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Thread: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

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    Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

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

    I know its a question which was asked like a million times and I am surprised to, from time to time, find different answers to it.
    First I thought freezing coffee is good, then I was told by a couple of respectable coffee professionals that its about the worst thing you can do to a bean. Today I was glancing through Paul Bassets recent book and I again noticed that he advocated freezing beans, or at least was suggesting it was better than just keeping them in the cupboard.

    So I am lost and I need an advice ;-)

    I dont roast my beans (at least yet ). I buy beans from good local roasters and the beans are fresh. I drink reasonable much coffee with my wife but I always have to have at least two blends available - normal and decaf. I buy beans always in 250g valve bags and re-seal those when take some coffee to put in the grinder for immediate use. Once opened the bag never lasts more than a week (usually it takes shorter time to consume it)

    Questions are
    1. is re-sealable bag the best option, or should I buy a container to pump the air from it..
    2. do I need to put bags in the fridge?
    3. realistically, how long does the coffee last in the sealed bag before I open it the first time (because I buy it in the small bags, I sometimes have to buy a few to have some stock just in case I have a party or something)

    thanks a lot
    Ed

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Ed,

    Yes, I have heard plenty of conflicting arguments on the freezing and the fridge thing.
    Personally, I think that if you are buying fresh beans and use them within a week, then the fridge/freezer would be useless regardless of which camp you believe.

    I suggest doing more research and reading a few more articles on this point, then make your own mind up as to whether you want to try it out.

    As to the questions
    1 - Re-sealable bags. Personal preference, airtight canister away from direct sunlight.
    2 - I say no, but see above.
    3 - Freshly roasted coffee is usually best consumed within the 1-8 week mark. Different beans and different roasts will have different sweet spots, but generally speaking, past 8 weeks youll be pushing to get the best out of it. It will remain drinkable for quite some time (hence long use-by dates on supermarket beans) but the taste will certainly be best prior to a few months passing by.

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    Senior Member redzone121's Avatar
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    3 - Freshly roasted coffee is usually best consumed within the 1-8 week mark. Different beans and different roasts will have different sweet spots, but generally speaking, past 8 weeks youll be pushing to get the best out of it. It will remain drinkable for quite some time (hence long use-by dates on supermarket beans) but the taste will certainly be best prior to a few months passing by.

    No offense mate, but are you having a laugh ?

    Unless there is something wrong with my tastebuds, grinder and VBM, after 3 weeks its in the bin for me.
    I have even binned Black Cat from Intelligentsia after 4 weeks, but thats just me.
    Also the long use by dates in the Super Market :-[ has absolutely nothing to do with freshness, if it did they would be "Roast Dates" not use by dates, these are purely to sell their crap longer ;)

    CB

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Yep,

    Im on the past 3 weeks = bin fodder approach as well!!! There are a few... very few.... beans that are still reasonable past that but they are certainly the exception!

    Roast them fresh (or buy freshly roasted).... store them in one way valved bags (not in the fridge or freezer but in a cool spot)..... squeeze as much air out as you can when you reseal.... and consume within 3 weeks....

    And dont apply a vacuum.... that just sucks out the volatiles making the espresso taste flat (but consistently flat for a longer time admittedly)...

    And I wouldnt touch anything without a "Roasted on Date" (about 7 days ago max!!)..... they will be stale before you get them!

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by redzone link=1212551544/0#2 date=1212554354
    Unless there is something wrong with my tastebuds, grinder and VBM, after 3 weeks its in the bin for me.
    I have even binned Black Cat from Intelligentsia after 4 weeks, but thats just me.
    Also the long use by dates in the Super Market :-[ has absolutely nothing to do with freshness, if it did they would be "Roast Dates" not use by dates, these are purely to sell their crap longer ;)
    just to put things straight... we are not talking supermarket coffee anyway. No question its stale. However, I though that coffee in a valve bag, packed 24 hours after being roasted should last at least 3 weeks without being opened, shouldnt it?
    If not, then how is it possible at all to have any fresh coffee without actually roasting it yourself?!
    I am already not sure one can justify buying roasted coffee in any bag bigger than the smallest one...

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    I think saying coffee, whether the bag has been opened or not, 3 weeks from roast date before bin time.

    No vac container.

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by redzone link=1212551544/0#2 date=1212554354
    3 - Freshly roasted coffee is usually best consumed within the 1-8 week mark. Different beans and different roasts will have different sweet spots, but generally speaking, past 8 weeks youll be pushing to get the best out of it. It will remain drinkable for quite some time (hence long use-by dates on supermarket beans) but the taste will certainly be best prior to a few months passing by.
    No offense mate, but are you having a laugh ?

