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Thread: Storing roasted beans

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    Storing roasted beans

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have been slack, this only my second post.

    I got sick of the one way valve bags. The oil off the beans gets on the walls and eventually goes off.

    So I got a glass jar with a metal lid. Drilled a hole in the lid. Cut out a valve from one of my bags. Glued the valve in the top.
    Works a charm. I can just chuck the jar into the dishwasher when it gets oil on the walls. It is easier to handle than the bags.

    I havent covered the jar to stop uv light getting as I have a dark cupboard to stick it in. I also glued the valve from the top as not to get fumes into the jar, probably pointless.

    I have seen metal can with these valves in them. These have the valve at the bottom. Is this because CO2 is heavier than air? If so why dont coffee bags have them at the bottom?
    I would presume it would be better at the top as CO2 is fairly inert. Wouldnt it be better for the bag/jar to be full of CO2 rather then air?
    Any thoughts? Would it really make much difference?




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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Ive seen this done before but it was too much trouble for me.
    Besides, you cant get all the air out of the jar, as you can when you squeeze the bags.

    My solution is to line the valved bags with cheap freezer bags.
    They work out to much less than $0.01c each and I just throw them out and am left with a clean valved bag.

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    I buy the coffee for work and take the empty bags home.
    I have a drawer full of used-once bags!
    Greg

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Ive been wiping my used bags out with a damp piece of paper towel and leaving them to air dry. most of the smell is gone after a few days, though Ive considered putting something in there to suck the smell out. Not sure what though.

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Has anyone tried both ways and found a difference?
    If I fill the jar to the top would there really be that much more air in the jar compared to the bag?

    Is the gas coming of the beans bad for the taste?
    If stored in bags should I keep squeezing the bag if I store it longer?

    Currently I roast about 200g every 3-4days. I only store between 2-3 days before the beans end up in my hopper.

    Thanks for the advice; I am new to this. I have only been roasting for about 3 months.

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    I too followed TGs advice and use a a freezer back withing the valved bag and just throw the freezer bag away when the beans are finished.

    Mal

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Quote Originally Posted by bassway link=1228987272/0#4 date=1229032834
    Has anyone tried both ways and found a difference?
    Difference in what?
    The obvious difference is not having to clean the bag of oil.
    If you dont clen it properly the old oil will go rancid and affect the taste of your freah beans.

    Quote Originally Posted by bassway link=1228987272/0#4 date=1229032834
    If I fill the jar to the top would there really be that much more air in the jar compared to the bag?
    No; but the jar is only full when you first fill it.

    Quote Originally Posted by bassway link=1228987272/0#4 date=1229032834
    Is the gas coming of the beans bad for the taste?
    Not that I know of.
    Although I recently had a bag with a faulty valve and I think it delayed the maturation of the beans. They needed a little longer to taste their best.

    Quote Originally Posted by bassway link=1228987272/0#4 date=1229032834
    If stored in bags should I keep squeezing the bag if I store it longer?
    You only need to squeeze all the air out after opening the bag. You can get most of the air out, unlike the jar.

    Also, see previous answer regarding the faulty valve. I seal the bags now before squeezing the air out so I can test the valve.

    Quote Originally Posted by bassway link=1228987272/0#4 date=1229032834
    Currently I roast about 200g every 3-4days. I only store between 2-3 days before the beans end up in my hopper.
    Make some extra so you can taste the beans after 7 days or more. Some beans taste best at different ages. You dont know what you might be missing out on.



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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    The valve bag jar is a kind of nifty idea, but apparently the failure rate of these valves is pretty spectacularly high. Have you done anything to verify that yours is actually working? I guess that it probably wouldnt make much difference; the jar can probably withstand a fair amount of pressure building up inside it.

    Quote Originally Posted by bassway link=1228987272/0#0 date=1228987272
    I have seen metal can with these valves in them. These have the valve at the bottom. Is this because CO2 is heavier than air?
    No, I suspect that it might be because the valve cant usefully be put anywhere else - the sides of the tin are curved and theres not much point in putting the valve into the pull-tab lid.

