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Age of beans - don't judge a book by its cover

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  • Age of beans - don't judge a book by its cover

    Yesterday I went to one of the better cafes here in Melbourne (Black Velvet on Exhibition St) to get some beans.

    I told the barista I like a chocolatey nutty taste and he instantly suggested their house blend, even though they had lots of SOs.

    But when I bought the beans and walked back to my office I noticed the roast date was 7 May, so the beans were 16 days old.

    A little disappointed, I thought about taking them back, as 16 days is hardly fresh considering they roast on the premises, particularly for their house blend, but decided I'd at least give them a go.

    So this morning I made a flat white, and first shot out out of the grinder made the most delicious chocolatey nutty coffee that I've had in a while.

    So the moral of the story is, don't always judge a bean by the roast date!

    As they packed the beans in front of me, rather than giving me a pre-packaged bag from the shelf, I can guess they've worked out that their beans really get going about 2 weeks after roasting.

    It also made me think that when I buy other beans in future, I should hold some back into the 3rd and maybe 4th week, so see how they change.

  • #2
    I get really frustrated with some beginner snob co-workers who insist that the unless the beans are within a week of roasting they are stale! Whereas i dont even open some of my home roasted bags until 14 days minimum.

    I applaud the fact that people are now more aware of supporting local roasteries of vacuum packed beans but that insistence that fresh is always best really doesn't translate well when it comes to coffee.

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    • #3
      One bean is not like the other... I roast my own and always try my first batch of a new bean in the first few days, as I've had some varieties that lose some really nice flavours within 5-6 days. In contrast, others are undrinkable for a week, passable after two and awesome after three. And just when you figure out the best roast profile, rest period and brew method, they're out of stock...

      almost forgot the moral of my story - trust the guys that know what they're doing...

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      • #4
        Amazing, 16 days and you think there old. Some Indo beans aren't worth tasting until 10+ days and MM, I rest for 18 days before I crack them.

        I think you owe Black Velvet an apology!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Jonty View Post
          Amazing, 16 days and you think there old. Some Indo beans aren't worth tasting until 10+ days and MM, I rest for 18 days before I crack them.

          I think you owe Black Velvet an apology!
          I don't think anything in my OP was explicitly or implicitly negative about Black Velvet? Quite the opposite, I went in and told them what kind of taste I was after, and they gave me beans which matched exactly the taste I wanted.

          They also gave me their house blend, rather than any of the many SOs they had available, so it wasn't like they were trying to offload either a more expensive bean or some old SOs.

          So while I walked away thinking that the beans were a little on the old side, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and tried them, hence the subject line.

          But just to make it clear, I'm a big fan of Black Velvet on Exhibition St. Really nice people, great take away coffee and great roasted beans!

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          • #6
            Yep.

            General rule of thumb where I am is that coffees with lighter roast profiles require a longer period for optimum flavour development than their darker roasted counterparts. However, as with anything coffee related, it really does depend on the coffee.
            Last edited by bhamilton; 25 June 2013, 05:08 PM.

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            • #7
              I'd love to learn more about this "rule of thumb". I understand Cup of Excellence samples are to be cupped no earlier than 8hr and no later than 24hrs from roast. Usually an agtron card # 55+ (med or lighter).

              I'm interested to see how a lighter roasted coffee would require more degassing than a darker roasted one, what is the science behind it? (genuinely interested).

              I will drink my 'filter' roasts 24hrs post roast, and darker stuff on the espresso machine usually after 2 or 3 days. Also agree that some just hit the sweet spot later on, and some die off earlier than expected also. So many variables, and so many different coffees.

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              • #8
                all coffee needs 10 - 14 days resting before they are at there prime. sounds like you got a ripper batch

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BeanAroundTown View Post
                  all coffee needs 10 - 14 days resting before they are at there prime. sounds like you got a ripper batch
                  all coffee eh? hah

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BeanAroundTown View Post
                    all coffee needs 10 - 14 days resting before they are at there prime. sounds like you got a ripper batch
                    I would have to disagree here. I would think the amount of resting required depends on many factors; origin, how it was processed(wet,dried), the roasting profile...etc.

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                    • #11
                      I like my home roast as a filter coffee the day after its been roasted - but admittedly it drinks better with time

                      Some of my favourite coffees have been two to three weeks post roast (and longer) - I would say that a lighter roast has less 'secondary' or darker roast characteristics, and that its own distinctive character takes longer to develop

                      Lighter roasts taste (to me) green and somewhat acidic when young but can develop beautiful balanced complexity as they age, not unlike a fine wine - course each bean and blend is different and deserves to be judged on its own merits...

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                      • #12
                        I notice a distinct drop in flavour after my beans have reached 6 days after roasting. That is my experience with all SO's including PNG, Yirgacheffe, Honduras, Monsooned Malabar etc.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paolo View Post
                          I notice a distinct drop in flavour after my beans have reached 6 days after roasting. That is my experience with all SO's including PNG, Yirgacheffe, Honduras, Monsooned Malabar etc.
                          It's funny how taste is such a subjective thing.... It's a bit like saying tomato and tomato (and also funny that the saying doesn't translate onto a page from the verbal) if that makes sense.

                          I believe that most of the roasts I do, SO, blend or miscellaneous brew are just starting to come on line flavour wise after about a week, with most hitting their straps at about 3. Not the same for every bean of course but as an overall line of best fit I would say that it is certainly the case for my palette.

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                          • #14
                            Maybe taste subjectivity isn't the only factor at play there; roast degree and storage method have a significant impact.

                            I've had a few roasts that were great within a few days, but some most seem to be best after 7-10. That said, I've not left them longer than that before opening the bag. Impatient

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