Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Coffee Storage - things you didn't know...

So I went to my Nonna's house the other day and I desperately needed my espresso fix, so naturally I went into her cupboard to grab a cup and the coffee and to my surprise the coffee wasn't there.  I searched every single cupboard and drawer and couldn't find it.  Finally, my Nonna said "Bella, what are you looking for?" I told her "the espresso, Nonna, where is it?" She turned to me and chuckled, like I don't know my way around a kitchen and said "Oh Bella, its in the freezer!".



Needless to say, I made the espresso and it tasted like "Cukata".  So gross.
Then began the freezer invasion.  I went to all of my aunt and uncles house to find their espresso and low and behold - freezer or fridge every single time!!!!  Why is it that every Italian - who should KNOW everything about Espresso - continuously does it wrong?!!??
They wrapped up the espresso bag with an elastic and shoved it in the fridge next to last nights dinner.  I was wondering why there was a sauce-y taste to it!
I decided to show them all what an espresso should taste like and brought them grounds in an air tight stainless steel container NOT to be put in the fridge.  Being their little niece, they didn't believe me.  Oh how I love a challenge. 
Lets just say, I ran out of containers.

I would like to share my knowledge of espresso/coffee keeping fresh with the world - bad coffee be gone!  Ok, so here is my list of do's and don'ts... please, if there is only 1 thing you do on this list let it be NEVER EVER FREEZE YOUR BEANS!!! (that sounds pretty funny).


  • Never, never, never freeze your beans, especially if they are already ground.

  • And here is why...
    • Coffee is very porous. This is only good for those who like flavoured coffee because the beans absorb all of the surround aromas - chocolate, caramel, fish, peas - you know the things in your fridge or freezer?  The coffee can even absorb other things like the moisture that your freezer produces therefore turning the taste of your coffee into tasting like your drinking freezer water.  yum.
    • You are actually removing the flavour of the coffee.  When you roast coffee, the beans release oils and aromas to give the espresso its distinct flavour and when you freeze the coffee (beans or grounds) you are actually breaking down the oils and removing the flavour.  SO not what you think you are intending on doing.
    Lets think about this for a minute.  If coffee tasted better and was fresher from the freezer, then wouldn't you buy it from the frozen food section at the grocery store?
    • Never, never NEVER keep coffee in the fridge.  Unless you want to find out how fast it takes to ruin a perfectly good coffee -then go for it, but your breaking my heart. 
    • Buy whole beans and keep them whole as long as you can.  Grinding only when you need them.
    Here is why...
    You wouldn't open a bag of chips 2 weeks before your going to eat them right?  or worse, cut a loaf of bread a few days before your guests come?  Ya, I didn't think so.  It would become stale and dry - the same deal goes for coffee.  Grinding the beans all at once breaks them up and exposes the beans to air this makes the coffee go stale a heck of a lot faster, regardless of how you store it.
    • Store your beans in an air tight dark container away from any light or humidity.  So that means, not on top of your machine, not near the stove and most definitely not in the fridge or freezer!
    • When you are shopping for your beans, look for valve-sealed bags, NOT vacuum sealed bags.
    I hope my little rant on keeping your coffee tasting as best as possible works for you.  I am only looking out for your best interest!  I don't want your guests to see a beautiful espresso machine and think they are going to get an amazing cup of coffee and be disappointed in you.  You can be a Barista in your own home by following the few tips I provided to you.

    If you check out our website we have our own brand of Espresso Beans roasted fresh WEEKLY that are valve sealed.  www.EspressoBella.ca (click Shop Online).  They are called Espresso Bella VentiSei and are scrumptious!!!