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Stale beans

Stale beans

            It happens to even the best beans. You wake up one morning and take the first sip of that oh so important first cup of coffee, only something isn’t right. The taste of your coffee isn’t quite how you remember it. The first thing you might think is that it’s just you; that you haven’t woken up yet and that memorable flavor will come back soon. When your coffee continues to disappoint however, you may feel as though it has betrayed you. If you are wondering how this has happened, read on.

            Like many things, coffee eventually goes stale. After coffee is roasted, it begins to release carbon dioxide and eventually starts to go through the oxidation process. As the carbon dioxide is released many of the volatile compounds found within the coffee bean begin to change or dissipate into the air along with the carbon dioxide and, ultimately, change the flavor of the coffee. The tricky part is that you want only some of the carbon dioxide to leave the beans, some is good, all is bad, very tricky, just like I said.

Packaging is an important way to slow down the inevitable oxidation process, but even with a typical 12 Oz bag, the coffee will continue to become stale over time. Ground coffee is more susceptible to oxidation as grinding a bean exposes a larger surface area of the bean to the air. After four weeks, a bag of ground coffee has lost a large part of the sulfur compounds that help keep its taste fresh and has been oxidized significantly. What’s a coffee connoisseur to do?

A good start might be to change where you’re getting your coffee from. If you commonly get your coffee from a supermarket, you are taking a gamble unless you know when your grocery store gets coffee deliveries. Coffee can easily sit on supermarket shelves for months after it has been roasted, which means you will be buying stale beans. Especially, if you are buying from the larger, main stream coffee companies that use distributing companies to move their product. Just think how long those poor beans sit in a warehouse waiting for a ride to the store! Another major clue to help avoid buying stale beans is the packaging for the coffee. Any container that has no degassing valve is a sure tell sign the coffee inside is old and stale. In order to package coffee in an air tight container, it must be well past the freshly roasted date and over and done with the oxidation process. Think pencil shavings, there, I said it. Pre-packaged K-Cup users, need I say more?

Obtaining your favorite coffee blends directly from the roaster will ensure that your coffee beans are fresh and have all of the flavor you’re looking for. For the very best flavor, grind your own coffee right before you brew. Getting whole bean coffee will help keep the coffee fresher longer while sitting in its container as opposed to exposing more of the bean to the air from having been ground.

So, it should come as no surprise that Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters uses high barrier bags with degassing valves and delivers freshly roasted coffee every other week to the stores that carry us on their shelves. Even your online orders are no more than a few days past their roast date! If you buy directly from our Roast House, you may have even had us scoop coffee right from the cooling bin. It doesn’t get any fresher than that.