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Is 6 months a realistic stale date for valve bag technology?
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Is 6 months a...  
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Michael_Teahan
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Michael_Teahan
Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 137
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Vac Pot: Vintage for collecting only
Roaster: None
Posted Thu Jan 22, 2004, 3:04pm
Subject: Re: Is 6 months a realistic stale date for valve bag technology?
 

Resting is key and I think 3 days is minimum.  THe chrema overload you get from fresh coffee is overwhelming.

The Illy tins are actually under positive nitro pressure.  THe issue for the italians on resting is whether the rest occurs with exposure to o2 or not.  THe silos at Passal Acqua were filled with nitrogen.  

THe flavor profile differences you experienced are to be expected; the coffee from Italy clearly wasn't stale, as you indicated.  Illy is a very distinct profile and quite different from darker (american interpretations, a derivative of the Peet's, Starbucks profile that no one ever wants to own) roasts; so it's natural to see a shocking difference.  

I will never get into a 'whose coffee is better' discussion; only whose coffee I like better.  My partner at the desk across from me was raised in Naples and has a less than humble opinion about espresso and we have very different tastes.  He likes the kick you get from Robusta coffees, some of which are more expensive than arabicas; while I'm just not into it.

Americans are also the only people I know that DON'T use sugar when they taste/drink espresso. ???  

There is no right or wrong regarding flavor---there is a right or wrong when it comes to process and handling.

Someday, we will be judging and drinking coffee like wine and appreciating the variation rather than being critical of the differences.

There is a lot more to Italian coffees than Illy ;=]

Michael
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robertm03
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Joined: 19 Jan 2004
Posts: 23
Location: California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90
Grinder: Mazzer mini
Vac Pot: none
Drip: Krups thermos brewer?
Roaster: none yet
Posted Thu Jan 22, 2004, 3:22pm
Subject: Re: Is 6 months a realistic stale date for valve bag technology?
 

"There is no right or wrong regarding flavor---there is a right or wrong when it comes to process and handling.

Someday, we will be judging and drinking coffee like wine and appreciating the variation rather than being critical of the differences.

There is a lot more to Italian coffees than Illy ;=]"

Well said.

I would never make claims for "best coffee", because I can be easily influenced (+ or -) by the cup in front of me at any given time.  I also do not mean to imply that I prefer an American roast profile. Instead, I wanted to refer to the extra kick of "freshness" (for lack of a better word), that is something most of the coffee drinking world never experiences. I do enjoy that, and think others would too.  

What do you mean when you say "american interpretations, a derivative of the Peet's, Starbucks profile that no one ever wants to own"? I mean, I understand the profile you refer to, but no one ever wants to own?

I really enjoy your posts, and hope this isn't coming across as argumentative.
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Michael_Teahan
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Michael_Teahan
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Location: Los Angeles
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Vac Pot: Vintage for collecting only
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Posted Thu Jan 22, 2004, 4:16pm
Subject: Re: Is 6 months a realistic stale date for valve bag technology?
 

I was hoping not to come across as argumentative as well, cuz I'm really not that way.

Seems that most of the coffees coming out of the Seattle area were dark roasts; Peets taught Starbux hot to roast in the first place  (why San Francisco was the last market they entered).  To compete with Big Green, roasters had to compete with the roasting profile.  Not to match--they could certainly do better--but it affected the market.

The 'no one wants to admit part' derives from the disdain most specialty roasters have for the Jolly Green Giant.  Torrefazione (literally means Coffee Toaster) is a great coffee, but mysteriously darker than anything I could find in Italy.  Hmm. . . . .Seattle based . . . .connect the dots.

Most in this country still think that 'espresso roast' means something.  It doesn't.  French roast, as I understand, came from re-roasting coffee that had soured while on its way to the french colonies (something some roasters still do today--no names please).  Espresso roast SHOULD mean nothing more than the appropriate level of roast for coffees used, designed to match the extraction characteristics of the espresso machine.  Italians tend not to roast any darker than american coffees.  Full city roasting imparts a flavor profile to the coffee not inherent in the bean--but that in no way should be seen as a bad thing--just different.

My wife even looks at me sideways when I use 'espresso' beans in our american brewer.  

I'm working on her.

Michael
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cafedj
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Joined: 3 Oct 2003
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Espresso: Bialetti, Aeropress
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Vac Pot: Bodum
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Roaster: Counter Culture
Posted Thu Jan 22, 2004, 5:15pm
Subject: Re: Is 6 months a realistic stale date for valve bag technology?
 

I really like this discussion, and hope it continues.

I have an update from the roaster I contacted regarding their bags not making bean bricks in my freezer.

They say their bag supplier when contacted says that low temps may be distorting the valves and compromising their functioning.  The roaster is doing their own tests and I'm expecting a followup next week.

