A lot has been researched and studied regarding the storage conditions of coffee. For ground coffee, roasted coffee, soluble coffee, you name it. Most research is done on the influence of packaging materials. Should it be in aluminium? Plastic? Should it be vacuum-packed? Does it need a valve? But also: do you store coffee in the freezer? Or not?
Research and technology on the best storage conditions for green coffee are much harder to find. Not that it has not been done. Shout out to the amazing research on nature.com that was published earlier this year. But as green coffee transport and storage is a huge part of our business, we wanted to investigate.
It all started in 2019, when we did a transport project, where we looked into transport conditions, (measuring humidity and temperature in a reefer and a regular container), and compared how well different types of packaging protected against the transport elements.
We took that opportunity to extend our research into shelf-life research. The different types of packaging were stored in two different warehouses: a conditioned warehouse (15˚C/60% humidity) and an unconditioned warehouse (ambient). We took samples over a period of 18 months and analyzed the SCA cup score, gave an ‘ageing score’ on a scale from 0-15, and analyzed physical and chemical composition.
This year our intern Rick Mannes, a BSc Food Technology student, analyzed all the data collected. Finally, after 3 years, we have the results.
We did not observe statistically significant differences between the types of hermetically sealed packaging, they perform quite similar over time. Jute-only bags do not protect the coffee well, especially over a longer period of time.
The sensory scores observed between the conditioned and unconditioned warehouses were not very different either. However, we do see better quality stability at 18 months in the conditioned warehouse.
Surprise and its disclaimers: Is it a surprise that the two different warehouses do not show big sensory differences? Yes and no.
As mentioned above, there is not a lot of research into different types of storage of green coffee. But most of the research available shows that the conditions of the warehouse do matter.
There are several reasons why there might not be a big difference between the two types of warehouses.
Of course, always. This explorative research only brings up more questions and shows that more, extended and detailed research on the topic of green coffee storage is necessary. There is so much to uncover and think about when reading this research, rather than reading our rants, we invite you to read the research linked below.
Download the shelf-life study “The effects of packaging and storage conditions on the sensorial quality of washed green Arabica coffee beans” here.
We also wanted to share our data with you as well. To look into, to experiment and play around with, or use in any research you may want to do yourself. You can find this here.