As a follow up to our last blog, on whether or not coffee can be TOO FRESH? (Yes, it can.)
Here is a quick thread we posted on Twitter this week, that we think could be valuable.
One of my current favorite coffee explorations is watching how a two pound bag of coffee evolves. I work from home a lot and as such have coffee sitting on my kitchen counter which lets me play with coffee as most home coffee people do. (As opposed to being in the shop where we have equipment that few if any people have at home.)
As such, I like to make note of the nuances that fall in place for home brewers. If you buy our coffee online or in the shop there is a very probable chance that the coffee is TOO fresh when you start the bag. The sweet wind starts about day FIVE after it was roasted.
And the coffee evolves for a couple weeks before really stabilizing. And even then, it remains very solid for weeks (honestly, months, or longer.) – And here is why: When coffee is burnt it produces oils that stick to the outer shell. These oils in time “go bad” – that is not to say they go bad in a way that will make you sick, but will go bad in a way that will taste bitter and eventually stale.
On the other end of the spectrum you have under roasted coffee (sorry Portland… I’m looking at you) and these coffees were not roasted enough to develop full flavor in the first place. And while they will not “go stale” like a burnt coffee, once the off-gassing is complete they lose what little interesting flavor they had.. which came from off gassing.
A properly roasted coffee will have a few weeks of uniquely “fresh roasted flavor” in which the drinker experiences not only the stable flavor of the coffee, but the evolution of the coffee off gassing, but when the off gassing ends, they are left with… A stable tasting coffee.
This is the sweet spot to attain as a coffee roaster, and what we strive for. And the results is good coffee, even after it has sat a long while. I recently opened a bag of The Hunt from early October 2022, that had been stored very improperly in the back of my truck (I’d run out at home and frantically scoured the camp kit to avoid running down to the shop in the early morning, and with luck found the remnants of an old bag) and guess what? It was delicious.
The “freshness” craze in coffee can get out of control and is very misunderstood. Two day old coffee is not good. I’d much rather have two week old coffee, or even two month old coffee over two day old coffee. And this is what makes having a two or five pound bag fun… you get to see the long haul dimensions of the coffee. Get to know it’s evolution. The dynamic stages are interesting and something to look forward to as you get to learn the steps a coffee goes through as it stabilizes and what its real characteristics are once stable. These are the nuanced lessons I love learning from coffee.