I'm not convinced yet that my freezer temps are low enough to make the valves stop working, but can't deny it's possible.  I'm sure they are designed as cheaply as possible, and a wide temp range could have been sacrificed.

It's certainly also possible that small leaks in the bags, or the seals at the ends, are simply bypassing the valves.

If I learn anything new I'll post it.


I was interested to see the comments about Torrefazione.  Some years ago I found their coffee and it immediately shot to the top of my list.   For several reasons I stopped buying it after a while, but never forgot that taste.   Several months ago I tried my favorite blend of theirs again, and could have sworn the roast had changed for the darker, and not for the better.  I asked them about it and they say it hasn't changed, but I'm unconvinced.
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Michael_Teahan
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Michael_Teahan
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Location: Los Angeles
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Vac Pot: Vintage for collecting only
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Posted Thu Jan 22, 2004, 5:50pm
Subject: Re: Is 6 months a realistic stale date for valve bag technology?
 

A freezer will usually stop everything from going bad so long as the seal is good enough to prevent moisture from drawing out of the coffee and there is limited exposure to air in the bag to prevent freezer burn.  If you only allow enough coffee to unfreeze that you use in a day or so, the condenstation from exposure to air is not an issue.

One of the most talented coffee taster I ever knew, Bud Dominguez from K&F coffee, used to freeze Jamaican Blue because he could never sell enough to match his roast capacity and still keep fresh.  Anything he did was fine with me.  

All we are trying to do is stop UV disentegration (as happens with vynal dashboards in cars) and oxidation.  Anyway you can di it is fine.  The anti-freezing camp is a little enthusiastic, I think.

Torreffazione makes one of the nicest presentations around, especially being so big.  THe fact they once merged with Seattles Best Coffee and was bought by Popeye's Frid Chicken didn't seem to hurt them much.  Amazing.  They kept seperate offices in the same building, I don't think they even talked to anyone else.

I don't know if Starbux got them in the SBC buyout.  Would be a shame if they did.

The Fried Chicken link , though, still cracks me up.

Michael
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buzz_me
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Joined: 5 Nov 2003
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Posted Thu Jan 22, 2004, 6:36pm
Subject: Re: Is 6 months a realistic stale date for valve bag technology?
 

Great thread!

I just received two pounds of Black Cat today and will likely be able to use 1 pound of it over the next week.  Intelligentsia (sp?) told me the best way to store the remaining coffee was at room temp in an airtight container such as tupper ware, but not to leave it in the bag.

Is this the best advice or should I freeze the remaining pound?
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Michael_Teahan
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Michael_Teahan
Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 137
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Vac Pot: Vintage for collecting only
Roaster: None
Posted Thu Jan 22, 2004, 6:47pm
Subject: Re: Is 6 months a realistic stale date for valve bag technology?
 

I know I will be crucified for this--I'm used to it--but if you seal the remaining coffee and expell the air, a freezer is fine by me.  Air bad, UV bad, freezer burn (cuz theres air in the bag) bad.

Sealed and opaque is fine for room temp storage if you eliminate the oxidation process and the oils from going rancid.  A freezer will prevent that if handled properly.  Black Cat, from what I hear is very good and as a roaster they get high marks.

But then again, I'm not trying to sell coffee, either.

Try it yourself.  Match up the last bit of coffee from the bit you left out to use with the batch stored in the freezer and see what you think.  Lots of variables , as always, but your mouth is the ONLY mouth that counts here.

Michael
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MOSFET
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MOSFET
Joined: 31 Dec 2003
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Location: Long Island, NY
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Posted Thu Jan 22, 2004, 6:48pm
Subject: Re: Is 6 months a realistic stale date for valve bag technology?
 

Perfect solution: Send me the second pound!

I gave my comment above on vacuum storage which I'll stick to, but if you don't have the stuff then I would probably take their advice as they probably know what they're talking about.

Keith
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MOSFET
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MOSFET
Joined: 31 Dec 2003
Posts: 376
Location: Long Island, NY
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Linea
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Vac Pot: Hoover
Drip: Post-nasal
Roaster: Perdue Oven-Stuffer
Posted Thu Jan 22, 2004, 6:51pm
Subject: Re: Is 6 months a realistic stale date for valve bag technology?
 

Another idea. And I like Michael's idea about experimenting with half and half. How about this: Put some of the remainder in a tupperware container with plenty of airspace, then stuff all the airspace with cotton balls. Should stave oxidation and moisture contamination.

We are really geeks.

Keith
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Michael_Teahan
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Michael_Teahan
Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 137
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Vac Pot: Vintage for collecting only
Roaster: None
Posted Thu Jan 22, 2004, 6:55pm
Subject: Re: Is 6 months a realistic stale date for valve bag technology?
 

Just squeeze, seal it and freeze it.  Cotton hold a lot of air and you don't want to pull moisture from the beans, just stop whatever is going on inside the little guys.  Shut em down till you're ready to soak em.

Michael
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