Is the most important ingredient in any brew.
Freshness is one of the most important ingredients.
Coffee freshness is one of the most important parts of coffee brewing. We’ve all tasted coffee that is old and stale. The bitter, tasteless, almost bland coffee flavours that come through the cup. No aroma when you open the bag. These are just symptoms of stale coffee. So what’s actually happening? And how much time have you got?
When coffee is roasted, carbon dioxide is trapped inside the bean. As the bean ages, it slowly releases carbon dioxide into the space around it. This is why many roasters have one way valves on their bags – so that carbon dioxide can be released out, but no extra air can be let in.
When we grind coffee into smaller segments, there is a lot more surface area, which releases CO2 much more quickly. This means that buying pre-ground coffee makes your coffee loses it’s freshness more quickly than if you bought beans and ground them yourself.
Many retailers (and supermarket chains are guilty of this) will tell you that coffee stays fresh up to two years post roasting. But as we can see in the chart, even whole beans will be almost stale by the time two weeks rolls around.
Many make this claim because by the time the coffee gets on to the their shelves, it’s already around 3 months old. Many of the supermarket chains will only throw their beans out if they haven’t sold after two years. So if you’re still drinking supermarket coffee, give fresh beans a go, and see the difference for yourself.
In an ideal world, you would be using your coffee by around two weeks after roasting, give or take a week or two, depending on the type of bean and roast profile.
So why don’t you give fresh beans a go? I’ll even 100% guarantee that you will taste a difference if you’re using supermarket beans. Sign up to a subscription with Bean Merchant. We’ll cater your beans to your taste, and deliver them fresh from the roaster at a schedule that suits you.
In fact, sign up today and I’ll even through in 20% off your first order. Use the code: Coffeplease at checkout.
If you’re going to be brewing coffee at home, and are concerned about freshness, one of the best things you can do is to store it correctly.
There are several things that contribute to coffee going off. These are oxygen, light, temperature, time and space.
As we said in the last part, coffee releases CO2 after it is roasted, and it also releases aroma. As oxygen has a chance to be around the beans, say, where there is lots of space around them, more CO2 and aroma particles will be released. This is another reason why it’s important for roasters to use one way valves. So that the CO2 and aroma have a place to go, but no oxygen can enter the bag to make the beans go stale.
If we cool the coffee beans down, the reactions slow down as well. So keeping them in the fridge or freezer can be a good idea for storage if you’re going to keep them for a long time. However bringing these beans back to room temperature will mean water starts to condense on your beans, and your coffee will get wet. Also, putting cold beans through a grinding and extraction process will completely change the way these work.
If you’re looking for the best of the best of the best (which I’m sure we all are), you’ll get that from fresh beans that are at room temperature for grinding and brewing, and haven’t been kept in a freezer at all.
Keeping your beans inside a light proof, sealable container with a one way valve, at room temperature is the best way to ensure that your beans are fresh.