Fresh coffee has three components that create its complexity – green beans, roasting and grinding

While coffee beans come from a fruit, they are processed more than fruits that are eaten raw. Whereas an apple can just be picked off of a tree and bit into, coffee must be processed, roasted and ground. Each of these stages introduces an aspect of freshness.

1. Recent harvest of coffee cherries

As with any agricultural product, the freshness of coffee significantly affects its taste. Coffee beans are seeds from cherries, and, like any fruit, fresh ones taste better than old ones.

Once harvested, the shelf life of green coffee beans is about a year – if stored well. With time, beans lose their water content. As they dry out, they become less flavorful. They are susceptible to outside moisture, flavors and odors, which can all influence the coffee’s flavor.

The current crop’s beans, therefore, will produce the best flavors.

2. Use Coffee that is roasted in the past 3-14 days before brewing

Roasted coffee has a much shorter shelf life than green coffee. Once roasted, coffee should be brewed between three and 14 days. (It needs a couple days to degas, which is why you don’t want to drink coffee immediately after it’s roasted.) This is why we always put a “roasted on” date on our bags. If there is no date, then the coffee is probably more than 14 days old, and possibly much older.  We don’t hold any inventory as we only roast to order to ensure your Bell Lap Coffee is always delivered fresh and our coffee subscription makes it easy to never run out of fresh coffee.

It’s not a good sign when there isn’t a roast date stamp on your coffee bag or a “best if used by” date.

3. Always grind your coffee right before brewing

Grinding coffee releases its aromas, which is why it should be ground right before being brewed. These aromas create the flavorful notes in coffee. They should be captured as quickly as possible by promptly brewing coffee after it is ground.  The Problem is that the increased surface area created after grinding permits for greater CO2gas liberation. In fact within 60 seconds of grinding 80% of this gas is released into the air.

Pro Tip: Match the Grind Level to Your Brewing Method

4. Coffee: More Complex Than Wine

The most complex of fine wines rarely have more than 250 molecular compounds contributing to their remarkable bouquets. In comparison, the Maillard reactions (a reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars) in the roasting process of a fine coffee can produce more than 800 flavor and aroma compounds. Coffee can be a beverage of amazing richness and elegant complexity.

At Bell Lap Coffee, we buy green beans from the current crop, ship coffee within 24 hours from roasting so you receive it at it’s peak freshness! 

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