Any coffee enthusiast appreciates the deep, sensational aroma of freshly ground coffee. It is easy to see why.
Besides water and tea, coffee is a highly valued beverage.
It is processed from two types of coffee beans, namely Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica is more expensive to cultivate. However, it forms the bigger contribution of coffee produced in the world.
Robusta has more caffeine compared to Arabica and is easier to cultivate.
Coffee originates mainly in Ethiopia, which has both varieties. However, cultivation has spread to other African regions, Latin America and Asia.
Beverage drinking culture is ingrained in many parts of the world. This beverage is used and served in many ways. It also boasts of a myriad of uses and benefits.
- As a beverage. There are numerous ways of consumption: As plain, mixed with milk or cream to make cappuccino, latte or flavored with spices. It also comes in decaffeinated form in which only 3% of caffeine is retained.
- In baking. It is added in cakes, buns, cookies and other types of desserts for a nutty, vibrant taste.
- In cooking. This beverage is used to impart flavor and tenderize meat, hot sauces and as a glaze poured on roasted items.
- It has been used in beauty for centuries. The ground coffee beans are used to make skin exfoliation products, the extract is added on various skin creams, makeup items, lotions and hair products. It promotes hair growth when applied over a long time.
- In gardening. Instead of discarding ground beans, use them as organic fertilizer in your garden. Coffee contains rich minerals. When added on the soil, they enhance the value of soil. The aroma also attracts worms which fertilize the soil further.
- As a natural insect repellent. Did you know that the aroma is too strong for pests and insects? You can use the coffee grounds in an incense burner. The smoke will keep pesky insects and pests at bay.
- As an abrasive for scrubbing utensils. The husky ground coffee is effective for scouring pots and pans to become spotless. You can make a simple scoring pad made from ground coffee. Dry the ground beans and enclose them in a mesh bag.
In line with the uses are the numerous benefits it possesses. Here are a few:
- High levels of antioxidants which protect the body from free radicals. They maintain healthy cells of body organs.
- Contains beneficial minerals like potassium, manganese, magnesium and Vitamin B2 which nourish the brain, skin and aid in proper body functioning.
- Caffeine is a nerve stimulator. That is why coffee is associated with keeping someone awake for a long time. Stimulation also facilitates peak performance by increasing adrenaline levels in the system.
- Caffeine is associated with high fat metabolism. It is effective in weight management and can lead to loss of weight, over a continuous use.
Best Coffee Storage Tips
Coffee does have a shelf life. Its rich aroma starts to dissipate with time, leading to a bland taste.
Brewed coffee has the shortest shelf life compared to beans or ground coffee.
The brewed type is best consumed within a day or refrigerated.
When refrigerated, this variety will keep for a few days, mostly a week. The low temperatures will preserve the aroma and taste.
Alternatively, you can opt to prepare ice cubes and freeze for a longer shelf life. Simply pour cold coffee onto ice cube trays and pop in the freezer to set.
When firmly set, remove and transfer onto airtight freezer bags.
Freeze in small batches so as to be using only what is enough. Coffee ice cubes are great for a refreshing milkshake or smoothie.
Avoid reheating as it destroys flavor and aroma of coffee. It also reduces the potency of caffeine.
The beans generally will last for several years, when properly stored. The ideal storage condition for whole beans is a cool, dry and dark area.
Coffee easily absorbs odors and moisture, hence should be stored away from them. Other major culprits in causing spoilage are sunlight and air.
Avoid storing beans in direct sunlight or exposing the beans to air.
The good thing is that they can be stored in the pantry or freezer.
Unopened packages will last for up to 3 years when frozen. If stored in the pantry, they will keep well for nearly 9 months and still have a rich aroma.
Opened bags will freeze well for up to 2 years. In the pantry, they will have a slightly shorter shelf life and can last 6 months.
This type tends to have a shorter shelf life. You can store ground coffee in the pantry or freezer.
The downside to this type is that it loses its aroma and potency fairly quickly. Grinding interferes with the oils which give coffee its aroma. The oils will dry out during grinding and waste away.
Unopened bags will keep well in the pantry for up to 5 months. If you opt to freeze ground coffee, it will serve you for 2 years.
Ground coffee that has been opened has a shorter shelf life and will keep for a few months only, before losing its aroma.
Among the various types, instant coffee has the longest shelf life due to its dryness. It is made from highly concentrated brewed extracts.
Water is extracted from brewed coffee and the remaining bits form the instant variety. It is considered to contain less caffeine due to the vigorous process of extraction.
This variety can be stored in the pantry or freezer. In order to retain its dryness, use tightly seal-able containers or vacuum sealer to ensure it remains dry.
Unopened sachets or tins of instant coffee will keep for so many years, up to 20 years.
You can also opt to freeze for a more unlimited shelf life.
Opened sachets or cans will also keep for a very long time and can last up to 2 decades.
When storing in the pantry, ensure you keep it away from direct sunlight and moisture.
Tell-Tale Signs of Spoilage
- Astringent taste – Poor storage conditions causes the oils in coffee beans to become rancid. This gives an astringent, sharp taste when consumed. However, this should not be confused with the acidic flavor in certain varieties.
- Loss of aroma – A clear indication of expiration is lack of odor or aroma. This also means that the caffeine level has deteriorated and rendered ineffective.
- Moldy beans – Exposing coffee beans or ground coffee in moist conditions will encourage mold growth. Such coffee should be discarded.
This versatile beverage that has plenty of benefits and uses. Proper storage and usage will prolong its shelf life and potency, thus you will get to enjoy it in its best form.