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Beans - roast dates on packets and keeping beans in the hopper overnight

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  • Beans - roast dates on packets and keeping beans in the hopper overnight

    As a noob, there are a couple of things that puzzle me.

    1. There are a number of roasters in my locality. The two that seem to be the largest, and who supply many of the cafés in the area, don't have roast dates on the packets that they sell. In the largest of them I asked about this and was told it was company policy not to. I was given a rough date for the packet in my hand. Tough question for someone working on the sales counter I guess. At the other retailer I was also given a rough date, but not in a way that inspired me with confidence. Both places said that beans were 5-7 days old. Now I understand the problems of stock management that putting dates on packets would cause, but how would they know what is older stock? I've also bought beans from a smaller local roaster and one packet had a date, and one didn't, but in that case I was speaking to a roaster who could provide precise info about the roast date.

    My question is: is not putting a roast date on a packet standard practice?

    2. With this pursuit of fresh beans - do people leave them in the hopper overnight, or put excess beans back into the ziploc bag with anti-gas valve thingy? I only put beans into the hopper in small quantities, so there's usually less than a cup's worth in the hopper overnight. Is this one of those things that matters or is not worth worrying about?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Maybe 'cos in any one bag there is more than one roast date?? (unsold older coffee being mixed with new??.... yes, it happens)

    Putting roast dates on bags actually makes stock management easier; if it's too old to sell ..... throw it out, or give to local

    community garden to compost.

    Leaving roast dates off bags should be seen as a deliberate attempt to deceive customers.

    Any self respecting roaster who properly manages roast schedules and who values their own and their customer's integrity will (roast) date their coffee bags.

    Strong words, I know.....but if you take pride in what you do........

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow! I've never seen a bag of coffee without a roast date or use by date on it. Our policy where I used to work was roast date and use by date (which was 365 days later: yes, ridiculous but required). If there isn't a roast date the use by date is 365 days after roasting/bagging as required by law.

      Comment


      • #4
        Chokkidog is right: I've seen older batches mixed in with newer. I've seen blends that didn't move well placed on the front counter labelled 'Special of the Week'.

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        • #5
          Well, as I say I am still new at this, but it does seem to be the norm so far in my purchases and browsing in the national capital.

          In all the shock and outrage please don't forget Qu2.

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          • #6
            I assume you are asking about the pre-sealed bags? The roasters around here store the beans in containers and weight them out when you order them and there's no date on them then. But they know when they roasted them. The beans do lose flavour if you leave them out overnight. I don't weight shots but can usually judge close enough to not need to leave any out. People with better palates then mine are more fussy.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by sprezzatura View Post
              Wow! I've never seen a bag of coffee without a roast date or use by date on it. Our policy where I used to work was roast date and use by date (which was 365 days later: yes, ridiculous but required). If there isn't a roast date the use by date is 365 days after roasting/bagging as required by law.
              Im pretty certain a use by or any date is not actually the law, since there are many big commercial brands that have no date at all on the packets.!
              Some have "code" numbers that may relate to production dates, but certainly not decipherable by the general public.
              also , some well known brands have "use by," or "best before" dates that are way more than 365 days beyond roasting. 18 - 24 months is not uncommon.
              only a very few "commercial" brands put the roast date on the packs.
              But, if the OP was thinking of the smaller "local" roasters , then I would suggest ...
              1) avoid any roaster that does not date their product.
              2) avoid any roaster that stores his product in those clear plastic hoppers.
              3) don't leave beans in the grinder hopper unless you plan to consume them within 12 hrs or so.
              At some stage in the dosing process you have to "measure" (weigh or volume) the coffee, so you may as well do that before you put it in the grinder,...and leave the rest of the beans sealed in the bag !

              Comment


              • #8
                Food labelling laws are pretty specific but leave some loopholes.

                Labelling requirements for food products were mailed out by my local council last year, see this link for what the law says:

                Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

                And some guidelines from Geelong ( not my shire but I recycled my info letter).

                https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/...quirements.pdf

                You can see where roasters who display (multiple roast date) coffee in open bins get around the laws, under the

                ' exemptions from labelling laws ' section:

                "Exemptions from labelling requirements
                Some foods are generally exempt from some of the labelling requirements and these include:
                ****food that is not packaged;*****
                ****food made and packaged from the premises from which it is sold;*****
                ****food packaged in front of the purchaser;*****"

                There is nothing specific to coffee, unfortunately.
                It is considered a 'low risk' product.