    As an aside, the packaging process is kind of interesting - I gather that coffee companies that pack into tins buy the tins made with the pull-ring tab on top and the lid on, but with no bottom. The packaging machine fills the tins upside down, then the bottom bit is crimped on.

    If so why dont coffee bags have them at the bottom?
    I would presume it would be better at the top as CO2 is fairly inert. Wouldnt it be better for the bag/jar to be full of CO2 rather then air? Any thoughts? Would it really make much difference?
    I doubt that the location of the valve makes much difference. I remember calculating in first year chemistry that at 25 degrees, individual gas molecules are travelling around at some unimaginably high speed ... it was something like 2000 km/second. Given that the CO2 is coming out of the beans and, so, will be relatively evenly distributed, I doubt that the gas in the vessel is going to separate out into layers based on molecular weight; presumably the molecules have enough kinetic energy to stay at least somewhat mixed ... they must, otherwise if you fall asleep on a futon at sea level or below, why arent you instantly suffocated by a layer of carbon dioxide?

    Interesting thread!

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1228987272/0#1 date=1228988377
    Ive seen this done before but it was too much trouble for me.
    Besides, you cant get all the air out of the jar, as you can when you squeeze the bags.

    My solution is to line the valved bags with cheap freezer bags.
    They work out to much less than $0.01c each and I just throw them out and am left with a clean valved bag.
    How much of a difference does squeezing the air out of the bag actually make? Have you done anything to test it out?

    You often post that you only put enough coffee for one shot into your grinder and then squeeze the air out of your bag before resealing it. If this has actual benefits, why not try buying a vacuum sealer and vacuum the bag between shots? Theres tonnes of room, so instead of opening and closing the zip lock, you could just create a new heat seal each time.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Im relying on the accepted wisdom of some people that know a lot more about coffee than me.
    I wont name drop.

    Recently I observed an opposite effect in that a valve was faulty and the beans didnt degas as normal.
    That batch took longer to mature than usual.

    I do have an impulse sealer and on average I get 4 seals out of a bag. I could probably get 6 if I tried.
    At 3 coffees a day Id run out of bags quite quickly.

    Luca are you telling me exposure to air doesnt lead to beans deteriorating?
    Or are you merely playing devils advocate again?

    I could easily leave some beans from my next roast exposed to the air and treat the rest as I normally do.
    I could then ask someone I know with a better palate than mine to blind taste a sample of each after 7 days.

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Luca

    Seeing you feel "internet folklore" has no value unless a "recognised" person of some expertise is quoted....

    People like Ben Bicknell of the WA Barista Academy (he is/was? the WA representative of AASCA, organiser of the WA Barista championships...... (not to mention several of the staff of the WA Barista Acadamy have won state championships and placing highly in the National championship) emphasises using one way bags and squeezing out the air before resealing when delivering the professional barista course...... He also recommends that beans should also be emptied from the hopper back into the bag at COB each day.... and the air squeezed out.

    Im sure he knows a thing or two about coffee, its preparation and storage!!

    And applying a vacuum.... this will lower the pressure... reducing the boiling point of the volatile oils.... which will then evaporate!

    Dont think that is a smart idea ::)

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    OK, just to throw something else in to the mix, and leave more questions than answers, theres two notable coffee places around Melbourne (not naming anyone) both from whom Ive recently purchased beans from.

    Both places store their beans in large plastic bags. No airtightness, no one-way valve.

    One of these places, when buying the beans, will store them for you in a one-way valve bag to take home, the other, a paper bag with a piece of wire to hold it shut.

    It would seem neither take the commonly accepted wisdom of storing the beans airtight as soon as theyve cooled.

    I can tell you, I was happy with the taste.

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    ACog,

    Interestingly Ben also suggested if the beans arent in a one way valved bag, or they are in a paper bag, then just roll the bag tightly up from the bottom..... and secure the "roll" closed with a couple of rubber bands.....

    I guess in that case the rolls of bag combined with the bands form a kind of one way valve.

