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  • Green bean storage.

    In another thread someone has expressed doubts about the viability of storing green beans for up to 3 years, he may well be right, I've never kept any as long as that to find out.
    He also commented that in his opinion they should be kept for no more than 6 months.
    My experience is that under the right conditions they can most certainly be stored for 12 months and not show any detectable signs of deterioration when roasted.

    I store my beans in cool dry conditions in a vermin proof steel cabinet, and follow a strict rotation policy of first in first out, in other words the oldest beans are selected for roasting, as tempting as it is I never break into a newly purchased batch to (try them out)
    I usually keep a stock of about 30kg on hand and tend to roast SO, although when I do blend I still make sure I select from the older stock.
    Hope this is of some help to those new to home roasting.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Yelta View Post
    In another thread someone has expressed doubts about the viability of storing green beans for up to 3 years, he may well be right, I've never kept any as long as that to find out.
    He also commented that in his opinion they should be kept for no more than 6 months.
    My experience is that under the right conditions they can most certainly be stored for 12 months and not show any detectable signs of deterioration when roasted.
    Hi Yelta.That sounds like a post I made last year. Now that you've brought it up again I should qualify what I said.
    I would still stand by the 3 year deal, I think that it's just not necessary or wise to keep beans that long, whether you are a home or commercial roaster.
    When I commented on the 6 month time frame I had just gone through a "learning experience" with one of my bean suppliers.
    I cupped some beans, Guatemalans, which were terrific, I ordered 4 bags, current crop year and started to use them,
    when I was about half way through the 280 kgs, a bit after 6 months, I noticed a definite change in the cupping of my roasts of these beans.
    I took some down to the supplier, along with some other roasts and 'blind' cupped with them.

    When these two particular beans were cupped the response was unanimous; 'old beans, pine wood, lacking freshness'.
    When I then told them which beans they were .......... well, I won't go into that side of it here but needless to say the beans had to be thrown out.
    The beans were packed in grain pro bags and I stored them in temperature and humidity controlled conditions.

    Not all beans will deteriorate this quickly, in fact these are the quickest to go off that I have come across,
    (the suppliers made all sorts of noise about it being common).
    The only other beans that I have had, which have been stale, are 2 bags of Brazilians which appeared to be an older vintage, (same supplier)
    repacked and relabelled with a more recent harvest date than what the stale hessian smell indicated. A second opinion confirmed this.

    So I would certainly agree with you, for home use, purchase beans from a known crop year, store them correctly and use them within about 12 months, maybe a little longer even, for some. In my small time commercial environment 12 months, or crop to crop is my limit but I won't purchase 12 months worth all at once.

    I think I made the point in the previous post that it's not safe to assume that all beans are going to 'go the distance', rather than make a
    hard and fast rule re 6 months.
    I know I was pretty cross at the time, so I'll see if I can find the old post to see whether or not my comments were too influenced by
    my losses, which exceeded $3k.

    Cheers.

    Comment


    • #3
      I use an esky that I got for a Christmas present that I didn't have a use for. Dunno if that's the best thing for them but it keeps and unwanted pests away from them. How else do people store beans for temperature and humidity control? I'm in an older house and it isn't all that efficient so temperatures change daily.

      First day under 30 in about 3 weeks here, nice change and must roast tonight!

      Comment


      • #4
        I bought too many beans in my early days of roasting, so I've still been roasting some beans that are upto 5 years old! They still taste good.

        Comment


        • #5
          Like Bill, my stash is a bit too large for my consumption. I have greens I bought a year ago that I haven't yet opened and I have been roasting beans bought in 2009 that taste great. The only thing I've noticed is that I need to go a bit darker and roast for espresso as light roasts aren't that flavoursome. Blends of old beans seem to work better than single origin roasts

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by chokkidog View Post
            Hi Yelta.That sounds like a post I made last year. Now that you've brought it up again I should qualify what I said.
            I would still stand by the 3 year deal, I think that it's just not necessary or wise to keep beans that long, whether you are a home or commercial roaster.
            When I commented on the 6 month time frame I had just gone through a "learning experience" with one of my bean suppliers.
            I cupped some beans, Guatemalans, which were terrific, I ordered 4 bags, current crop year and started to use them,
            when I was about half way through the 280 kgs, a bit after 6 months, I noticed a definite change in the cupping of my roasts of these beans.
            I took some down to the supplier, along with some other roasts and 'blind' cupped with them.

            When these two particular beans were cupped the response was unanimous; 'old beans, pine wood, lacking freshness'.
            When I then told them which beans they were .......... well, I won't go into that side of it here but needless to say the beans had to be thrown out.
            The beans were packed in grain pro bags and I stored them in temperature and humidity controlled conditions.

            Not all beans will deteriorate this quickly, in fact these are the quickest to go off that I have come across,
            (the suppliers made all sorts of noise about it being common).
            The only other beans that I have had, which have been stale, are 2 bags of Brazilians which appeared to be an older vintage, (same supplier)
            repacked and relabelled with a more recent harvest date than what the stale hessian smell indicated. A second opinion confirmed this.

            So I would certainly agree with you, for home use, purchase beans from a known crop year, store them correctly and use them within about 12 months, maybe a little longer even, for some. In my small time commercial environment 12 months, or crop to crop is my limit but I won't purchase 12 months worth all at once.

            I think I made the point in the previous post that it's not safe to assume that all beans are going to 'go the distance', rather than make a
            hard and fast rule re 6 months.
            I know I was pretty cross at the time, so I'll see if I can find the old post to see whether or not my comments were too influenced by
            my losses, which exceeded $3k.