                I provide a roast date on the front of the package and a 'coffee is best
                enjoyed within 4 weeks of roast date' on the back.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by blend52 View Post
                  Im pretty certain a use by or any date is not actually the law, since there are many big commercial brands that have no date at all on the packets.!
                  Some have "code" numbers that may relate to production dates, but certainly not decipherable by the general public.
                  also , some well known brands have "use by," or "best before" dates that are way more than 365 days beyond roasting. 18 - 24 months is not uncommon.
                  only a very few "commercial" brands put the roast date on the packs.
                  But, if the OP was thinking of the smaller "local" roasters , then I would suggest ...
                  1) avoid any roaster that does not date their product.
                  2) avoid any roaster that stores his product in those clear plastic hoppers.
                  3) don't leave beans in the grinder hopper unless you plan to consume them within 12 hrs or so.
                  At some stage in the dosing process you have to "measure" (weigh or volume) the coffee, so you may as well do that before you put it in the grinder,...and leave the rest of the beans sealed in the bag !
                  I stand corrected: I should not have said by law. Perhaps there are guidelines (maybe ACCC has them?). A subject for research today!

                  Yes - we used codes for batch and date. We could let the customers know by glancing at the code.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks. Yes, I was referring to the small, sealed packets (250gms, 500gms) you buy from local roasters. I have encountered only one place that sells beans stored in bulk in large hoppers - I assume they'd scoop beans into a smaller bag. I assume they put newly roasted beans in at the top and sell from the bottom. I haven't talked to them about roast dates, but unless they sell a lot of coffee I felt that there would always be a question about freshness, and they wouldn't really know themselves.

                    One question I'd like to ask as a noob is where others in my vicinity buy their beans, and are there any that include roast dates? I gather that this question (where to buy) is not allowed here - but if any residents of the national capital wanted to send me a PM about this they'd be most welcome to do so. The one place that did is a very small local roaster, and while I like to support local, they have a *very* limited range of beans / roasts.

                    One option is to buy from Andy, and I'd thinking seriously about that. The freight that adds 50% to the cost of a 500gm bag is unfortunate.

                    On my Qu2 about the leaving beans in a hopper, another noob follow-up question. I take it that there's no problem with running a grinder empty for short periods, i.e. - if I put in around 18gms of beans and run the grinder until they're all well and truly done - that's not a problem?

                    p.s. My general understanding about standards bodies is that their standards are recommendations unless and until a government - national, state / territory or local - legislates them, but then food standards are outside my professional experience.
                    Last edited by gunda; 1 September 2014, 09:57 AM. Reason: comment about standards

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gunda View Post
                      One question I'd like to ask as a noob is where others in my vicinity buy their beans, and are there any that include roast dates? I gather that this question (where to buy) is not allowed here -
                      p.s. My general understanding about standards bodies is that their standards are recommendations unless and until a government - national, state / territory or local - legislates them, but then food standards are outside my professional experience.
                      Where are you located?? Roasters can be recommended but website links can't be posted.

                      Labelling standards:
                      Country of origin claims and the Australian Consumer Law - Other labelling laws | ACCC

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm in the ACT. I read this post by Andy as indicating that questions about where to buy were off-limits.

                        Based on that ACCC page, I think my comments about standards were right. Standards bodies don't create law on their own, in this case the states & territories have chosen to legislate them, as they often do.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Regardless of what labelling requirements may or may not be by law, I simply refuse to buy packaged roasted beans that do not clearly state the roast date.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by gunda View Post
                            As a noob, there are a couple of things that puzzle me.

                            1. There are a number of roasters in my locality. The two that seem to be the largest, and who supply many of the cafés in the area, don't have roast dates on the packets that they sell. In the largest of them I asked about this and was told it was company policy not to. I was given a rough date for the packet in my hand. Tough question for someone working on the sales counter I guess. At the other retailer I was also given a rough date, but not in a way that inspired me with confidence. Both places said that beans were 5-7 days old. Now I understand the problems of stock management that putting dates on packets would cause, but how would they know what is older stock? I've also bought beans from a smaller local roaster and one packet had a date, and one didn't, but in that case I was speaking to a roaster who could provide precise info about the roast date.

                            My question is: is not putting a roast date on a packet standard practice?
                            The Cosmorex beans have a batch sticker which, if you can be bothered you can ring them up and ask for the roast date. I've had no problem getting them to tell me the roast date when picking up a bag from the Fyshwick shop. I don't get it....but that's it's their choice I guess. Something like their Rio Blend, may well be a blend from different roast dates (with the robusta being left to rest a bit longer)....but who knows?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I ordered from Beanbay & several CS sponsors, they ALL have roast date on the bag. Recently tried a roaster in Potts Point, they only put "Best Before 22 Aug, 2016" on it, which to my surprise. They roast everyday and send out immediately but first time to see Best Before by a roaster apart from those aged one in supermarket.

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