Ground coffee can get hard if you don’t store it correctly. It is incredibly disappointing to find out you won’t enjoy a cup of coffee because your grinds have hardened.
To prevent the ground coffee from hardening, you need to store it away from heat, moisture, and air. The best way to avoid this is using an airtight container.
Notice that we focused on ground coffee because coffee beans don’t really harden. Keep on reading because we still have a lot of information for you about coffee.
Why Do Coffee Grinds Harden?
It is a bummer to find out your coffee has hardened. The first time it ever occurs to you, you ask yourself why is my coffee powder hard!! There are a few reasons for it; the most common is that it was not stored correctly.
Is There A Right Way To Store Coffee?
Yes, there’s a right and wrong way to store coffee. To keep it fresh, you should use an airtight container that protects your coffee from environmental conditions.
The environment plays a vital role in the quality of your java cup. Every aspect starting from the planting, harvesting, roasting, and storing, is impacted by the environmental conditions. The wrong conditions can spoil the most high-quality bean.
Environmental Conditions That Affect The Quality Of Coffee
Some of the conditions that affect coffee’s quality include, but are not limited to.
Humidity can spoil your coffee. Your coffee can go stale if you store it in a humid place. Some people believe keeping coffee in the fridge is a good idea. But there’s a risk of humidity when you do so.
Air carries oxygen which affects the quality of your coffee. As soon as your coffee is roasted, it starts to release carbon dioxide in exchange for oxygen. During this process, your coffee loses some of its chemical properties, including some of its sweetness.
Last but not least, temperature. We could say this is the most critical condition because the temperature can bring moisture and oxygen to your coffee. High temperatures make the air carry water droplets; that’s why humidity levels are higher in summer.
Steps To Prevent Coffee From Hardening
There are a few things you should understand about storing your coffee. Here we will talk about how to prevent different types of coffee from hardening.
Coffee beans are less susceptible to environmental changes. But prolonged exposure to them can take a toll on its quality. For example, moisture will create mold, yeast, and other similar microorganisms.
But make sure you don’t get confused between water moisture and the oil released by some coffee beans. Some coffee beans release oil after they have been recently roasted. Some others release oil because they have been stored for an extended period.
Instant coffee comes in different presentations. We have some brands that individually pack each serving. It helps you to keep your coffee as fresh as possible.
In contrast, some brands have jars which are relatively good in keeping them from getting stale. But, you have to be careful about the utensils you use to pour it out. If you use a humid spoon, this moisture will make clumps into your instant coffee.
We can consider ground coffee as the most vulnerable to hardening. Imagine each one of the grinds as an ultra-small bean. You have infinite surfaces where water molecules can bond. So, it is natural that your coffee will harden as it becomes one with the water.
That’s why people recommend storing ground coffee in an airtight container. But, as we mentioned, air and heat can also bring some water into it.
How Do You Fix Hardened Coffee
To fix hardened ground coffee, you will use water. Yes, this time, you will add warm water to your solidified coffee grinds. Once you add the water, let it sit for a few minutes. Remove the water out of the coffee and then brew as usual.
Another option could be to bake it. You can spread the clumps on a baking sheet and bake for a couple of minutes. Use a fork if needed to spread it evenly.
You must know that these processes will change the flavor of your cup of java. But trying this is much better than having no coffee at all.
Other Uses For Hard Coffee Grinds
You can use your hardened coffee for other purposes than brewing it. So here we brought you a list of things you can use it for.
- Body scrub. You can add some coconut oil and brown sugar to it, and now you have a homemade scrub for your whole body.
- To absorb other odors. Add the old coffee clumps into individual tea bags. Now you can use these bags to keep your duffel bag, cabinets, and shoes odorless. Also, you can scrub coffee on your hands after you cook to remove strong odors.
- Coffee soap. Mix coffee with melted glycerin. Let it harden before you use it.
- To scrub difficult food residue out of your kitchen pots. You mix it with water and use your regular sponge to wash away any hardened debris.
- Fertilizer. You can use coffee grinds as a fertilizer for most bushes, including roses and lilies. Additionally, coffee can deter insects and plagues from your vegetable garden.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to store coffee?
Ground coffee should be stored in an airtight container. But, the best way would be to buy your roasted coffee beans and grind them right before you brew them. Then, if you want to bring it one step closer to expanding your brain, you could go for fresh beans and roast them at home.
Should coffee be refrigerated?
No, you shouldn’t. You might wonder if you can keep your coffee powder in the fridge, but contrary to what many people believe, your fridge will ruin your coffee grinds. They can get contaminated and absorb the smell of other food in your fridge. Additionally, your fridge is a humid place that would make your coffee stale.
If you want to store coffee in your fridge, you should vacuum seal it.
What is the best container to store coffee?
Any airtight container should do the job. There are a few options in the market, such as ceramic, metal, or glass containers.
Can you vacuum seal coffee grounds?
Yes, you can. Vacuum sealing will help you to keep it fresh. If you do it, store your coffee in the fridge.
Is it ok to grind coffee beans the night before?
Yes, it is ok to grind coffee beans the night before brewing. People recommend grinding your beans as close to brewing time as possible. But, if you want to do it the night before, keep in mind you will need a container to store your grinds so they can retain their flavor.
As you can see, the way you store your coffee will prevent it from hardening. It is essential to keep your coffee protected from moisture, air, and heat. These three elements will affect the quality of your result. And will also cause it to harden.
You could still brew hardened coffee. But, your cup of java will not be the same quality as freshly ground coffee.
There are other applications for old coffee. Even though it is not suitable for the tastebuds, it doesn’t mean it is not useful anymore. Coffee is excellent in removing strong odors and also can be ideal for rose bushes.