    Unless there is something wrong with my tastebuds, grinder and VBM, after 3 weeks its in the bin for me.
    I have even binned Black Cat from Intelligentsia after 4 weeks, but thats just me.
    Also the long use by dates in the Super Market :-[ has absolutely nothing to do with freshness, if it did they would be "Roast Dates" not use by dates, these are purely to sell their crap longer ;)

    CB
    Offense taken.
    Some roasters can roast beans that peak later than others.
    Yes, 8 weeks old is unlikely to be any good, but blanket statements dont really work for all cases.
    Not ALL beans are crap after 3 weeks.
    As for the use by dates - I was just illustrating that whilst it is still technically drinkable, it is not to be taken seriously. Anyhow, the OP knows this already.


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    Senior Member redzone121's Avatar
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Not ALL beans are crap after 3 weeks
    Having a little trouble finding those exact words in my comments and also it was a personal preference not a blanket statement, Big difference ! :(


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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by fatboy link=1212551544/0#6 date=1212556239
    Not ALL beans are crap after 3 weeks.

    I agree.

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Never said that was the exact phrase in your post.
    Thats just my personal opinion.
    I also never said the use by dates on Supermarket coffee had anything to do with freshness.
    And whilst highlighting some of my post, you may have seen the word usually was in italics.

    But when you start your reply with -
    No offense mate, but are you having a laugh ?
    it just seemed a little personal to me.

    I cannot find the appropriate emoticon!



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    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Chartres, if you get your beans fresh out of the "oven" and in small quantities from your local roaster, then keeping them in a valved bag in a dark and cool spot should not deteriorate them too much within the week.
    a cupboard away from the stove/oven/direct sunlight exposure will do fine....

    vac-jar sealing is generally not advised, as the vac process gets rid of most of the volatile oils = the yummy bits. ;)
    fridge/freezer will cause some moisture to form on the beans and that isnt good either, for the beans or for the grinder.

    it would pay, though, to ask your roaster what resting times he recommends for the particular blend/SO you are buying from him/ when he thinks the beans are at their peak... some beans do indeed need more than 1 week before they get to their very best.

    have fun!! ;)

    L

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Most of the things I was going to say have been said but Ill say them again anyway.

    Chartres I too go through a 250g bag in a week and dont have any problem regarding freshness in such a small perieod of time.

    Im currently roastng PNG Kimel and prefer it after 7 days.
    Its still quite good at 14 days through to 21 and Ive tried it at 6 weeks and while I dont prefer it, Ive had worse.

    I recommend you keep going as you are and buying your beans fresh and grinding them as you go.
    Keep them in the valved bags in a dark cool cupboard with most of the air squeezed out.

    Dont put them in the fridge.

    Dont pump the air out.

    The beans should last a little longer unopened because oxygen is not getting to them but I dont think theyll last too much longer.

    If you know how long your beans last then you can work out how much you can buy.

    Example:

    If you buy a 500g bag you can put half in a smaller bag and put it aside.
    By the end of the week you can reopen the 2nd bag, and provided you know your beans are good for at least 2 weeks, you dont have a problem.


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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Gday chatres,

    All good advice above there mate, but why not do a bit of experimentation? Sacrifice a batch of roasted beans and over an 8-10 week period, pour yourself an occasional brew and make notes of your impressions over that time. It is worth it to experiment you know, as not only are we all different but so too the beans, the processing method used, the method of roast, the roast profile and many other contributing factors.

    When youre done with the experiment you can tell us exactly what happens and your personal impressions. All the best mate :),

    Mal.

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Hi Ed,

    You are no doubt as confused as you were before!! People will always have different opinions..and so it saying that - here are mine!

    * Definitely dont keep your coffee in fridge or freezer
    * You should ask your roaster when his coffee is best after roasting - this really does vary for different coffees quite a bit - I used to use a coffee that was great at week 3 and my new coffee is great at week 1!!
    * I now use a vacu vin container at home and at the cafe and have found a HUGE difference in the freshness of the coffee - totally recommended
    * If you dont want to use one of these you should keep the coffee in the bag it came in, wrapped up to get the air out and tied off with an elastic band or something

    Key points: out of air, out of light, away from moisture!

    Good luck!!

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1212551544/0#12 date=1212586474
    Gday chatres,

    All good advice above there mate, but why not do a bit of experimentation? Sacrifice a batch of roasted beans and over an 8-10 week period, pour yourself an occasional brew and make notes of your impressions over that time.
    Thanks, Mal!
    In fact the whole topic was raised because I have done some experimenting and I suspected that I perhaps wasnt storing the beans in the correct way.
    In brief, I noticed that beans in the opened bag deteriorate quite fast - say, if I open 250g bag of freshly roasted (not more than a week ago) on Monday, the first few pours are fantastic. I keep the beans in the bag and re-seal it and try to squeeze the air from it. Nevertheless by Thursday or Friday the shots are ok, but could not compare to the shots I made on Monday or Tuesday in brightness or richness of flavour... I do keep the bag in a cupboard, away from the light (even though its a foiled bag)
    So it might be its just the way it is..

    I was talking mostly of single origin roasts that I was buying from StAli...

    Cheers,
    Ed

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    I dont have that problem with mine.

    Please describe the bag more.
    How do you reseal it?

