How fresh is fresh coffee?

How fresh is fresh coffee? Is fresher actually better? How quickly should you drink your coffee after roasting? The answer might not be as straightforward as you think……

There is a current trend in the coffee industry to promote the sale of ‘the freshest roasted coffee that money can buy’! It seems that the freshness drives the quality and that this is a premium factor in the coffee. But is coffee best drunk straight after roasting?

Roasting coffee itself is a process full of chemical reactions, drying, evaporation, breaking down sugars and amino acids, caramelisation and the release of sugars and different chemical compounds. This continues after the roast too.

When green coffee goes through the roasting process, it releases moisture, allowing for pockets of carbon dioxide (CO2) to get trapped inside. After the roast has cooled this gas is released from the beans for up to two weeks afterwards. This is the reason that coffee bags have one-way valves on them, allowing the CO2 to dissipate. Coffee that is drunk too early can taste sour due to that CO2, it can disguise some of the coffee's characteristics and hide things like clarity of flavour or the sweetness, it might make the brew more acidic.

What is the answer to our first questions then? Actually, it is that the freshest isn’t always the best. For most filter coffee we’d leave the coffee for five to seven days before brewing, for espresso we’d leave it for one to two weeks! This length of time allows the CO2 to leave the coffee and any aromatic or flavour compounds to develop, giving you a better brew. This means if you get a bag of coffee from us that was roasted seven days ago, then that’s ok - we just did the resting for you!


We recommend the following:

0-5 days from roast date -Leave the coffee to rest. Leave it sealed and unopened in its bag in a cool dry place (not the fridge)

 

6-10 days from roast date - If you plan to use your coffee for filter coffee then go ahead!

 

10-14 days from roast date - Your coffee is now ready to brew espresso, the degassing will have finished so you’ll be able to pull more consistent, sweeter shots.

 

30 days to 3 months from roast date - Your coffee is still great as long as the bag hasn’t been opened! If you have opened the bag and re-sealed earlier than this 30 day mark the oxidation process will have started causing aroma compounds to change or disappear and the coffee to become bitter or lifeless. If the bag has never been opened then you are all good, open and enjoy!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.