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CoffeeIV
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Joined: 5 Apr 2014
Posts: 9
Location: U.S.A.
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 8:23am
Subject: Getting Good Fresh Roasts in Small Towns
 

Hey guys, I've been a coffee addict for at least 20 yrs now.. starting off with grocery store garbage in college (a lot of flavored stuff like hazelnut, etc).. then finally preferring only Seattle's Best and Charbucks (Verona and Espresso Roast) with some sweetener and half and half or heavy creamer and sometimes cinnamon.

I've been meaning to up my game for quite a while but only recently got to it and bought a Bonavita and Capresso burr grinder. I might get into other ways to brew coffee at some point but right now it's just drip method.

I see most people recommend that coffee be used within a week of being roasted. For people in small towns, like myself, that might be a problem. We've got a Biggby and Starbucks in town. Biggby doesn't seem too bad and i can get it very fresh but it doesn't carry some of the beans I'd like to try like Kona blend.

I'd like to order stuff from online roasters but if I'm supposed to use a roast within 1 week of roasting it seems I'd only want to order 1 bag of coffee at a time? If that's the case it seems shipping could get rough.. plus the irritation of ordering 1 bag a week. I'd be cool with freezing but I read it might effect taste and it might only be useful if the freezer is below 0deg F. We have a chest freezer and fridge freezer so it might not be good enough.

I guess I'm looking for some solutions for the small town problem and also best online places to get awesome roasts that a newbie would like to try.

I did seem to gravitate towards the dark roasts recently but I think I'd really like a well done light roast too. I'm sure I'll get banned for saying this  :) but recently i had Bob Evans coffee and it was awesome.. and tasted so good with my food. I have also had other great tasting coffees at various diners and i could swear they said it might be a Kona blend. So, a light, smooth, sweet blend might be great too (I think that's what Kona might be?)

Also, at some point I'd like to try some expensive stuff like pure Jamaican Bean , 100% Kona, etc.
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,944
Location: Fayetteville, AR
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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 8:31am
Subject: Re: Getting Good Fresh Roasts in Small Towns
 

CoffeeIV Said:

I see most people recommend that coffee be used within a week of being roasted. For people in small towns, like myself, that might be a problem.

Posted April 5, 2014 link

The time to optimum flavor and to stale will vary. Some beans peak at a few days after roast, and some take 9-12 days to peak. I think it's too generalized to say it needs to be used in a week. Two weeks seems like a better upper limit in my experience.

Also, this problem is not limited to small towns - I have lived in some larger towns without quality roasters. Fresh beans that are over roasted are no better than stale beans.

I'd like to order stuff from online roasters but if I'm supposed to use a roast within 1 week of roasting it seems I'd only want to order 1 bag of coffee at a time? If that's the case it seems shipping could get rough.. plus the irritation of ordering 1 bag a week. I'd be cool with freezing but I read it might effect taste and it might only be useful if the freezer is below 0deg F. We have a chest freezer and fridge freezer so it might not be good enough.

When my roaster is down for maintenance (like now), I order by mail. Shipping can inflate the cost per pound. I have been ordering from Red Bird in the 5-kb quantity. I have a refrigerator freezer, and so I am likely getting some stale by the time I get to the end of the 5 lbs. But, your chest freezer should be more than adequate for deep freeze. Have you measured the temperature?

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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CoffeeIV
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Joined: 5 Apr 2014
Posts: 9
Location: U.S.A.
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 8:37am
Subject: Re: Getting Good Fresh Roasts in Small Towns
 

dana_leighton Said:

But, your chest freezer should be more than adequate for deep freeze. Have you measured the temperature?

Posted April 5, 2014 link

I just consulted the gf on this and I guess our chest freezer has been measured around 0 deg so i was probably wrong. I didn't know they got that low. So freezing might be a solution :)
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Buckley
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Joined: 25 Jan 2011
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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 9:39am
Subject: Re: Getting Good Fresh Roasts in Small Towns
 

