There are two primary considerations when it comes to storing green coffee:
- The temperature at which the beans are stored
- The level of exposure they have to the air
Fortunately, over the past decade, it has become almost universal practice for specialty coffee to be shipped in laminated plastic bag liners such as GrainPro. As a consequence, beans’ exposures to oxygen, humidity, and odorants are much less of a concern for roasters than they once were. We strongly recommend that you store all of your green coffee hermetically sealed in the bag liner up until it is needed for roasting.
Maintaining a stable temperature for your green beans during storage remains a challenge for many roasteries. As a general rule, colder is better for green coffee storage in order to prevent the premature ageing of your beans as well as the formation of condensation inside the bag liner. Scott Rao recommends storing your entire raw coffee inventory in a climate-controlled environment. If your facility doesn’t allow for your entire inventory to be stored under a single roof or if the ambient conditions of your roasting area vary greatly between night and day or summer and winter, it may be necessary to create a staging room in which to store the coffee. Coffee can remain in this ‘microclimate’ up until the day it is roasted. As Scott points out,
‘The key with all your coffees is to ensure the green coffee is at a constant temperature inside and out before it is roasted.’
Some roasters go as far as freezing their coffee beans. According to George Howell — a roaster with over 20 years of experience with the practice — freezing green coffee can prolong its shelf life for up to 6 years without any noticeable loss of flavour. Freezing large amounts of green coffee is an energy-intensive practice, however, that will certainly increase your storage costs.