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Coffee BeansThere are so many elements to creating that perfect cup of coffee. Everything from bean selection to roasting, storage to preparation, each stage as crucial as the last and each stage significantly impacting the flavor of that final cup. I am a coffee junky, but have very little during my pregnancies. OK, I had none with my first, a bit with my second and now, expecting our third, I cheat more often than I should! Anyway, this isn't about my guilty relationship with coffee but my quest for the perfect cup. If I'm only allowing myself one cup a day then I want to enjoy it. I have a favorite company and have found my perfect roast, but still find that the quality of the cup varies depending on how I've stored the beans.

What better authority on the issue than The National Coffee Association of the USA. According to them, you need to keep the beans away from air, moisture, heat and light - in that order. If you think your beans look great in that decorative glass dish, you're just putting stale beans on display. Find a cool, dark place and you'll maximize their freshness. I always thought that keeping beans in the freezer would help them last longer. This is apparently wrong. The added moisture will only deteriorate them faster. I've also stored fresh beans in the mug cupboard which is right beside our stove, this is far too warm. They also suggest only buying 1-2 weeks worth at a time.

A quality bean, kept fresh, and ground to order will get you the best cup of coffee. In September, I wrote about some other tips to making a great cup of coffee. You'll find some pointers there about grind size, drip and filter choice. If you're savoring that single cup or drinking it all day long, you deserve a good cup of coffee. Enjoy.


  • Tim Lewallen

    I also drink only a single cup in the morning. I use a vacuum canister from Sharper Image that works better than anything I have used before. I highly recommend it.

  • Dave

    The freezer really is the best place to avoid deterioration from heat, and light --- you can get around the problem of condensation simply by separating out your beans into airtight packages sized for single use. When I find some good fresh beans for sale, I buy about two pounds, then rush home and split the beans out into 1/2 cup batches tightly wrapped in celophane. I put half of these packages into a ziploc which goes into the back of the freezer, and I put the other half into a ziploc which goes into the freezer door. When I want coffee, I just open the ziploc in the door and snatch one package of beans out. Close the ziploc, close the freezer, and none of the beans in the remaining packages will ever encounter air or condensation.

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