Read the posts on freezing beans - there are a lot of them here and on Home-Barista.com.  Ninety-eight percent of us see no problem with frozen beans and most of us use refrigerator freezers which are not nearly as good as chest freezers.  You have a chest freezer, so use it.  Relax about this.  You will read a lot of table-thumping about how you ought to do things.  The rules have been: freeze it airtight in small quantities, take out only what you will use up in a few days to a week, defrost it overnight or a few hours before opening it and grinding it, and enjoy.  Even these rules seem OCD.  Lateley someone has opened his frozen bag of beans, taken some out and reclosed the bag and thrown it back into the freezer and did this multiple times and did not notice any problem and no increased 'water weight' with the last beans in the serially-opened bag.  Others have thrown frozen beans right into their grinders; it does not hurt the grinder.
On the other hand, some folks evacuate their containers of all air before freezing.  I said this once and I will say it again: there might be some marginal advantage to pulling a vacuum in a rigid container like a ball glass jar with lid but it is a complete waste of time to evacuate a flexible ziplock bag.  Oh, yes, and some use plastic ziplock bags (unevacuated) and swear by them and others use only glass canning jars (unevacuated) and do the same.
A very few think that freezing hurts beans.  I will admit that there may be a few individual roasts that may not do well after being frozen.  Why, I do not know.  And these are not famous roasts to avoid freezing that everyone knows about; there are just the occasional anecdote. A few, such as myself, think that all beans stale faster after being frozen and thawed than if they are never frozen, so I thaw only a few days' supply at a time.
Two things are certain: if you do not freeze beans they will lose flavor in 10 days to three weeks, depending upon the roast; and, chest freezers will keep beans in good condition longer than refrigerator freezers because they do not have defrost cycles that bring the temperature above freezing from time to time.  The longest people have blogged about keeping beans before taste deteriorates is quite variable but most say that three months in a chest freezer is okay while some claim that six months is okay.  I would play safe and limit my storage to two months at most; I think keeping will vary from roast to roast.
This is all anecdotal science except for one blinded taste test published on Home-Barista.com (qv).  Just do it yoursef and tell us what you think.  The moment you savor the brew of your first frozen beans you will have joined the ranks of the 'experts'.
Buckley
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 1:13pm
Subject: Re: Getting Good Fresh Roasts in Small Towns
 

I agree that you should be fine buying several pounds and making use of your chest freezer. But here's another question...have you considered roasting your own?

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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CoffeeIV
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Joined: 5 Apr 2014
Posts: 9
Location: U.S.A.
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 2:32pm
Subject: Re: Getting Good Fresh Roasts in Small Towns
 

emradguy Said:

I agree that you should be fine buying several pounds and making use of your chest freezer. But here's another question...have you considered roasting your own?

Posted April 5, 2014 link

Ya I looked this up a few days ago and was surprised at how easily it could be done. So I'll likely consider this in the future it looks fun.
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msboo
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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 3:10pm
Subject: Re: Getting Good Fresh Roasts in Small Towns
 

Hey CoffeelV, I loved all what Buckley posted, great advice. I've only been into good, enjoyable coffee for 18 mos. I tried freezing in my frig freezer, experienced what dana_ mentioned about different beans peaking flavor at different times, etc. I feel lucky that we have 4 local roasters where I live so I do have a choice----that being said, only one is reliable with really great tasting coffees AND consistence in roasting.  I may, in the future, get a small chest freezer for the option of freezing when needed. I found storing fresh roast in 8oz Ball jars, stored in kitchen cabinet (away from light & heat sources) works great for us---each jar is opened only 2 times for access. I follow the 2 wk rule. For ordering online, Red Bird has been mentioned here a lot for being cost effective.
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CoffeeIV
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Joined: 5 Apr 2014
Posts: 9
Location: U.S.A.
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 5:01pm
Subject: Re: Getting Good Fresh Roasts in Small Towns
 

Yup Buckley had great info. I'll probably do some freezing.

Red Bird doesn't seem to have much variety though and no Kona.

One quick question about roasting your own coffee: Does it save you money too? Are green beans much cheaper than roasted?
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,944
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 6:59pm
Subject: Re: Getting Good Fresh Roasts in Small Towns
 

CoffeeIV Said:

One quick question about roasting your own coffee: Does it save you money too? Are green beans much cheaper than roasted?

Posted April 5, 2014 link

Yes, the green is much cheaper. Green beans average around $6 per pound for high quality beans. A pound of green will yield about 13-14 ounces of roasted.

But the green is not the only cost - you need to amortize the cost of roaster, a small amount for electricity, but more important, your time.

There is a good thread on this (search is your friend!): http://coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/homeroast/644539

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
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Location: Monrovia, CA
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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 8:13pm
Subject: Re: Getting Good Fresh Roasts in Small Towns
 

Roasting is fun, challenging and satisfying.  It's one of the best parts of our coffee experience -- enriching every other part of it.  We love drinking what we roast.

Rich
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