            Cheers.
            G'Day Chokkidog,

            Was not taking a swipe at you, just thought a post on storing greens was timely given your mention of it in the other thread.

            Re storing for three years, like you, cant see the point, unlike wine which may improve with age the only way coffee beans can go is downhill.

            I can understand you being mightily p*ssed off at losing 140kg of beans, its a substantial hit in the back pocket, as a matter of interest after that and the relabelled bags episode did you change suppliers?

            As far as temp and humidity are concerned I'm fortunate to live in an old stone home in a very dry area, there is not a great temp and humidity fluctuation throughout the year, so storage is not a major problem for me.

            There's a big difference between a home and commercial situation, the most I've ever had on hand is around 30kg which would last me about 10 months, I'm down to a few kg right now and am contemplating another order, I tend to buy about 3 or 4 times a year, as you say don't put all your eggs in one basket.

            I've been lucky, have not had any beans deteriorate noticeably so far, but I agree it could happen.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by dan77 View Post
              I use an esky that I got for a Christmas present that I didn't have a use for. Dunno if that's the best thing for them but it keeps and unwanted pests away from them. How else do people store beans for temperature and humidity control? I'm in an older house and it isn't all that efficient so temperatures change daily.

              First day under 30 in about 3 weeks here, nice change and must roast tonight!
              Not sure about the esky Dan, will certainly tend to stabilise the temp, however as the beans age they will tend to lose some of their moisture and in a sealed esky mould may become a problem.

              Comment


              • #8
                Sounds like your storage conditions must be pretty right Bill.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by flynnaus View Post
                  Like Bill, my stash is a bit too large for my consumption. I have greens I bought a year ago that I haven't yet opened and I have been roasting beans bought in 2009 that taste great. The only thing I've noticed is that I need to go a bit darker and roast for espresso as light roasts aren't that flavoursome. Blends of old beans seem to work better than single origin roasts
                  As I've commented in the past, I'm a big fan of darker roasts (around CS9) certainly not to the point of oiliness, perhaps this tends to mask any age defects.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Yelta View Post
                    As I've commented in the past, I'm a big fan of darker roasts (around CS9) certainly not to the point of oiliness, perhaps this tends to mask any age defects.
                    Darker roasts may tend to mask certain flavours, full stop. Not sure. My palate is not that sensitive to speak authoratively. I usually don't get the florals or citrus notes from beans that have those characteristics unless I roast lightly.

                    I might roast lightly for a manual brewing method or make a single origin blend of 50% light + 50% dark (well worth a try, I reckon especially if you accidentally went too a little too dark on a roast. Make a nother light roast of the same size)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by flynnaus View Post
                      Darker roasts may tend to mask certain flavours, full stop. Not sure. My palate is not that sensitive to speak authoratively. I usually don't get the florals or citrus notes from beans that have those characteristics unless I roast lightly.

                      I might roast lightly for a manual brewing method or make a single origin blend of 50% light + 50% dark (well worth a try, I reckon especially if you accidentally went too a little too dark on a roast. Make a nother light roast of the same size)
                      Well there you go, I deliberately avoid any beans advertised as showing floral or citrus flavours, not at all to my taste.
                      And as I've already stated, I much prefer dark to light roasts, always have.
                      Good job we're not all the same.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Yelta View Post
                        G'Day Chokkidog,

                        Was not taking a swipe at you, just thought a post on storing greens was timely given your mention of it in the other thread.
                        Hey Yelta, All is good, :-) I wasn't thinking you were but just thought I'd flesh out your reference to my earlier post, which I can't find...... yet.

                        It's great to hear other peoples experiences. The premature ageing defects showed up when the beans were roasted for cupping.
                        It was also a bean selected for filter roast, it was fairly singing for the first few months. It didn't roast well into espresso roast either
                        which may have some bearing on what happened, it sort of faded away after what CS's would call CS8.
                        The change after 6 months was quite remarkable, from juicy and lively, sweet berry and cocoa to ..........flat, one dimensional and distinctly pine wood.
                        I gave some to another roaster who verified my results before they became mulch. SweetM's also mention that some age defects can be
                        somewhat masked by darker roasting...............

                        Likewise with the repacked beans, they were also shown to yet another roaster, who picked the age defect immediately.
                        I have a strong suspicion that the repacking occurred at origin, in someone's warehouse and didn't happen here.
                        Other than the condition of the beans, there were strands of hessian in amongst the beans, which were now in grain pro and
                        synthetic bags...........hmmmmmmm and boy! did they smell! Repacking is probably more common that what I'm aware of
                        but these beans had an added dimension.8-D

                        I've now taken a philosophical attitude towards my experience and have learnt from it, I have also become more circumspect about what I am told.

                        I have not had any issues with any other beans from any other supplier, including BB. Andy is my benchmark for straight talking.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Yelta View Post
                          Not sure about the esky Dan, will certainly tend to stabilise the temp, however as the beans age they will tend to lose some of their moisture and in a sealed esky mould may become a problem.
                          I didn't know they would sweat that much? I'll keep an eye on it but haven't had a problem to date. The heshem bags probably absorb the moisture. Cheers!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Beans need a bit of airflow to stay fresh so unless you want your greens to pick up funky esky odours and possibly a hint of mould or mildew I would suggest finding something else to store them in.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Grainpro and vac seem to work pretty well with minimal to zero airflow- but as per the others, my philosophy is buy fresh, use fresh.

                              One exception was my final batch of Yemen Matari at 5 years old....This one was even better (to my palate) than when it was young.

                              I guess it's like wines- some may improve, just as many might be on a fast track to vinegar!

                              Ultimately, it's probably well worth an experiment to see if you can perceive anything

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