Despite what your grandfather told you, keeping coffee in the refrigerator or freezer is a no-no. If you’ve ever heard coffee connoisseurs talk, you may have heard them mention “fruity notes” or “earthiness.” This may be confusing to hear about your morning Joe, but it isn’t inaccurate. Coffee absorbs the flavors around it so it is very common for a coffee to taste fruity, floral or earthy depending on where it originates. If you drink enough quality coffee, you can begin to pick out these flavors and notes (no really, you can) and better appreciate a good cup of coffee. However, if your coffee is stored in your refrigerator, you may get notes of last night’s fajitas or hints of the leftover pizza that’s been sitting there for weeks, instead of the coffee-like flavors you’re used to and enjoy. (Editor’s note: if that’s the case, you should read You vs. Refrigerator)
Even if you store your coffee in an airtight container before you put it in your fridge or freezer, damage is still being done. You may have heard your coffee-lover friends bring up broader coffee terms like body, aroma and acidity. This is what makes up the flavor of your coffee. Refrigerating or freezing your coffee creates condensation which breaks down the oils in the coffee, destroying these characteristics and ruining the flavor.
How should you store your coffee? The best way is to keep it in an airtight container, out of the sunlight and not in your refrigerator or freezer. This will keep your coffee tasting fresh and flavorful for a longer time. Extra tip: It is preferable to keep the coffee in whole-bean form until the time of brewing, but we realize this may not be possible for everyone.
Keep in mind that if your refrigerator’s water filter hasn’t been changed in a while, it could leave your water tasting funky. Funky water equals funky coffee, no matter how it was stored. Replace your water filter every six months.
Has this post left you nervous about how your refrigerator smells? What musty, old odors are being absorbed by the other, non-coffee (because you’ve taken it out by now, right?) items in your fridge? Luckily, there are easy solutions for that problem. Keep a box of baking soda in the corner of both the refrigerator and the freezer to eliminate odors. Alternatively, you can use a deodorizer designed specifically for use in refrigerators and freezers. These products will absorb exceptionally strong food gases.