Why It's A Bad Idea To Refrigerate Coffee

For many people, coffee is a big part of their daily lives. Hot or iced, black or flavored, a lot of cups of the caffeinated stuff are consumed each day. According to survey data published in 2020 by the National Coffee Association, 62% of Americans have at least one cup a day. Whether they drink it for the taste or the jolt of caffeine the beverage delivers, that's a lot of people who rely on having fresh coffee at their fingertips.

For those people who don't depend on their local coffee shop to get their daily brew, storage of ground coffee or coffee beans is key to a fast and tasty morning. As the refrigerator is used to keep a lot of things fresh, you might think it's the best place to store your coffee — but is this actually the case? According to the experts at Pact Coffee, you may want to steer clear of the kitchen appliance for one big reason.

When storing coffee, moisture control is key

So what is it about the fridge that makes it such a bad choice for storing coffee? Pact Coffee explains that moisture is not a friend of coffee, but that doesn't stop coffee from loving to absorb it. This moisture can lead to a noticeable drop-off in the flavor and quality of your coffee, so it's best to just find another way to store it.

"But wait, my fridge isn't exactly a humid environment," you may think. Well no, it's not, but there is a simple reason your coffee will become moist when stored this way. Storing your coffee grounds or beans in the fridge will (obviously) cause a change in temperature, resulting in the dreaded condensation. And ultimately what is condensation? Moisture.

How you should store coffee

As for how you should be storing your coffee, the main goal is to keep it away from air, moisture, heat, and light. The National Coffee Association recommends putting the grounds or beans in an air-tight, non-transparent container and storing it at room temperature. 

Pact Coffee says to leave it in the bag you purchased it in, but this is really only true for some companies. Food52 spoke to a representative for Trade, a coffee subscription service, and they stated that coffee bags that come with a release valve are best, as they allow gas to escape while keeping out sunlight and air.

A dark and cool place away from sunny windows and the heat of the stove — like a cabinet — is ideal. As soon as it's roasted, the freshness of coffee begins to decrease, so the NCA recommends buying coffee in small batches that you will be able to use within about two weeks.