Coffee is a bit of an enigma. On the one hand, it’s like a miracle food that can last a really long time on your shelf. Brew up a bag you bought two years ago and chances are you won’t find yourself heaving on the ground. On the other hand, it’s just like any other fruit, and its best tastes are only available within a relatively small window of time.
If you peruse our website and general information about best coffee practices on the web, you’ll see lots of references to “Fresh Roasted Coffee”. But what does this mean, why should you care, and what should you do to maximize your coffee experience?
Let’s find out!
(last updated 4/2023)
COFFEE FRESHNESS - WHAT HAPPENS TO COFFEE BEANS OVER TIME?
First, let’s go over what’s happening to your coffee as it ages by using a familiar example: apples. Chances are you’ve bitten into an apple and as you were eating it, a little bit of browning occurred. That’s oxidation, and the same thing that happened there is happening to your coffee beans, especially when pre-ground. Time plays the other role — the things that make coffee "sing" simply break down over time and play less and less a role in the liveliness of your cup.
Oxidation and time dull the flavors of your coffee just like it does any other food (among other factors), and thus fresh roasted coffee is going to give you the longest period of time to get the most vibrant, lively tastes. As a basic rule, we consider a coffee fresh and vibrant until around 4 to 6 weeks off roast, but some coffees can last up to two months.
So to recap and expand:
3 Reasons Fresh Roasted Coffee is Better*:
- More vibrant flavors
- Taste the notes we put on the bag - we tasted the coffee within days of roasting
- Get the coffee at its peak potential
*Quick caveat: Coffee requires a little bit of rest after roasting. Most coffees require at least a few days after roast to taste their best. Thus, the best coffee isn't fresh off the roaster by any means. But, buying fresh roasted coffee gives you the maximum number of days where it is tasting its best.
Try it at home:
Save a little bit of your last bag and put it to the side. When you receive your new bag with a more recent roast on date, brew them back to back and note the differences in taste. Chances are one will seem to have more “life” to it - what we often term as acidity and what comes through in the cup as fruitiness, or a really rich chocolate or nutty taste. The older cup will seem more tame by comparison. Still good and you'll still get the caffeine boost, but something is missing.
Fresh coffee tends to "bloom" due to trapped C02 gas from the roasting process.
What does Kaldi’s Coffee do to help ensure you get the freshest coffee possible?
- All web orders are roasted fresh and our cafes swap out coffees every 10 to 14 days
- We include a "roast on date" on every bag bought online and in our cafes for your reference
- Semi-related: Green coffee loses its luster, too! We source and buy coffees in their current harvest season to ensure maximum freshness, and cup them routinely to make sure they are still tasting great.
5 tips for having the freshest, tastiest coffee
1. Buy whole bean and grind fresh
- Ground coffee has more surface area that can be oxidized. Keeping in its whole bean form for as long as possible metaphorically “locks in” freshness for longer
- We recommend the Baratza Encore or the Fellow Opus
We love the Fellow Opus as an affordable way to grind fresh
2. Buy canisters that block out light and air
- We really love the Fellow Atmos - it removes all of the air and is a blast to use. The Airscape is also great and comes in various shapes. and sizes.
- Anything that’s airtight will work, and we recommended storing any glass canisters in a cabinet.
3. Push any air out of your bag when done
- The coffee bag is a canister in its own right. To get the most out of it, roll your bag tightly when done and push out any remaining air. Our bags have a one-way valve that will aid in this effort.
The coffee bag itself, if sealed properly after use, is a great way to keep your coffee fresh
4. Have more coffee than you need? Freeze it!
- But only for unopened bags! A lot of research has been done, and the findings show that in the proper conditions (airtight bag, no moisture inside, etc…) freezing coffee helps lock in freshness for longer.
- Just be sure to only do it once and while the bag is still sealed, plus bring the coffee to room temperature before opening the bag.
5. Get a recurring subscription
The ultimate set-it-and-forget-it way of getting fresh coffee. We have coffee subscriptions that you can line up with your schedule of drinking, and voila! Fresh coffee shows up to your door right when you need it.
GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR COFFEE
We believe buying fresh roasted coffee is one more piece of the quality chain that starts at the farm of our producing partners. Every step in the coffee process, from picking ripe cherries to the attention to detail during processing to the roasting at our facility, either adds or subtracts to the final product in your cup. Buying fresh roasted coffee, grinding it fresh, and using sound brewing techniques completes the final chapter of this amazing story.
Happy brewing, and keep things fresh!
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