The Best Answer:
You can bring coffee beans on a plane without facing any issues, however, you have to be mindful about how you will pack them. If they are not in their original coffee bag, it’s best to be in a resealable bag or an airtight container.
It’s a question everyone has had at least once in their life: can you take coffee beans on a plane? Well, the answer is yes.
The trick is knowing how to prepare them before you leave and what specific rules apply to transporting your precious cargo from one place to another. Let’s find out!
Can you take coffee beans on a plane?
There is no issue with you bringing coffee beans on a plane. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) even has a list of TSA-allowed and prohibited items that you can check out before your next flight. However, specific kinds will be confiscated at the security checkpoint if they exceed particular guidelines.
Customs agents may inspect coffee beans coming from other countries to ensure it does not carry any pests that could harm US agriculture. That involves roasted or green coffee beans.
The actual coffee cherry is prohibited from entry in its unprocessed fruit form because there is an exotic fruit-fly risk. However, coffee cherries are always depulped and processed in the coffee farm, so nobody ever needs to transport them.
In general, if you are traveling with coffee beans, you should remember to keep them in their original sealed packaging when possible, so any inspections go more smoothly. The chance of an inspection is very slim; all you need to do is have them adequately packed and declare them upon entry into the country.
Also, the cabin pressure doesn’t affect the freshness of your coffee beans if you pack them properly before you board the plane.
How to Pack Your Coffee Beans For a Flight
To understand how it’s best to pack your coffee beans for a flight, I will take you through two different scenarios.
Scenario 1: You have just purchased the coffee
If you happen just to have purchased a coffee bag from a country you visited or just bought a bag of coffee beans to take with you on a trip, it’s best to keep this bag completely sealed until you land where you want to go.
Coffee in its original unopened packaging is rarely any cause of inspection in airports. So try to hold off opening the bag and tasting your new beans!
Scenario 2: You have already opened the bag of coffee beans
If you were too impatient and opened the bag or transported some coffee beans, you already had leftovers; worry not! There are still ways to pack them safely to avoid any unnecessary questions or inspection. Here’s what you can use instead
- an airtight container
- a vacuum sealer
- the original bag of coffee beans
- a resealable plastic bag
You can’t go wrong with an airtight container as far as keeping the coffee beans adequately stored goes. The only issue with these containers is that they often take up a lot of space that you might not have or need to save for other valuables. Nevertheless, they are a good solution, and they also keep your coffee beans fresh.
A vacuum sealer
This is not exactly something everyone has in their household, but it’s worth getting one and not just sealing coffee beans. You can seal any edible product to keep it fresh for longer, and it has the capacity of not taking as much space as the container as it takes the shape of the product.
A great option of packing coffee beans and getting them on a flight! Many people who need to carry a lot of clothing sometimes even vacuum seal them as it reduces the space they take up in their luggage.
The original bag of coffee beans
If you happen to have still the original bag that you bought the beans in, then you can go ahead and use that instead of looking for any other solution. Most of these bags have a resealable strip and a valve that releases does not let any gaseous substances like oxygen. This ensures to keep your coffee fresh!
A resealable plastic bag
These are the standard plastic bags that they hand out in airports before security checks so you can keep your liquids in them. You can easily find them in any grocery store. They are a good option for transporting your beans as the resealable strip keeps them safe. Just make sure to push all the air out before you seal the bag so that the beans don’t go stale.
How to Keep Your Coffee Beans Fresh
This whole conversation about packing your coffee beans probably has you wondering how to store them properly in general. If you want to keep your coffee beans fresh for the longest possible time and prolong their shelf life, here are some tips:
– Store your coffee beans in a dark, cool place. The refrigerator is not ideal as it makes the beans absorb moisture and odors from other foods much more quickly than if they were stored at room temperature. Keep them tightly sealed away from light and heat sources to keep them fresh for more extended periods, but only store enough beans for about two weeks or so at a one-time maximum.
– If you choose to refrigerate or freeze your coffee grounds, make sure that you remove them beforehand when preparing them by grinding with an electric grinder. Preferably use a blade grinder that pulverizes the whole bean instead of just cutting it into smaller parts.
– Store your coffee beans in an airtight container that is opaque to keep out light, heat, and humidity for the longest possible time. If you choose containers, glass with rubber seals is best because they will not leach any chemicals or odors.
– Do not store ground coffee longer than one month at most under optimum conditions before opening it again. After grinding, oxygen quickly begins degrading the aromatic oils making them stale much more rapidly, so don’t grind too far ahead unless necessary… It’s better to buy whole bean coffee instead of pre-ground if you want to keep it fresh for more extended periods.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I bring ground coffee beans on a plane?
Yes, nothing is stopping you from bringing ground coffee beans on a plane. Just make sure to seal them properly for the flight and declare them at the airport.
I would also add that if you are bringing coffee on a plane, it’s best if it’s whole coffee beans and not ground. This is because the smaller the coffee bean particles are, the more chances they will go stale faster. However, if you need to bring ground coffee, make sure to seal it as best as possible, so it’s kept fresh.
How do you pack coffee beans?
There are a few ways you can pack coffee beans to take them on a plane, including an airtight container, a resealable plastic bag, the original coffee packaging they come in if it has a resealable strip, and a vacuum sealer.
Can I carry coffee powder in checked luggage?
There is no issue with you carrying coffee powder in checked luggage! The only thing you need to keep in mind is that anything in your luggage might smell like coffee for a few hours. I wouldn’t mind my sweater smelling like coffee, though!
Just make sure to seal the coffee powder properly because coffee tends to go everywhere, and you might have to wash everything afterward.
What’s better for the plane: Whole beans or ground?
Generally, if you pack them well, you can travel on both whole and ground beans on a plane. The difference is that the ground beans are tiny coffee particles that, if they come in contact with oxygen, will lose their aroma and flavor much quicker than whole beans will.
So my advice would be to travel with whole beans just in case there is any contact with oxygen. Plus, if an accident happens and your coffee bag opens, it’s much easier to clean up whole beans than ground coffee!
It is safe to take coffee beans on a plane, but there are some limitations. When you’re traveling with your java supply in hand, be sure it’s sealed and that the seal isn’t broken or tampered with when you arrive at your destination.
That way, nobody will think they can get away with swiping any of those precious beans from under your nose! We hope this blog post answered your questions about coffee beans on a plane. Happy travels, and enjoy that delicious cup of joe when you land!