Mastering how to open a coffee bag — and reseal it – can help keep your coffee fresher for longer. Here are some tips on how to open a coffee bag correctly.
Picture it: you’ve just come home from the store and you’re all excited to crack open that new bag of coffee you just bought and enjoy a cup of coffee. There’s just one problem. It’s always a struggle opening them properly so the beans don’t go flying everywhere.
The struggle is real, coffee lovers. So here are some best practices on how to correctly open a bag of coffee, whether its ground or whole beans. And how to best reseal it afterward so it stays fresher, longer.
Whether your favorite brand of coffee is Starbucks, Lavazza, Stumptown, or something else, this guide will apply to all of them.
Why are coffee bags sealed so tightly in the first place?
Whole coffee beans and coffee grounds have a tendency to absorb odors from their surrounding environment. So it’s best kept sealed tightly sealed. This holds true on the grocery shelf and when you take it home.
By sealing it, and resealing it after opening, it stays fresh and tastes better longer. And it’s less affected by other odors that may be around it.
Tight seals on coffee packaging also help prevent tampering or damage.
But those initial seals can sometimes be pesky to open.
How to open a standard coffee bag
Even with a tight seal, most coffee bags found at your local grocery stores can be opened by simply using your bare hands. They also usually come reseal tabs on either side.
Here’s my step-by-step guide on how to open a coffee bag for the first time.
1. Locate the sticky strip on the back of the back.
2. Peel it up but don’t remove it. You can use it to reseal it again later.
3. Locate the reseal tabs on the bag and uncurl them. Then unroll the top of the bag until it’s flat.
4. Grab each side on the top opening of the bag and slowly pull apart until you break the coffee bag’s seal.
5. Be careful not to pull too hard as that may send the beans or coffee inside flying.
Note: If the bag is sealed too tightly, you can use a pair of scissors to cut along the top edge of it.
6. Once the bag begins to open, fully pull apart the top flaps and remove your desired amount of coffee.
You can close resealable bags by folding the top of the bag down again and folding in the clasps on either side of the bag.
How to open a coffee bag with a valve
So what do you do if your coffee bag has a valve on it?
First, this one-way valve is there to help keep your coffee fresh. It works by allowing carbon dioxide to escape without letting external oxygen get in.
Why is this important? Here’s the science behind these valves.
Roasting coffee beans creates carbon dioxide gas in a process called degassing. This process correlates to roasting process, such as roast level and grind size, but mainly, without this degassing valve on the bag, it could swell or burst and the coffee could be damaged.
So, this valve increases the coffee’s freshness and overall shelf life.
But don’t be daunted. The process to open this type of bag is the same as above. You just want to be sure that you don’t damage the valve, especially if you’re using scissors to open it.
How best to store opened coffee bags at home
It’s a good idea to store coffee in an air-tight containers in a cool (at least room temperature), dark place like a pantry to limit excessive exposure to light. Once you break the bag’s airtight seal, the coffee only stays fresh for about 2 weeks. After that, you lose some of the aroma and rich flavor of the coffee.
But an easy way to extend the freshness of an opened package of coffee is by storing it in the freezer. The super cold environment effectively locks in the flavor so it stays fresh until you take it out again.
You should have fresh coffee for up to 1 month in the freezer. You can also store it this way by removing it from its original packaging and sealing it in an airtight container. Glass jars like mason jars are a great way to do this.
How to best store unopened coffee bags at home
Unopened bags of whole bean coffee with a valve will keep your coffee fresh for a considerably long time, up to 12 months in a dry, non-humid environment. An unopened, sealed bag of ground coffee can stay fresh for up to 3-5 months.
What to do with used coffee bags
Once you’re finished with your coffee bag, the best option is to recycle it if possible. For example, if the bag is made from cardboard or other easily recyclable material.
However, if your bag contains foil packaging or plastic, chances are it won’t be recyclable. But you don’t necessarily need to discard it. Consider upcycling it instead.
Used coffee bags can be repurposed as planters, to hold knick-knacks, or simply other coffee beans.