
Storing Green Coffee Beans in a Mylar Bag
Using vacuum sealed mylar bags has become one of the most popular methods of storing coffee beans for good reason. They really cover almost all of your bases. They block out light, air, and moisture all at once. In fact, mylar bags are known to keep coffee beans good for up to twenty years. Talk about long-term storage.
The only real downside here is a practical one, in that they can be kind of pricey. Still, what you get should keep your beans fresh as they can be as long as you keep the bag itself in a cool dry place.
Storing Green Coffee Beans in the Freezer
There is also always the option of freezing your beans. You can place them in the freezer after putting them in vacuum-sealed freezer bags.
The big problem here is that too much moisture can easily get in the bag and shorten the amount of time you can store them. Still, if you just have a lot of beans for personal use, it’s convenient to be able to take a bag’s worth out of the freezer once a week and be ready to go.
Which is the Best Way to Store Green Coffee Beans?
So, out of all the methods we listed above, which is the best way to store green coffee beans? Which one leads to the beans lasting the longest?
The overall most effective way to store green coffee beans is to keep them in mylar bags. Mylar bags cover all the bases you need. They block out light, air, moisture, and even some heat.
That said, they are also probably the most expensive option as well. The others options are all solid as well and will be sufficient for the amount of time most people try to store their beans.
Do Green Coffee Beans Last as Long as Roasted?
If you’re looking for long-term storage, your best option is to go with green coffee beans, as they can last far longer than roasted ones.
Roasted coffee beans only last around 3 months (assuming you didn’t do special storage), whereas green coffee beans will last 24 months.
Of course, just like with green coffee beans, there are alternative forms of storage that can expand roasted beans’ lifespan quite a bit. In fact, all of the methods we listed for storing green coffee beans will work just fine with roasted ones as well.
Which is Better: Green Coffee Beans or Roasted Coffee Beans?
This is a largely subjective question but it's worth asking. At the end of the day, it depends on what your needs are. Still, there is a strong case to be made for green coffee beans. That’s why below we have listed out all the aspects of green coffee beans that potentially make them better than roasted ones:
- They last longer: You can get more than double the lifespan out of green coffee beans than you can out of roasted ones. Since you’re looking up storage options, this is probably something you want to keep in mind.
- They have less odor: The smell of coffee is great, but sometimes it can be a bit much when you’re storing a large number of beans. Green coffee beans don’t have the sharp odor (or fragrance depending on your point of view) that
- They can be roasted anytime you want: Green coffee beans can become roasted beans if you, well, roast them, however, the same can’t happen in reverse. This might just make them better by default.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide which is better for your purposes. Still, since you got here by searching for storage options, we’re going to go ahead and recommend you go with green coffee beans.
So Really, How Do You Store Green Coffee Beans?
The bottom line is you can store green coffee beans in a number of different ways. You can keep them in an airtight container, seal them in a mylar bag or even put them in the freezer in freezer-locked bags.
Whichever way you decide to do it yourself, your beans should last far longer and have a better flavor and aroma than they would otherwise. Now the only question left to ask is how will you store your own green coffee beans?