Coffee storage – In the long process of coffee production until it reaches the consumer, there are several risky stages that must be passed, and one of them is namely the transit and storage stages. Before reaching the roaster’s hands, the coffee beans need to be stored properly before it starts its distribution phase. Storage plays an important role to protect the beans from potential damages of contamination..
Coffee green beans are very susceptible to contamination damage if not stored properly. Coffee beans / green beans are very porous and easily absorb nearby flavors and aromas, which means it is very important to be careful in storing the coffee beans.
This task is to be taken into account by both producers, buyers and roasters. To get quality coffee, of course, it starts with quality coffee beans. Manufacturers, buyers and roasters should not ignore factors such as humidity, light and temperature. Coffee, whether in the form of beans or coffee grounds, is a sensitive item. Storing coffee beans in the wrong place and in the wrong way will change their original taste and freshness.
Changes in quality and freshness will certainly change the taste of the cup, which is why it’s important to know more about how to store your coffee beans! Let’s start the guideline!
Why Coffee Storage is Important?
As mentioned before, coffee needs to be stored before send them to roastery or factory. After the coffee is dried, it is time to bag and store it. While producers can choose to use standard burlap bags, there are risks of contamination. If you store your green beans in the right way, it will result in a good quality of coffee. That is why coffee storage is important. Here’s what might happen if you do not storage your coffee beans correctly:
Quoted from perfectdailygrind.com, it is said that during the storing or transporting coffee beans, there is always a risk of contamination occurring. Whether it’s through oxygen, humidity, or a variety of other sources, improper storage and packaging can lead to contamination of coffee beans. Contamination will cause a decrease in the quality of the coffee beans, or at worst it might become unsafe for consumption.
So, what is contamination?
Stephane Cuchet, co-owner of Soluagro, a company that provides packaging solutions for agribusiness in Guatemala, said in his interview with perfectdailygrind.com that contamination in coffee means referring to all external factors that might negatively affect coffee. There are several types of contamination from external factors, namely:
Type of Contamination – Mold on Coffee Beans
Mold are caused by fungi such as Aspergillus and Penicillium. It occurs naturally in food products that are not stored properly, often in humid environments. When mold grows on coffee, it has a distinctive odor which can easily be confirmed by examining the beans for mold contamination.
Type of Contamination – Animal
Contamination by animals is one of the problems with storing coffee beans. While this contamination is highly dependent on storage, rat urine can be especially problematic if the coffee is not stored properly, as unwanted odors can be absorbed by the coffee beans, especially green beans.
Type of Contamination – Oil Products
Oil products brings a significant contamination risk for coffee beans, as absorption of inedible or industrial oils can be very harmful to consumers. Quoted from perfectdailygrinds.com, it is stated that oil products in the vicinity of coffee bean storage are very dangerous if the coffee beans are not stored properly. In addition, the smell, gas, or smoke emitted by oil products can also be absorbed.
Type of Contamination – Chemical
Just like petroleum products, if the placement of the chemicals is near the coffee, the chemicals can contaminate the existing coffee beans. In addition, what needs to be paid attention to is related to chemical contamination of coffee beans, namely hydrocarbon contamination which is usually caused by gunny sacks used to store coffee beans.
Type of Contamination – Oxygen and Cup Quality
Technically, oxygen is also considered as a contaminant. From perfectdailygrind.com, it is mentioned that several studies have shown that the exposure to oxygen causes oxidation, which can affect the taste of coffee and ultimately reduce cup quality.
Factors to Consider in Coffee Storage
There are several factors that can affect the storage stage of coffee, the following factors need to be considered when storing green beans:
Pay Attention to Moisture Content
Coffee beans that are too wet can get moldy, while coffee beans that are too dry can lose their flavor and aroma. According to the International Coffee Organization (ICO), stored coffee beans must have a moisture level of around 11-12.5%. However, some roasters and manufacturers prefer to dry their beans to 10 or 10.5%.
Regardless of the right level of humidity, it is important that they do not change during storage. This means that you need to control the storage temperature and oxygen level of the coffee bags.
Pay Attention to Storage Temperature
When it comes to temperature, anything that is too hot or too cold can affect the humidity level. So it is very important to ensure a stable temperature when storing coffee beans. Then what is the ideal temperature for storing coffee beans? According to Sweet Maria’s quoted from perfecdailygrind.com, it recommends coffee beans to be stored at “room temperature”, which is usually between 20 and 25ºC.
Pay Attention to Light Levels
After the coffee beans are finished drying, keep them out of direct sunlight to avoid aging. Coffee beans must stay fresh for up to twelve months, or longer with multi-layer and / or airtight packaging. However, if kept under bright light, the flavors and aromas start to fade earlier than expected.
Pay Attention to Pests on Coffee Beans
Pests in coffee bean bags can eat the packaging, make holes, or sometimes even damage the coffee beans themselves. With the use of traditional cloth bags (such as gunny sacks), this can be a concern; some manufacturers choose to use pesticides to prevent the problem. So it is important to control pests on coffee beans in coffee bean storage.
Pay Attention to Time
Quoting from ictcoffee.com, it is said that lengthy storage times can lead to a qualitative and quantitative decline in the beans. The good news is that you can store green coffee up to twelve months without losing important flavor and aroma qualities – as long as you store it in a stable, cool, dark, and pest-free environment.
If your coffee beans have come from Central or South America, Indonesia, or India, they will be 3 to 4 months old by the time you get them. If your beans originate in an African country, they can be 8 to 12 months old already by the time you get them. Make sure you factor these timeframes into your storage plans.
Coffee Storage and Packaging Options
Well, in order to keep the quality of green beans coffee we need to find the right storage method. The storage need to water-resistant and designed to keep out smells, moisture, and insects. The appeal of burlap or jute sacks of coffee beans is partly due to the low cost and environmentally-friendly nature of these materials. The other side of the argument is that neither the producers nor the roasters can afford to lose a shipment to pest, heat, or humidity damage.
Quoted from ictcoffee.com, it is said that there are packaging companies that are creating containers with many layers of high barrier plastic that help keep the storage environment stable. When thinking about the best storage options for your unroasted coffee beans, think about them like other fresh plant products. The flavor and quality of all fresh plant products are affected by light, heat, air, moisture, time and pests.
CV. Buah Berdikari is an active coffee trading and exporting company that is based in North Sumatera, Indonesia. Our domain of expertise lays on sourcing Arabica green beans from North Sumatera and Aceh origins. We will help you finding the perfect fits for your coffee needs.