  14. #14
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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Remember guys that the valve helps with the degassing mainly and after that what you have is an airtight bag.

    Any bag, plastic or paper, with most of the air squeezed out would have to be better than an unsealed container. No?

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1228987272/0#13 date=1229302484

    Any bag, plastic or paper, with most of the air squeezed out would have to be better than an unsealed container. No?
    Yep, makes perfect sense to me!

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Im still waiting for someone to produce a container that has a moveable, airtight plunger (with one way valve) that you can push down onto the beans as you use them. Surely this would be the best of both worlds i.e. excludes around about as much air as a bag, while making it easy to clean up and get rid of the built up oils.

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    jacs,

    Why dont you make one? Ill let you have dibs on the patent.

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Anecdotally, I once stored some beans in a clear plastic bag with the top twisted, I didnt have a spare bag to use so figured that would be sufficient. I was disappointed at how quickly they went stale - I put it down to bad luck at the time until my wife pointed out the bag. Im not sure whether the problem was the lack of a good seal or the presence of light but either way they definitely went off faster.

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Might be time for some experiments....

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Quote Originally Posted by ACog link=1228987272/0#18 date=1229313844
    Might be time for some experiments....
    After seeing the responses, I was thinking the exact same thing! :)

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Quote Originally Posted by ACog link=1228987272/0#16 date=1229309145
    jacs,

    Why dont you make one? Ill let you have dibs on the patent.
    Thanks for your generosity *;)

    I did briefly have a go when I came across this same topic on Coffesnobs at some stage in the past.
    I tried using the lid off one of those containers where you press the knob on top of the lid, push it into the container and then release the knob in order for the seal around its edge to expand, creating an air tight seal. All I needed was the right diameter container. However, after hunting through a number of shops, I wasnt successful and so lost interest.

    Maybe this will spark me into action again *:)

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Luca are you telling me exposure to air doesnt lead to beans deteriorating? Or are you merely playing devils advocate again?
    Im quite sure that exposure to air leads to beans deteriorating!

    What I dont know is the extent to which squeezing as much air as possible out of the bag will slow the ageing process because I have never really experimented with it, which is why Im interested to learn what your comparative experiences are. Logically, one would think that if it did make a noticeable difference, vac packing would be worth investigating.

    I think that one interesting, and relatively easy test, would be to split a batch of coffee into two and run two storage methods head to head until the batch nearly runs out, alternating which bag the coffee is taken from each time ... ideally there would be enough coffee that it would take at least a week. When there is only a shot or two left, open both bags and pull some shots, weighing the amount of coffee used and using the same grind setting. We have all observed that coffee needs to either be ground finer or to have a higher dose used in order to maintain pour volume and time as it ages, so if one method is superior at arresting the ageing process than the other, that method will result in a shot that pours more slowly at the same grind setting and dose than the other.

    The great thing about this experimental procedure is that the difference in pour times can be measured really easily and isnt influenced by the subjectivity of different palates; I guess that you could also note when the coffee blondes as well, but thats harder to do repeatably. The experiment would need to be repeated several times to account for variation. This could be done by running it multiple times, or by using a lot more coffee to start with and burning through many shots together at the end.

    So as for playing devils advocate, Im trying to move the discussion towards getting some actual, comparative experience. Ideally, it would be good to work out not only if there is a difference, but what that difference is. I know that my coffee ages across the five days or so that I use it, but I dont think that that necessarily results in worse shots - just different ... so I might not actually see much benefit in halting the ageing process ... beyond, perhaps, lessening the need for grind adjustments. Part two of my response to the devils advocate question slots in to my response to JavaB ...

    Seeing you feel "internet folklore" has no value unless a "recognised" person of some expertise is quoted....
    That is not how I feel. Perhaps you are referring to the recent thread on freezing, in which I defended the study on HB. If so, I make two points. First, my comments were directed towards recognition of the process that they went through, rather than the people that did it (though I do recall that I said that they were all people with a lot of experience). Second, the emphasis of my comments was directed more at countering insinuations that the study should be dismissed, rather than that its results should be accepted (though I did make the point that someone with no experience should probably regard the study more persuasively than the experiences that others were proposing they should accept instead of it, but even then I made the point that the study is only good for demonstrating what it actually studied).

