Is Fresh Best?
This has been a reoccurring subject here at Craft House, is fresh best? Our answer... no. "Fresh" was a huge thing when coffee was being roasted more and more in the UK, rather then being imported from, say Spain or Italy or roasted in huge quantities, than stored for a long time. It was a good selling point and could make it easier to justify a slightly higher price. However, as we do, over time we started to associate freshness with quality, like a freshly made cake for instance. In doing so we crossed over to the other side and would think there is something wrong if coffee was roasted a month ago....This doesn't mean to say you shouldn't drink coffee just after its roasted, but for us, amazing things can happen if you rest your coffee properly.
We roast our coffee fresh to order for one reason, so you can decide how soon after its roasted to use it. There is nothing worse then getting a bag of coffee, with say a filter type brew method in mind (v60 etc) - where you know it taste amazing after 6 days of it being roasted, only to find that its already 2 weeks old... its not to say that 2 week old coffee is terrible, actually quite the opposite! But its all about giving you the option.
So What Are We On About?
Whats happening to your coffee once roasted? Freshly roasted coffee emits a crazy amount of carbon dioxide and will continue to do so rapidly for around 2 weeks. This gaseyness can be good and bad dependant on what you like, or your preferred brew method. All in all however, this carbon dioxide can disguise some of the coffee's amazing characteristics and hide things like clarity of flavour and a developed sweetness. For filter coffee it can add a little bit of sparkle to your cup but for espresso it can be overwhelming, lack body and im sure a lot of Barista's out there will agree, particularly unmanageable to dial in!
So we say this:
0-5 days - Dont touch the coffee! let it rest, leave it in its happy place (the bag) and put it in a cool dry place (not the fridge though).
6-12 days - Your now at that sweet spot for filter coffee, its built up a nice amount of sweetness, the more rapid stage of degassing has happened and you are tasting a nice balanced cup of coffee.
12-30 days - We are now talking Espresso, that aggressive 2 week stage of degassing is over and we are finding shots to pull consistent and tasting very sweet!
30+ days - Its still good! don't worry. If you opened the pack of coffee at, say, the 12th day mark, the bean will be feeling the strain of oxidation, so will start becoming a little stale. It will start loosing some of the more interesting characteristics and will be a little lifeless. HOWEVER if the bag is sealed and stored correctly you can look at another good 2 months before it starts to become a little boring.
Thanks for Reading!