coffeeshone Senior Member Joined: 29 Nov 2011 Posts: 53 Location: NY, NY Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 4:42am Subject: The real shelf life of good coffee
A burgeoning coffee geek over the last 2 years. I went from knowing little to nothing about good coffee to spending day after day dialing in and practicing on my Expobar & Vario setup. After a year, I'm to the point that I rarely am impressed when I get coffee at artisan coffee shops here in NYC. I don't claim expertise, but have certainly come a long, long way.
The thing I'm surprised at is how much confusion/misinformation about the shelf life and proper storage of coffee there is among consumers and retailers. As I write this I'm finishing a batch of Redbird that is 12 days post roast and my wife and I both commented today that it all of a sudden went "flat." This coffee was incredible the first 5 days we had it, but now much of the flavor has faded. The best espresso shots I've gotten have consistently been pulled from beans between 3-8 days post roast. Having said that, I'd never buy a bag of coffee off the shelf that was more than a week post roast.
It seems like 98% of the population doesn't know this though. People seem to think "fresh" coffee is anything delivered withing the last 2 months. Have I joined some sort of snob cult that is out of touch with reality, or are people generally ignorant about this?
Also, bulk bins= ruined. Still coffee is stored and sold in huge bulk barrels all over the city.
Are we an elitist cult, or does the industry have a lot of educating to do?
Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 5:56am Subject: Re: The real shelf life of good coffee
The general coffee-drinking public has been de-educated or deceived into not even knowing what fresh coffee tastes like. Some of the coffee market coffees reportedly put artificial aromas into the plastic kegs or even in the plastic itself to make the coffee smell fresh. And then there is the allegedly misleading of the consumer with products like the Friis Coffee Vault (see my review HERE). Consider that the VAST majority of coffee drinkers get their coffee from the supermarket, and whether it is form vacuum-packed bricks, large red plastic jugs, or dispensing bins, none of it is really fresh. How would they know the difference?
Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 7:13am Subject: Re: The real shelf life of good coffee
It has taken me 6 years of enthusiastic coffee drinking to realise that almost all "readily available" coffee is complete rubbish... I used to buy pre-ground from a well known tea and coffee chain, and was completely taken in by claims of freshness etc, despite the fact that it came in a paper bag sealed with tape...
It wasn't until I could afford a grinder that I realised what I'd been buying might as well have been sawdust, but even then it still produced something better than is available in most coffee shops here in the UK!
It wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't been paying more than twice what my speciality roaster charges me for a bag of fantastic quality, fresh beans!
Ignorance may be bliss, but it is also expensive. new alternator for my car = $240. Just got an excellent used one that looked very new for $10 at Pick 'n Pull. Ahh.. saved money for more green coffee!
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 7,947 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32 Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Msl. Com. brewers Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Sep 20, 2012, 5:24am Subject: Re: The real shelf life of good coffee
The flip side is that people have settled for ease of use for so long, they don't know any better. They can't understand why someone would want to roast then grind coffee when you can "get just as good" from a can that has been ground for you, at the factory on commercial equipment, so it hast to be better, right?
In real life, my name is Wayne P. Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
NobbyR Senior Member Joined: 10 Jul 2011 Posts: 2,056 Location: Germany Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo Vac Pot: N/A Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe Roaster: N/A
Posted Thu Sep 20, 2012, 5:37am Subject: Re: The real shelf life of good coffee
Like with many things, you can take different approaches to drinking coffee. One of them is to view coffee as a convenient, readily available beverage with the pleasant side effect of keeping you alert. Another is to view coffee/espresso as a gourmet product, that tastes great when prepared properly from freshly roasted and ground beans. The later is indeed an elite view.
*** "This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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