    I think that my position on "internet folklore" really comprises two parts; it should be traceable back to some real and credible experience that a living human being has actually had and the default position should be to go with the least complicated method of achieving something unless benefits of a more complicated method are demonstrated. Of course, its all up to readers to make up their mind anyway and thats fine for all of the old salts, but I feel for newbies who are faced with a sea of often conflicting opinions of unknown provenance.

    I can think of any number of bits of "internet folklore" that, until recently, one would have thought were set in stone:

    a. you shouldnt ever freeze coffee;
    b. you should knock your portafilter with your tamper to dislodge loose grinds;
    c. you should always use the finest grind possible and the most head space (and the opposite!);
    d. you must have a tamper that is an exact fit for your basket;
    e. coffee overheating in your grinder is a serious problem at home;
    f. coffee is stale after a week;
    g. you must use some sort of elaborate distribution technique;
    h. single origin coffees will never win the WBC ...

    ... and thats just off the top of my head! I cant help but feel that there must be a lot of confused newbies out there.

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    People like Ben Bicknell of the WA Barista Academy (he is/was? the WA representative of AASCA, organiser of the WA Barista championships...... (not to mention several of the staff of the WA Barista Acadamy have won state championships and placing highly in the National championship) emphasises using one way bags and squeezing out the air before resealing when delivering the professional barista course...... He also recommends that beans should also be emptied from the hopper back into the bag at COB each day.... and the air squeezed out.

    Im sure he knows a thing or two about coffee, its preparation and storage!!
    OK, so we can chalk that up as another in favour of it.

    Ben is currently part of the AASCA exec.

    I would say, though, and making it clear that this is not directed to Ben, that it is surprising the number of coffee professionals who actually dont do much investigation into their own profession ... so it sometimes pays to be a bit cynical.

    And applying a vacuum.... this will lower the pressure... reducing the boiling point of the volatile oils.... which will then evaporate!

    Dont think that is a smart idea Roll Eyes
    Essentially, you are saying that of options A and B, option B is bad, so it shouldnt be entertained. *But if option A is also bad, then surely you have to ask the question of which is the lesser of two evils? *Maybe applying a vacuum will have detrimental effects, but will they be worse than the exposure to air?

    Im not putting forward a particular position; Im just asking the question.

    Might be time for some experiments....
    Yes, please!

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    There is a third option.... However impractical :-?

    Flood the bag with a "dry" inert gas to displace any O2 that may be present and then immediately reseal,

    Mal.

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Thanks Luca,

    As an easily confused newbie, I welcome and enjoy your clear & intelligent questioning. *

    Long live the curious mind. *8-)

    - Carrie

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    The problem with trying to provide advice on..

    the best method of storing beans
    whether freezing is good or not
    whether a fitted tamper is better than any old tamper
    bean X tastes better than bean Y
    You should only roast bean X to the first snaps of SC....
    etc... etc....
    even instant tastes better than espresso... ::)

    There are 3 main ways one can obtain and therefore provide advice... and all, IMHO, are flawed!

    You can do the tests yourself.... and quote the results
    You can get the details from someone who has.... and quote the results
    You can read about, hear about (get from the internet) details about what is best and quote those results....

    But we are all different.... *even in the CS community.... even the old salts in the CS community cant agree on taste...

    Look at Indian Monsoon Malabar.... one of my personal favourite beans - a view quite a few other CS members share.... but there are probably just as many who detest it.... cant stand the taste at all.... "old, smelly socks" comes to mind as a comment!

    So why the diversity..... because espresso is a matter of personal taste..... sure you can educate your taste..... everyone says instant is bad..... I thought it was alright but.... hey.... I better get with it and say its bad!!! Those who enter competitions MUST do this.... so they set a reference taste.... and that is what "excellent" tastes like - everything being compared to that "false" reference.

