In the past 35 years of roasting coffee, I have noticed that many people are confused as to what fresh coffee is. Some think that fresh means freshly brewed. Of course freshly brewed coffee is better than coffee that has been sitting for hours. But that is not fresh coffee.
Some feel grinding coffee in the store or even better, grinding coffee at home means the freshest coffee. Freshly ground coffee IS better than pre-ground coffee but again, that’s not really FRESH coffee.
In both cases what people are doing is putting the cart before the horse.
Fresh coffee is defined by the amount of carbon dioxide gas that is still in the cells of the coffee bean. Once coffee comes out of the roaster it will contain the highest levels of carbon dioxide and technically the freshest it can be, although some feel coffee will develop a deeper profile in a few days. After 2-4 weeks the beans will lose most of its carbon dioxide and is considered old. So when you smell that great aroma of coffee your actually smelling coffee go stale!
If your looking to purchase freshest coffee available this is what you need to do:
Purchase coffee from a coffee roaster. Make sure the coffee is not more than a few days old. A few hours old is even better. Store them in an air tight container, a mason jar is great for coffee. So is a old mayo jar. Keep it on the counter. It is not recommended to store them in the freezer or refrigerator. Grind them just before you brew. Why? Coffee ground in the store creates more surface area, releasing the carbon dioxide faster, thus the coffee will become stale faster.
Brew it and enjoy.
That’s fresh coffee.
The United States is the largest consumer of coffee in the world, and the vast majority of this coffee is neither of any quality or is it considered fresh. So the question must be asked…Does it matter?
That will be answered in my next blog.