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Keep coffee out of the fridge to avoid it smelling like meat and dairy, experts say

Helena Horton
·3-min read
Coffee fans often keep it in the fridge to keep it fresh - REUTERS 
Coffee fans often keep it in the fridge to keep it fresh - REUTERS

Many coffee lovers store their favourite brew in the fridge to keep it fresh, after enjoying their morning cup.

However, experts have said that they could be inadvertently ruining the taste, making it smell like dairy or fish, by storing it incorrectly.

Despite supermarkets advising consumers to store their fresh ground coffee in a fridge or even the freezer once opened.

Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Asda, Marks & Spencer and Ocado are among those who advise shoppers to keep ground coffee in a fridge or freezer once opened.

However, Tesco, Waitrose and Harrods advise coffee lovers to store ground coffee and beans in a cool, dry place, such as a cupboard.

Experts say one of coffee's main abilities is to absorb aroma and flavour as well as give it off, and fridges usually contain foods such as fish, meat and cheese which will taint the aroma of ground coffee.

Nic Jobe, of Monmouth Coffee House, said: "The one thing you should never do is keep ground coffee in the fridge or the freezer, as the grounds absorb all the moisture and scent from other foodstuffs stored there."

Food and drink taster Martin Isark, founder of the Can I Eat It website, said: "So much coffee is spoiled by poor storage which makes the coffee producers want to weep.

"Growers and roasters want their coffee drinkers to experience the heady aromas and flavours that they enjoy.

"A coffee bean is natural product and like wine it will deteriorate if stored wrongly."

He said the best way to drink coffee is within a few hours of the beans being roasted and ground.

Paul Rooke, of the British Coffee Association, said: "To enjoy the fullest aroma and flavour of fresh coffee you should be looking to use within two to three weeks of first opening.

"Coffee like many food and drink products when exposed to air will bring about deterioration process. Like many products when it comes to storage, cool and dry are the key words: The ideal storage is an inert airtight container stored in a cool place."

Birkenhead-based coffee specialists Adams and Russell advise: "Coffee is packed full of delicate oils, aromas and flavour molecules which are all safely stored away inside the bean. Once they are roasted, they start to come to the surface and some of the aromas and oils are released.

"Once they are ground, the surface area becomes much larger and even more of the oils and aromas are exposed to the air. Therefore, ground coffee goes stale much quicker than whole beans.

"Fresh coffee should be stored in an airtight container in a cool dark place. A kilner jar in the back of your cupboard is a good idea for fresh ground coffee or beans."

Speaking to US consumer site Real Simple, Starbucks coffee taster Scott McMartin said: "The best way to keep ground coffee or whole beans fresh is to store the coffee on a pantry shelf in an opaque airtight container away from light, heat, and moisture.

"If you don't have a canister, close the top of the bag with a rubber band, then put the bag in a resealable plastic bag."

UK website Barista Del Caffe said: "The most effective way of storing ground coffee is in an airtight container or vacuum sealed bags because they do not allow the air in.

"Large quantities of ground coffee should be stored in a large canister for everyday use to reduce exposure to light and air for a prolonged supply of fresh coffee."

But it added: "Refrigeration can also be used to store particular coffee profiles if done the right way. For example, coffee experts use it during the extraction process to produce a richer and thicker body of the espresso type."

Even the best coffee wrapping allows the aroma to leak away once it is opened.

Once a packet is opened the deterioration in aroma and flavour is much more pronounced.