The #1 Coffee Mistake You're Probably Making

This can make or break the quality of your brew.

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Full disclosure: I’m a recovering coffee snob. I worked in the coffee industry for a few years before switching to food writing, and back then I was a lot more picky about my brewing methods and stuck mostly to making coffee in my Chemex ($48, Amazon). Now, I use my drip brewer almost every day (heck, I’ve even tried—and loved—this coffee flavoring, which I never would’ve been into before). All that to say, I’m not as rigid about coffee-making as I once was. However, there’s one coffee mistake I won’t let anyone I love make (including you, dear reader): storing your beans incorrectly.

If you store your beans in the freezer, please do me a favor and go grind them up and compost them immediately. Your garden and taste buds will thank you. Sorry, that was probably a little too aggressive, but you should *NEVER* put your coffee beans or grounds in the freezer. The National Coffee Association says that coffee is hygroscopic, or “it absorbs moisture—and odors, and tastes—from the air around it.” (Read: The coffee you have sitting in your freezer is picking up notes from your salmon, leftover soup or whatever else you have lurking in there.)

coffee cup
Getty / Mykola Sosiukin / EyeEm

Here’s the thing: Coffee beans are delicate little babies, and their biggest enemies are oxygen, light, heat and moisture. So, keeping them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place is a must if you want a fresh and delicious cup of coffee. I love the Coffee POP Container from OXO because it’s attractive and easy to open with a pop top (but it’s still airtight), and it’s tinted to keep extra light out ($21, For a truly great cup of coffee, keep whole beans in this container and grind them right before brewing. (FYI, this $99 burr grinder from OXO is excellent, and it’s what many coffee experts use in their own homes.)

You don’t have to painstakingly obsess over making the perfect cup of coffee every morning, but if you store your beans correctly you’ll notice such a huge change in the way your brew tastes. And who doesn’t want to start off their morning with a better-tasting cup of coffee?

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