There are many factors to buying great coffee such as bean type and roast. When buying roasted coffee from a purveyor, they have chosen for you the type of roast and coffee bean type. Provided that you have found this choice satisfactory, we hope this simple guide will help you in selecting fresh roasted coffee.
Before we begin remember that beans are at their peak of fresh flavor between one day and two weeks after they are roasted. The first twenty-four hours right after the coffee comes out of the roaster is considered the resting period. During this time coffee are too fresh to taste their best and need a little time to rest. If you are a home roaster, please keep this in mind when roasting green coffee beans. If you brew coffee during this resting period, too much carbon dioxide is still contained in the bean. When water is added the beans will rise to the top preventing the coffee from being extracted fully into the water. Many buyers will have small specialty shops that roast their beans fresh every day, please keep the above information in mind when buying freshly roasted coffee.
Labels – Labels on the fresh roasted coffee should have their roast date. You want to consume the coffee within two weeks of this roast date.
Best by Date – Ignore this. Some coffee manufactures will tell you coffee is best within a year but this is quite false. The coffee might be drinkable but it is no where near its peak freshness.
Packaging – Certain packaging keep coffee beans better than others. Oxygen is bad for beans as oxidization degrades the quality and is the catalyst for staleness. Beans that are packaged with nitrogen tend to keep better than those surrounded with normal air that contains oxygen. In addition, the best packaging for keeping fresh coffees are the one-way valve bags. These allow air to exit but do not allow air to come into the bag.
Aroma – Your nose is a great indicator for fresh beans? Ask yourself does it smell right. If you are familiar with the type of bean and roasting from previous consumption, ask yourself do you detect any irregularities.
Store/Turnover – Certain stores sell more coffee than others. Check to see how often that store sells out of inventory.
Ask Questions – Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Reputable specialty stores are quite knowledgeable and will not be offended when you as particular questions about their products.