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Test Kitchen tips: How to store coffee beans

March 07, 2013|By Noelle Carter
  • Coffee beans
Coffee beans (Robert Lachman / Los Angeles…)

Luxurious as it may be to sip a great cup of coffee at a coffeehouse, sometimes there's nothing better than a fresh pot brewing away first thing in the morning when you've barely got your eyes open. For some, that first cup o' joe is nothing more than a jolt to get us up and running; for others, it's still a sacred art, even if we practice it in our bathrobes.

If coffee is more your passion than vice, you probably take great care about where you buy your beans. But have you considered how you store them?

Coffee can go stale quickly. Whether you buy whole beans or ground, store your coffee in an airtight container, in a cool place out of the light. Use the coffee within a week; two weeks at the most.

If I happen to buy in bulk, I will freeze whatever I can't use within a few days. Yes, I know -- there are coffee fanatics out there who say you should never freeze coffee. But if you wrap it tightly and freeze it for no more than a few weeks, you might lose a little flavor but it should be fine. I simply thaw the beans as needed before grinding. And it still makes a great cup of joe.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or email me at


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Café sua dá (Iced Vietnamese coffee)

Total time: 10 minutes

Servings: 1

Note: From Diane Cu and Todd Porter. This recipe calls for a Vietnamese coffee filter. Alternatively, use a 2-ounce shot of espresso or 2 ounces of strong coffee made in a French press or other drip coffee maker. To make hot Vietnamese coffee (café sua nóng), follow the recipe up to the last step, omitting the ice (to keep the coffee hot while filtering, place the coffee glass in a larger bowl filled with hot water).

2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 tablespoons coarse ground coffee (use a strong roast suitable for espresso)

1. Bring a small pot of water to boil over high heat.

2. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into an 8- to 10-ounce glass.

3. Unscrew the top of the coffee filter. Place the coffee in the filter, then replace the top, screwing it tightly to compact the grounds. Fit the filter over the glass and pour in just enough hot water to wet the coffee. Allow it to hydrate for 30 seconds.

4. Loosen the filter screen screw at least 2 full rotations so the water can pass through the coffee. Pour hot water to the top of the filter, replace the filter lid and wait for the coffee to pass through; this should take about 5 minutes.

5. Remove the filter and stir the coffee and condensed milk. Fill the glass with ice and serve immediately.

Each serving: 125 calories; 3 grams protein; 21 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 3 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 13 mg. cholesterol; 53 mg. sodium.

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