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Never trust a use by date or can we?

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  • Never trust a use by date or can we?

    I've either roasted my own or bought beans with a known roast date as opposed to a use by date. We all know the importance of knowing when beans are roasted. I recently had a coffee at a small roasting house in SA. It was one of the best coffees I've had. I got sucked in and bought a retail pack (use by Aug 14) of 250gms and when I got home and made a cup on my VBM Jnr it was equally as good. I was so impressed I ordered a kilo. When it arrived it had a use by date of Sep 14. It was stale. Very stale. I had a few cups then threw the rest out. I emailed them and made a formal complaint. I even asked them why they don't give a roast on date but they haven't replied. My first bag, which was really nice, I'm guessing was only a few days post roast date. So my question .... Should you only buy beans when you know the roast date or can we trust a use by date.

  • #2
    I think you have answered your own question!

    Roasted date gives you all the info you need, useby date is probably a food regulation, set perhaps a year post roast? Maybe some roasters make the period shorter? Either way you are guessing the roast date.

    Cheers

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    • #3
      Maybe the retail packs are packed in the shop and the online order stuff sits in a warehouse? (if you ordered online - you don't say) Stuff being shipped is often pciked and sent from a central location.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Journeyman View Post
        Maybe the retail packs are packed in the shop and the online order stuff sits in a warehouse? (if you ordered online - you don't say) Stuff being shipped is often pciked and sent from a central location.
        Yes, ordered on line and it did take 6 days to arrive so that makes it worse

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        • #5
          A couple of months ago my local council sent a notice to all registered food producers re labelling laws.

          Products are supposed to have a 'use by' or 'best before' date. Also nutrition, origin, contents description, name, address and contact..... and a few
          other things.

          My coffee has a roast date on the front and a ' Coffee is best enjoyed within 4 weeks of roast date ', on the back.

          This gives me a little bit of time margin but also protects me from anyone who might try and complain that their 6 month old coffee is stale.
          Last edited by chokkidog; 8 March 2014, 03:09 PM.

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          • #6
            I wish they all did that chokko.

            I'll put it down to a learning experience. I just thought I'd have a break from roasting.

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            • #7
              You know it's funny the things you find from some roasters popping up everywhere, I had friends who kept going on about how good this place was near where I go model RC racing, it was constantly a case of you have to try this place, they do really great coffee.

              So not all that long ago, I stopped in, can't say I was a fan of the painful modern decor, very trendy place, the cup I had on the spot was not bad, certainly better than stopping at a coffee club etc and getting something near undrinkable, I have had better though, but it was a nice FW of their own shop blend, good enough for me to buy a smaller pack of one of their other blends that the guy raved about in store.

              But, I got it home, and found that for a start, I have had better (and worse to be fair), also I found it aged way to quick to have been freshly roasted very recently, By the end of the week I was pulling shots from it, there was that distinct 3 week old taste to me, maybe roast etc, but it just tasted like it had already been over a week old when I bought it, though the fast they only had pre packaged lots on a shelf in store did make me wonder about how frequently they roasted.

              I am a horrible freshness snob though, even though I could save money buying a KG at a time, I always buy a half KG these days cause I'm not keen on the mild fall off of many coffees once they hit the three week mark, sounds so awfully snobby right?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Bishop View Post
                I am a horrible freshness snob though, even though I could save money buying a KG at a time, I always buy a half KG these days cause I'm not keen on the mild fall off of many coffees once they hit the three week mark, sounds so awfully snobby right?
                You are perfectly entitled to feel like that. We pay a lot of money for our equipment and we pay a lot of money for when we order roasted coffee beans. This is a food product and we expect it to be fresh. I will continue to roast my own and I will now ONLY buy roasted coffee beans with a roast on date. That we we control the freshness.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bishop View Post
                  I'm not keen on the mild fall off of many coffees once they hit the three week mark, sounds so awfully snobby right?
                  Don't get too hung up on that, I roast my own and have found that sometimes the beans are just starting to kick goals at 3 weeks

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