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Thread: Date codes on pre-packaged beans

  1. #1
    Junior Member goodbyesoberday's Avatar
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    Date codes on pre-packaged beans

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi Snobs,

    I have a question revolving around personal affairs a trifle dirty, crude and unpleasant. Please, a little patience and understanding:

    I was at the supermarket this evening buying some Beans of Desperation for tomorrow morning's Emergency Work Espresso. As I was pawing through the selection, I noted the huge variation in best before dates on the different beans available -- varying by over five months (Feb 2016 - Jul 2016) both across and within brands.

    Which made me wonder, is there a 'de facto' standard for the time duration of the date code/best/before/expiry printed on a bag of roasted beans on the market shelf?

    Seeing dates of July next year, I assume a code of 1 year from packaging but I also know how easy it is to "extend the shelf life" of a product simply by adding a few extra months to the date coder. So, I was wondering how the best before reflects the actual packaging date in shitty supermarket coffee. 1 year? 18 months? 2 years? crapshoot??

    I was morbidly curious after buying my big ol' bag of Caffé Aurora that says its good till July next year.

    Your thoughts and expert opinions are appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodbyesoberday View Post
    I was morbidly curious after buying my big ol' bag of Caffé Aurora that says its good till July next year.
    If you were to buy this, it would be an interesting experiment to pull the best shot you can out of it now and take a movie of the extraction and record the grinder settings and then put aside some of the beans to repeat next June
    (I don't expect anyone to be able to compare taste/mouthfeel etc of 2 shots across a year)

  3. #3
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    In Australia & New Zealand, an “appropriate durability indication date is required.” Foods with a Use-By date mean the food cannot be legally sold or consumed after that date. Foods with Best Before dates may still be sold after the date (but the food item may not retain some of the specific qualities claimed on the product).- See more at: Be Food Smart - When Food Expires: Understanding Expiration Dates

    The dates shown on supermarket coffee is a guide for when it should be removed from the shelves which is nothing to do with when the brew will be at its best. The date shown is often one or two years after roasting, by which time it may best be used as a garden mulch.

    I, and many other CoffeeSnobs, like to use my coffee after a few days rest and before 3 or 4 weeks after roasting. Let your taste buds be your guide. Many good roasters show the date roasted on their packages.

    Enjoy your coffee.

    Barry
    Andy likes this.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaanage View Post
    If you were to buy this, it would be an interesting experiment to pull the best shot you can out of it now and take a movie of the extraction and record the grinder settings and then put aside some of the beans to repeat next June
    (I don't expect anyone to be able to compare taste/mouthfeel etc of 2 shots across a year)
    and.. You would have to buy 2 bags with the same BBefore date, because as soon as you opened the first to sample it, you have changed the sealed storage conditions for the remaining contents !

    To gbsd,.. "BBefore" and "Use By" dates vary from different Roasters.
    Some are 12 months from "packing" date ( that may not be the same as roasting date !) , whilst others can be as long as 24 months.
    I used to be confident that Harris and Vittoria was 12 months , but I noticed recently some bags of Vittoria with a Best Before date of 29/9/16,.. So something has changed there .?..they have probably pushed it out to 14 or 16 months.
    Unless I am desperate, and there is a "special" on with bags of 12 + months on the BBefore date,.. I avoid these Supermarket beans and stick to something with an actual roast date marked. ( but then they are usually weeks past their best !)
    Stores that stock Tobys seem to keep them pretty fresh, so they are the best bet.
    All of this is a very rare situation for me as there are several commercial roasters, and coffee shops with packs of fresh roast beans, within easy walking distance of home.
    .....and I have my faithful popper too !
    Last edited by Javaphile; 10th September 2015 at 08:59 AM. Reason: Replaced BeanBay with Best Before - Abbreviations = Confusion

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    Quote Originally Posted by blend52 View Post
    and.. You would have to buy 2 bags with the same BBefore date, because as soon as you opened the first to sample it, you have changed the sealed storage conditions for the remaining contents !
    Have you looked at a bag of Aurora? There's no one way valve - it's just a sealed plastic bag. Putting aside some beans in an airtight jar or platic container would be enough

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    Yes,... It's a " sealed" plastic bag, and you have to break the seal to remove a sample, thus changing the " as sealed" condition.
    what if those " sealed" bags were nitrogen purged before sealing ?

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaanage View Post
    Have you looked at a bag of Aurora? There's no one way valve - it's just a sealed plastic bag. Putting aside some beans in an airtight jar or platic container would be enough
    No it wouldn't be enough. As blend52 has correctly stated simply opening the bag will change the sealed storage environment the beans come from the factory in. These types of beans are typically sealed using nitrogen to displace the air in them. Even if nitrogen hasn't been used opening the bag exposes the beans to more oxygen than if they'd been left in the unopened bag. In the sealed bag any oxygen that was originally in the bag would have been used up oxidizing the beans leaving in essence an inert air.


    Java "Methodology matters" phile
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  8. #8
    Junior Member goodbyesoberday's Avatar
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    So, it's been a few weeks and my 'emergency coffee' has had a couple of workouts, fortunately between being superseded by bags of better. With the weather warming up, the humble $5 popper has started performing again (it doesn't cope well with the frosty nights).

    First of all, the Aurora bag did have a one way valve. Squeezing didn't give much in the way of aromatic pleasure.

    Running through my cheap work grinder and a Gaggia Classic, there was only one possible grind/dose/tamp setting and that was bloody fine/heavy as/flaming hard, yielding a gusher of a shot with a crema that wouldn't quit and a very bitter &.... robust flavour.

    Taking a different tack, the Aurora just performed excellently during four days of camping in the Grampians with a cheap aluminium percolator.

    But I digress.... the answer to my own question concerning date codes is... I knew it was going to be crappy but there was great coffee in there somewhere!

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by goodbyesoberday View Post

    But I digress.... the answer to my own question concerning date codes is... I knew it was going to be crappy but there was great coffee in there somewhere!
    Funny you say this. Had occasion, and (quote DIRE need at that) to get beans.

    I mistimed BeanBay dates. Had nowt in the house, nowt. Had to go to HN for another matter and saw a bag of beans on the shelf in their coffee bay. Picked up a small bag that the saleserson assured me was fresh in stock.

    Results were most pleasant French press flat whites from the beans which were a blend.

    Now I am counting down the days to be able to use the BeanBay Gesha beans just arrived. Hope I am strong willed to wait though.




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