Mittwoch, 25. April 2007

About coffee freshness

Again there was some discussion about coffee freshness on TMC, and I thought I'd share my two pence.

Under normal circumstances, I wholeheartedly agree that coffee gets incredibly stale, unpleasant and unbearable within two to three weeks after roasting. This is also the mantra that get's repeated by the people "in-the-know" over and over. Taste fresh coffee and know that you had black, bitter and hot water all your life before! Freshness is the key in having a good cup of coffee (or espresso).

But (there has to be a "but"!) this two to three week period applies to coffee beans that are exposed to air during that time (I'm sure there are other factors to it, but I don't know them).

If the coffee is left alone for two or three months in a sealed, air-tight bag with a one-way valve (ie without a steady supply of fresh air to breathe), you open the bag and make a coffee right away - I doubt that you would taste a big difference compared to coffee from a bag that was just a few days old. Been there, done that and hell was I surprised :)

After opening that bag, ie letting the air get to the coffee, it still goes wreck within a week or two (of course. It even seems to me that it goes stale faster than "real" fresh coffee goes). But in my experience coffee can be kept quite fresh for a while! Some say six months, I don't know - but I know that even two to three months old coffee can taste really good. If it was stored appropriatly that is. And if it was good anyway and all the other factors were ok, too.

Update: Steve and Cakey appearently disagree. I change camps every now and then, but I do give much about Steve's judgment when it comes to everything coffee. My own experience as stated above tought me that coffee can still be quite fresh after a while, but it could as well have been the low expectations I had when opening the old bags ;). I guess I just need more time to think about this "problem" and evaluate ...

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