A single coffee bean.
Photo: Lucas Zarebinski

The best way to store your coffee beans and keep them fresh depends on how soon you plan to use them. Coffee is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture, odors, and flavors from the surrounding air. In order to retain the fresh roast flavor, it's important to keep coffee beans away from heat, light, air, and moisture.

It's best not to freeze or refrigerate coffee beans you're going to use in the next few weeks because that can expose them to dampness and smells from other foods.

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Instead, store coffee beans in an opaque, airtight container and keep it in a dark, cool location, away from the stove or other heat sources. But for long-term storage, the freezer preserves coffee beans better than the fridge. Ditch the original packaging, instead sealing small portions of the beans in plastic zipper bags to fend off freezer burn. They can stay put for about a month before the quality deteriorates. When you want to use a bag, defrost it and transfer the beans to an airtight container—and don't refreeze them.

To get the most out of your favorite brew, check our ratings of hundreds of drip, single-serve, and cold-brew coffee makers and coffee maker buying guide.

To help you brew the best cup of coffee, check out this top-rated coffee grinder and a high-scoring coffee maker from CR's tests.

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Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the November 2019 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.