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Related: Is it a good idea to keep a coffeemaker if I only occasionally drink coffee?

At home, I produce less than 2 cups of coffee per week. Lately, I've been using instant to keep the hassle-payout ratio favorable. (hassle such as the actual process of producing one cup, as well as storing the requisite equipment)

If I were to buy ground coffee, it would take me months (or longer) to finish even a 10oz tin.

Is it better to keep fairly old coffee grounds for that occasional cup, or to use instant coffee?

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I've been that person - I kept ground coffee forever. The difference in taste between fresh and old ground coffee is enormous, but so is the difference between old grounds and instant. It's just a completely different beverage, so I would say if these are your two options, it's just a matter of personal taste (I would go for old grounds).

If you're up for it, I would buy a small manual grinder and keep whole beans, it makes a world of a difference in taste and you can keep the beans for months without deterioration. Adds a bit of work to the process though, and depending on your coffee maker would require a grinder with different abilities (espresso would require much finer grinding degree than let's say a mokka express).

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Let me suggest different approaches that are much tastier, assuming that's your aim.

You can get individually sealed servings of ground coffee, ready to brew, packed without oxygen to stay fresh.

The best example I know of is Blue Bottle Perfectly Ground coffee packets. I have not tried them but I can attest that their cafes serve great coffee. In your situation I'd try them.

Another variation is coffee pods, but pods are mostly waste though you only use a couple per week. There are compostable pods available but those might not be that much better. See The Myth Behind Those Compostable Coffee Pods and look further into the composting situation.

Another approach would be to buy whole beans, premeasure them into individual servings, and pack those in little zip lock bags. Take out one at a time, let it thaw at room temperature before unsealing, and then grind it in a counter top or hand held burr grinder. Or grind them while still frozen if your grinder can handle that -- in fact research shows that they'll grind more evenly that way, according to. NY Times article.

People may tell you not to freeze coffee beans but in my controlled but limited experiments, freezing did not make a detectable difference in taste. Just don't remove some beans out of a frozen bag, letting air and moisture in, and put the bag back in the freezer where the air and moisture will decay the beans.

P.S. An Aeropress is a great way to make one or two cups at a time. I'm a big fan.

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Fresh grounded coffee is the best. I dont think arabica is good to keep as a ground for more than a day. But, my hometown have few premium robusta roastery and from my personal taste it can last for 2 weeks before the taste turn into no-recommended

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