Coffee is an incredibly popular drink worldwide and is available in lots of different forms. Some people prefer to buy beans that have not been roasted, but how long do green coffee beans last? In this article we will explore the reason for choosing green coffee beans instead of roasted ones, and how that affects the way you store them.
What are Green Coffee Beans?
Usually when you buy coffee beans you will be getting a roasted bean that is ready to be ground and brewed, but if you want to do the roasting yourself then you will, instead, need to purchase green coffee beans. They are the form of the bean that is harvested from the crop, and will be green in color as opposed to the brown color you traditionally associate with coffee.
Buying Green Coffee Beans
By buying green coffee beans you are essentially getting raw coffee, so you should watch out for a few things. You will want the beans to all come from the same place, and ideally be a similar size to each other. They should be a bright color, so avoid any that are uneven or dull. You will also need to ask about how the beans are harvested and whether they are processed immediately after being picked. Failure to do so will result in an unpleasant, fermented drink.
You should also pick them up, run them through your hands, and smell them. If they feel fragile they have been over dried; and if they feel soft they haven’t been dried enough. In both of these cases they are not ideal and you should purchase from a different batch. The smell is also a good clue about how fresh they are, as you will be easily able to determine any smoke damage or fermentation.
What do People use Green Coffee Beans For?
It’s unusual in itself to see green coffee beans, as a lot of the flavor is brought out through the roasting process. Nonetheless people buy green coffee beans for a number of reasons.
The first is that it allows you to roast your beans at home, which gives you much more control over exactly how the final product turns out. Some people simply drink green coffee, so of course green coffee beans are needed for this, but the flavor is very different to normal coffee and isn’t necessarily to everyone’s liking.
There’s also a suggestion that using green coffee bean extract can be helpful to aid weight loss, so people also use them for that. It’s important to note that the weight management advantages of green coffee beans is not proven, so if you are considering using them for these purposes you should spend further time researching whether it will be helpful with your goals.
How Long do Green Coffee Beans Stay Fresh?
The process of roasting a bean causes changes in its structure so it will cause it to start to deteriorate and lose its flavor within about six weeks. Green coffee beans, on the other hand, remains pretty stable for a long period of time. You can, in fact, store it for up to a year without any noticeable changes in quality of the final drink, so storing green coffee beans long term is a far more feasible prospect.
How to Store Green Coffee Beans
As with all food products, green coffee bean shelf life will be affected by the way in which you store them.
If you are planning on using the green coffee beans within a few months of purchase then it will be fine to leave them in the bags you got them in, and leave them on a shelf or in your pantry at room temperature. If you think it will be longer until you use them you should store them in a way that lets them breath to further extend their shelf life.
To do this you could put them in a Ziploc bag, for example, and occasionally open it and give a shake so air passes over them. Another option is to store them in cotton coffee bags and keep them at a temperature lower than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The ideal storage conditions for green coffee beans are a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity of about 60%. A higher humidity than this will encourage mold to grow, and a lower humidity will dry the beans out and result in a dull taste.
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The Final Verdict
For coffee purists, buying green coffee beans can be one of the best ways to get the flavors you want. It allows you to roast them under the conditions you want and be more aware of the quality of bean you are using.
So, how long do green coffee beans last? It can be tough to know, but if you keep them in the right conditions you will find that they retain their flavor for much longer than roasted beans.