Storage? In bag and once opened?


New member
Apr 5, 2008
Hey folks,
I typically buy 1, 1lb bag of coffee every 3-4 weeks. Once opened, I pour the beans into an air tight container that stays in the pantry (away from light). I will ocassionally buy 2 bags at a time and leave one unopened until I've used the other. I have been thinking about ordering some beans online, but to save on shipping, I'd want to order 3-5 bags at one time and only open one bag at a time... In order for this to work though, I'd have to know that the, say, 5th bag would still be good even when it had been 3 months since it had been ordered.

My question is how long should I expect a bag of beans (unopened) to stay fresh? And, how long are the beans still "good", once they've been opened and they are stored in an air tight container?

If you have any other storage tips or suggestions I'd appreciate those as well.



New member
Mar 15, 2008
Storage? In bag and once opened?

6 months ago I bought a Reynolds Handi-Vac (a small, battery operated vacuum pump), it came with some freezer bags with a small button similar to what you find on coffee bags. I not only use it for freezing meat but it will also turn a one pound bag of coffee into a rock hard vacuum packed bag of coffee. After I remove all the air from the coffee bag I check the next day to make sure the vacuum has held, if not I put the coffee in one of the freezer bags. Since I usually buy coffee in 40 oz. bags I can open a bag, pour half into an air tight container and put the rest in one of the Reynolds vacuum bags.
I don't know how long it will keep coffee fresh but it's got to be better than the coffee sitting in a bag with air in it. I have a one pound bag of coffee that I " VACed" in January, it's still rock hard and I assume it will be fresh when I open it!

Hope this helps!

Guatemalan Select

New member
Apr 9, 2008
air tight?

Hey Comet, artgecko

I do quite a bit of vacuuming. I recently talked to my coffee supplier here in Guatemala about the vacuum package my coffee comes in. He told me if the seal stays air tight it should keep the coffee for 2 years max.

Good Luck



Super Moderator
Feb 16, 2007
Clemmons, NC
home roasting

If you roasted your own coffee at home the green beans stay fresh for about 2 years and when you roast just enough for a week they will be fresh. It's a fun hobby and also might be slightly cheaper than roasted beans.


New member
Oct 18, 2006
Old England (UK)

The sad thing is, that often the roasted date is not on the coffee....if there is a date it might be the "packed" date. I know of practices where coffee can be packed into large bags that are then re-opened and repacked into smaller bags when people make smaller orders.

1. Your coffee might be stale long before it reaches you

2. The best flavours are gone within a few weeks as coffee begins a gradual deterioration around 1 week after roasting, this accelerates after a few weeks

3, Vacuum packing is good and will slow this down, but unless it's coffee you roast yourself, it's "shutting the stable door, after the horse has bolted"

With the small and infrequent amounts of coffee and the sheer cost of mail order, unless you order a lot, I would second the recommendation to home roast. It's not very hard and you will probably get much better coffee than you are enjoying at the moment.

My personal beliefs are that staling is a much faster process than people think, Oxygen being very very damaging to coffee and this damage can happen so fast....the phenomenon that roasters know as "degassing" I also feel is an incorrect term for a process that has not been fully explored. There is a lot of talk about chemical changes during roasting, but very little about what exactly happens post roast. Because of this, roasted coffee often is well past it's prime unless you get it really fresh.
You know, DaveC has brought up some good and valid points here. In March 2008, the Consumer Magazine in N.Z (the watchdog of sorts for consumers buying goods and services in New Zealand) ran an interesting article on espresso (blends, machines and grinders). The Espresso blend section was a very interesting read. The New Zealand Roasters Association has stated that coffee is best drunk within 10 days of roasting (not packing). However out of the 10 blends tested only 1 had a roasted on date- all had best before dates but some, even well recognised NZ brands, were 3-6 months after roasting.

The US based roasters will know better than me- what do you guys do for roast and useby/best before dates in the States? Are there some SCAA prescribed standards that you adhere too or is the issue of freshness totally at the discretion of the individual roaster?

Would be interesting to know... here 1 local roaster (not me!!!!) puts a 4 year shelf life on coffee they roast, and pack into containers with no valves after degassing for goodness knows how long :roll:


New member
Oct 18, 2006
Old England (UK)
I did a little commercial roasting on my little Toper, just to cover costs. I used to upset the people I supplied to because I would put a roasted on date and a best before date of 4 weeks from the roasted date. They complained that if they didn't sell all the coffee, then they would have to discount it after 4 weeks etc...

So I grudgingly moved the best before date to 6 weeks from roasting, but refused to put it at 3 months, which is what they wanted.....they just didn't really get it, However, they usually had sold out of a coffee delivery before it had even arrived and any coffee I sent them rarely stayed on the shelf more than 6 or 7 who was right!

Of course it's unlikely that their customers had never had truly fresh coffee, or had to be warned in many cases to leave the coffee a few more days before drinking it :-D.

There need to be a lot of changes, but roasted on date is the most important and i think the SCAA and SCAE should have a kite-mark type scheme for roasters, that specify a roasted on date and a best before date no more than 6 weeks after roasting. Coffee would then earn a "treated to exceptional standards" certification, assuming it was also handled and packed properly..

And packing.....don't get me started about packing. I was well hacked off to see commercial roasters storing the stuff in open bins for DAYS before packing.

I won't even touch on water quenching...... :shock:

P.S. Sometimes over here peole gave had coffee from on line retailers and shown me the roast date (a couple of days ago so only 2 days old), extracted the coffee in an Espresso machine and it had absolutely nil crema. They say to me do you think that's fresh? ....hmm :lol: