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Packaging methods are paramount to the life of coffee.
Both the storage material and the packaging process are essential to the preservation of taste and freshness. Commercial coffee roasters are at the forefront of preserving roasted and ground coffee because it is an essential part of their business.
First, we need to understand how coffee acts in a sealed environment. When coffee is roasted, and especially when it is ground, large quantities of CO2 are created. Freshly roasted & ground coffee placed in a ziplock bag will fill with gas until the bag eventually pops. In the past, coffee had to go stale before it was packaged in cans.
The advent of valve packaging, a small one-way hole in the bags, allowed fresh ground coffee to be packed off. Around this time, we also learned that coffee and oxygen are enemies. Like many foods, it was discovered that removing the air (which is 20.95% oxygen) and replacing it with pure nitrogen would extend the fresh flavor for months without any negative impact – easier said than done.
Depending on the package, we use a combination of vacuums to remove air, and compressed Nitrogen lines to insert the inert gas as its filled with the coffee. Having these opposing pressure forces and filling machines work together is complex to the point that our filling machines look like they should be minting coins, not filling bags. This is all in the pursuit of creating coffees that taste as good on day one hundred as they do on day one.
Never store coffee in the freezer! Freezing coffee causes it to go stale. Coffee should be stored in an airtight container, preferably designed especially for coffee, like an Air Scape. It should be kept in a cool, dark place away from anything too fragrant because coffee absorbs scents and nobody wants garlic coffee, so keep it out of the spice cabinet.