    But taste is SUBJECTIVE.... no-one can (or should) try to tell you what tastes better..... but we all do (including myself :-[)

    So for me, beans exposed to air might be foul.... but someone else might prefer the taste.....

    What has all this diatribe got to do with bean storage.... everything really.... YOU have to find the best method which produces what YOU want in YOUR cup...... and then you can say... I prefer beans kept in a one way valved bag.... but you might not......

    To infer you MUST do the same as I do, or Ben does or Luca does..... or any one of the other coffee drinkers or experts..... to get what will TASTE THE BEST TO YOU is dreaming..... You would be wise to try.... and if it works - great!

    Try the various methods of tamping, bean storage, dosing levels, distribution techniques which are discussed here... and see what works best for you. This might sound hard for newbies.... but its the only way to get a real answer....

    Sure we can explain the chemistry of bean ageing.... and detail that it affects the taste.... this is fact! *But whether that effect is good or bad depends on your taste buds..... and sorry, I dont know how you will perceive the change.....

    So take heart instant coffee lovers - I dont know what you see in that stuff..... but because I dont doesnt make it bad.... if you prefer it - great (just please dont offer me any :P)

  27. #27
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Good points JB....

    Some time ago, we (my son and I) went to the trouble of experimenting with both storage options and bean rest periods, in an effort to find out for ourselves which method or combinations provided us with the best flavoured coffee "in the cup" and how best to prolong the peak flavour plateau. This was explained in a post a few months back. We live "in the bush" so if we need to make a determination about something, it always comes back to doing what ever is needed to make that determination for ourselves via experimentation and trying to implement the most practical scientific method that is within our capability to employ.

    I can not find fault with anything in particular that you have raised above JB. What it always comes back to (it seems to me), is that for the most part we try to offer advice when asked, only based upon our own personal experience and knowledge rather than regurgitate something we have read or heard. To the best of my ability (and your good self too as much as I am able to determine), this is what I always try to do. Over the years (35+), I have managed to acquire significant knowledge and experience of a great many engineering matters, a lot of which have parallels in many areas of this great hobby. In my opinion therefore, I do not need to have specific knowledge or experience of a specific entity, only that I able to make a reasonably accurate determination based upon the physical data available. For at least half of my working life, this was how I made a living and was quite successful at doing this.

    In the event that physical data was ever required to support a legal position; either contractual, IR, statutory or matters arising from damages; then this was approached in an entirely different manner, as one would no doubt appreciate. It is possible to make educated assumptions from a remote position so long as one believes all the salient facts/data is available to hand and Im sure that several of we engineering types do exactly that from time to time. Its a matter of knowing which factual information is required in order to make a properly deduced conclusion and therefore, what questions need to be asked and what information to feed back to the client/respondent. This is hardly something new or foreign..... :-?

    Mal.

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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Mal,

    Yep, having an Engineering background myself.... agree totally with what you say. The beauty of engineering is that there is (generally) only one answer.... it can be quantified - and another person can repeat your measurements by following your techniques and get the same answer....

    Coffee making is an art.... and like any art appreciation - is in "the eye of the beholder" (or tongue and nostrils in this case)..... it is what satisfies your senses which you find pleasant.

    Some things can be measured and quantified..... 60ml from a double in 30 seconds.... apply 13.5Kg force..... others are personal impressions..... after 3 weeks the beans are stale when stored ??????

    The storage statement is valid for me and my perception of taste.... and it is a valid comment. But to you - they may taste flat after a week..... or be OK for 2 months!

    We can quantify that they will need to be ground finer as they age..... that they will produce less crema as they age... they are observable and measurable "facts"..... but the taste.... that is subjective and very personal.....

    I dont know how these can be quantified.... other than to take a very large sample of people and beans.... and then we could say "most people find the life of beans to be 3 weeks"..... and that is what we generally do I guess. I know Ive had some beans which were much older than that (hadnt been stored in any special way).... and yet, to me, they still tasted fantastic!!

  29. #29
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    Re: Storing roasted beans

    Spot-on mate.... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    Mal.



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