Emery Coffee Goes Whole Bean

In keeping with our commitment to provide you with the best coffee experience possible, we will no longer be offering grind options on most of our coffees. Why, you might ask? According to the National Coffee Association, “Storage is integral to maintaining your coffee’s freshness and flavor. It is important to keep it away from excessive air, moisture, heat, and light — in that order — in order to preserve its fresh-roast flavor as long as possible.”

Air is coffee’s number one enemy and when coffee is ground much more surface area is exposed and thus goes stale much faster. You will not get sick from drinking old or stale coffee so the question then becomes how long is my coffee “fresh?” We will define fresh as the point at which a decided difference in flavor is apparent.

Consider this, people go to the bakery every day and not just once a week because there is a difference in bread baked 15 minutes ago and 15 hours ago. A big difference. Sure the older bread is still good and quite tasty but only a shadow of the fresh bread.

The problem is, most people have never had fresh coffee outside of a cafe. If you buy your coffee at the supermarket it is already stale before you even buy it. It was roasted, ground, allowed to “rest” and release all of the CO2 before it was vacuum sealed for freshness. The resulting paradox is fresh/stale coffee.

Our roasters use a one-way degassing valve which allows the CO2 to escape while it is on the way to you. That takes care of the issue, right? Although a big help, if the coffee was ground it was still exposed to air before it could be sealed. The flavor starts to significantly change within 24 hours. Within three days it is not the same coffee and after 7 days is hardly drinkable.

The best solution is to buy whole bean coffee and only as much as you will drink in the next two weeks. There is no noticeable change in flavor in the first 7 days. During the second week the flavor starts to break down. Again, you can drink coffee that was roasted one month or even four months ago without problems but the majority of the flavor would be gone as it becomes less and less drinkable over time.

This seems a good time to introduce “Babbie’s Rule of Fifteens.” This comes from a discussion on Barista Exchange about this very issue. There are no real rules but these make for some good guidelines.

“Babbie’s Rule of Fifteens:*
Green Beans should be used in fifteen months.
Roasted beans should bused in fifteen days.
Ground beans should be used in fifteen minutes.
Extracted beans should be served in fifteen seconds.

*These are generalities, and depend on the bean, the environment, and your tastes. While there are occasional outliers, anyone that suggests that these are way off would arouse my suspicions. Especially about his tastes… ”

BEST PRACTICES

  • Buy fresh roasted whole bean coffee.
  • Buy only what you will use in the next two weeks.
  • Store in an opaque airtight container in a cool dry place.
  • Grind your coffee immediately before brewing.
  • Serve and enjoy as soon as possible.
  • NEVER store your coffee in the refrigerator or reheat brewed coffee.

– Emery

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