Why You Should Rethink Buying Large Bags Of Coffee Beans

Card-carrying coffee connoisseurs know to purchase whole coffee beans, not ground. But word to the wise: You can up your at-home barista game by taking a pass on large bags of bulk beans. According to the National Coffee Association, air, moisture, heat, and light are the biggest threats to your beans. And while your coffee won't exactly "expire" in a way that impacts your safety unless they develop mold, their quality will go down the longer they sit around.

After you open your bag of beans, you can expect them to stay fresh for about two weeks. After that, the flavor starts to deteriorate, and some of the more nuanced notes that convinced you to select that roast in the first place might get lost. Did you choose those Brazilian-origin beans because you like bright orange and light cocoa flavors? That's great, but now the bag has sat open for too long and it just tastes like generic uninspired coffee. Opting for a smaller bag keeps those beans fresher longer. Even if a larger manufacturer like Dunkin' is totally your style and bulk bags are readily available, pick up a small bag instead to ensure those beans will still be fresh by the time you reach the bottom.

When freshness counts, go for smaller bags of coffee beans

Buying beans in bulk may help cut down on cost, but it also cuts into quality, which comes on as a delayed effect. You might not notice it now, but it will certainly become apparent in a few weeks when the beans at the bottom of the bag taste, well, less than great. Instead, try purchasing just enough beans to get you through a week or two at a time.

Opting for smaller bags also frees you up to experiment with other coffee blends and flavors, and try out different small-batch coffee roasters. This makes for a great opportunity to shop local and patronize independent businesses. Take yourself on a prolonged coffee tour of your town, and support your community one small bag at a time.

To help prolong freshness and keep the flavor intact, store your small bags of beans in a cool, dark place like the pantry — not the fridge or (gasp) the freezer. Also, that cute brown paper bag you got from the roaster might be aesthetically pleasing, but it isn't designed for long-term storage. Transfer your beans to an opaque, airtight container to keep out light and air. Also be sure to keep your beans away from any nearby heat sources, like a stovetop or electric kettle.