At work we order ground coffee from our supplier and keep it in a tin in the fridge. Is this a good place to store it?--Monique
Two major factors which can deteriorate coffee are oxygen and moisture. If you store your ground coffee in the fridge, then every time you open the can to make another pot you are letting room temperature air come into contact with it. Because the coffee is cooler than the air, small amounts of moisture condense onto it, reducing its quality. Also, if your fridge is anything like most, it tends to get leftover, forgotten lunches and other foods left behind. Odors from these foods can impart off flavors to the coffee.
Ideally, coffee should be stored as fresh whole beans and ground as needed. I realize that may be difficult in an office environment. The reason that whole beans keep longer, according to Harold McGee, is because they have carbon dioxide trapped inside of them, which helps prevent oxygen spoilage.
Whether whole beans or ground, coffee should be stored at room temperature in a sealed container away from heat and light. Ground coffee will retain optimum flavor for only a few days, so it should be used as soon as possible.
If you order more coffee at a time than you can use right away, it should be frozen. Use an airtight container with as little headspace as possible or store it in a resealable plastic bag that has as much of the air pressed out as possible.