Coffee can supremely confusing. It is the seed of a fruit that grows off an exceptionally finicky plant, which itself roots in hard-to-access parts of the world. Once the seed is obtained, it’s bagged and freighted thousands of miles to a roaster cooks it using a combination of math and feel. Then it is ground and brewed into coffee, both tasks that require a cupboard’s worth of gear.
The reality is that this gear controls very few of the variables that determine the quality of this coffee. Three things to keep in mind: your grinder and grind level, the brewing style and when it is you brew that seed into something drinkable. The latter is easiest to gloss over, and, according to Peter Giuliano, research director at the Specialty Coffee Association, perhaps the most misunderstood.
“There isn’t a perfect, catch-all way to describe how long coffee is going to be good for, really, because there are far too many variables to consider. But we do know the primary causes of coffee going stale,” Giuliano said. Here’s what you need to know about keeping coffee fresher for longer, according to experts.