How fresh is too fresh?

How fresh is too fresh?

We all want ‘fresh’, right? Whether it’s fruit and veg, a loaf of bread, or even that trim at the hairdressers. But how ‘fresh’ should our coffee be when we come to drink it?

All the green (raw) coffee we buy will have been harvested (when the coffee cherry, like a fruit, is picked from the tree) and processed within six months to a year of it landing at the roastery. The green coffee is mainly packed in airtight grainpro bags, with some even vacuum sealed.

Green coffee does age, which can correlate to an unwanted ‘papery’ taste in the cup. Natural processed coffees seem to age quicker than washed coffees, as the coffee seed is often dried in full sunlight which impacts moisture levels and thus shelf life. There’s also more microorganisms left on the seed which has the potential to degrade the coffee. At the roastery Gareth, particularly, is known for picking up on age-y or papery coffee when tasting samples! It’s always at the forefront of our minds when choosing which coffees we want to buy.

So once we’ve got the freshest green coffee to our roastery and roasted it, when’s best to drink it? You might have noticed all our bags have a ‘roasted on’ sticker on the bottom, so you can be sure how fresh your coffee is.

Exactly when your coffee is tasting its best will differ from coffee to coffee, and which brew method you’re using. It goes without saying that ground coffee oxidises far quicker than whole beans, rapidly losing a huge amount of its aroma and flavour. Maybe it’s time to up your home brew game and invest in a grinder ;)

When brewing espresso, coffee can really do with a week or so of resting. As coffee rests, it naturally de gasses and becomes less volatile. You’ll find it much easier to follow those espresso recipes, as the coffee will be a lot more stable. Our espresso is probably at its peak a week or two after roast date, and still great for up to six weeks.

With filter coffee, due to far less pressure being used in the brew method, we can brew confidently a day or two after roasting. A longer bloom period in pour over methods can compensate for extremely fresh roasts, as this gives the coffee a further chance to de-gass.

It’s always fun to keep tasting coffee as it rests and develops, seeing how it impacts flavour. Often one flavour profile of a coffee might be diminished as it rests, while others are accentuated. As a general rule, we’d say our filter coffees are good to go a day or two after roasting and will be at their best for a couple of weeks.