    Is it a valved bag with a ziplock?

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    everyone knows that light, air and temperature affect coffee.... and if you did not... you do now..... however taking research further... light and air is easy keep it away and sealed from both... but the tricky one is temperature...... it has to be stable...... whether it is freezing, cool or warm (remember that these different storage temps will result in different flavour profiles.......it is the change and fluctuation in temp that effects coffee not what temp you store at... hope this helps....

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1212551544/15#15 date=1212716364
    I dont have that problem with mine.

    Please describe the bag more.
    How do you reseal it?

    Is it a valved bag with a ziplock?
    yep, thats the one. technically its not resealing is it, I use the ziplock and squeeze the air out..
    on the second thought, I am not sure what temperature fluctuations are now. its winter and when the heater is on, I guess the temperature in the room is much higher than if the heater is off...

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    One thing I have noticed with the coffee I usually buy (local Christchurch roaster called Hummingbird) is that the bags that they use can taint the aroma of the coffee (IE it smells cardboardy). This hasnt been with every batch (go through a kilo in about 10 days), but it is quite noticeable when it does happen. They alternate between paper bags and foil sealed bags, so maybe they just had a bad batch at somepoint.

    I always take the beans out of the bag and store them in a container with airtight lid (click clack container IIRC) and then store them in the pantry. I dont notice anything particularly different from the beans at the start of the week (when freshest) or the end, when a new batch is due to arrive.

    If you kept the beans in the freezer, isnt it possible that this would have a negative impact on the extraction (assuming they went straight from freezer, to grinder to PF) as they could be cold?

    Sen

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Hmmm,

    I just use the same 1-Way Valve bags that everyone else does but I get at least a good 2 weeks of great coffee out of a single bag/batch and sometimes more, depending on how fast we go through it. And this is with reused bags too, not new ones.

    Maybe youre not squeezing all the air possible out of the bag? I use the edge of the kitchen benchtops to help squeeze out every last bit of air that I can before resealing (zip-lock) and this seems to work reasonably well. If its not an air problem, well Im not sure what else you can do really. If youre meeting the cool, dark storage conditions as best you can then Im not sure theres much more to be done.

    Cheers mate :),
    Mal.

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Same here.
    Standard ziplocked one way valve bags.
    I dont squeeze the air out as judiciously as Mal but dont have any problem with freshness over two weeks (if it lasts that long).

    Maybe its just that you prefer the taste of the coffee in its earlier post roast period.

    I actually like a lot of mine from 7 days on (depending on the bean).
    Its not that I dont like it fresh, its ust that I like it more not.

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1212551544/15#20 date=1212738139
    Maybe its just that you prefer the taste of the coffee in its earlier post roast period.
    Good one TG 8-), didnt think about that possibility I must admit.

    Mal.

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    I suck the vac hole of my bags to get them nice a vacuumed haha. Turns out those little one way valves dont hold a vacuum real well :)

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    I dont think theyre designed to withstand sucking.
    You probably damage them.

    Id stick to squeezing if I were you.

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Gday All,
    I was just wondering if anyone has used a vacuum container without vacuuming the air out. Will the valve work on these like the one way valve on the coffee bags?

    Just a thought thats been going around in my head, but I dont have a jar to try it out.

    Thomas

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    tominoz

    Well if you can squeeze all the air out like you can with a one way valved bag ::)..... or always have it absolutely full of beans (rather impractical)... it would work..... but in reality they are a very poor substitute for the real thing!

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Probably not the same as far as I know.

    The Vacuvin ones for example I think use the same system that they have always used for the wine bottles.
    In which case theres no way the degassing would force its way out.

    For my everyday use Im lining my valved bags with a cheap small freezer bag.
    This keeps the valved bag clean for reuse.
    The freezer bags costs a lot less than first crack each.





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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    I vacuum Pack my coffee about 5 mins after roasting....not under reduced pressure, but vacuum packed, there is a big difference.

    http://coffeetime.wikidot.com/vacuum-packing-coffee-conclusions

    Definitely seems to affect the way coffee degasses and the experimental evidence, appears to be different to the normally accepted theory as to why coffee degasses. Certainly once people start packing this way, they dont go back to the previous method.

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Hi davec, I vacuum pack my coffee but I uauslly wait longer than 5min after roasting.I use the sunbeam vacuum system, you can get some good cannisters for it.Yes and sometimes the coffee does last longer than 4 weeks I found the dominican Barahona lasted about 6 but th crema did decrease with time.

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by davec link=1212551544/15#27 date=1212950920
    I vacuum Pack my coffee about 5 mins after roasting....not under reduced pressure, but vacuum packed, there is a big difference.
    Theyre vacuum packed but not under reduced pressure? If your bags turn into bricks as you describe then the interior of them is in fact at a lower than atmospheric pressure. Otherwise they wouldnt form bricks. :)

    Definitely seems to affect the way coffee degasses and the experimental evidence, appears to be different to the normally accepted theory as to why coffee degasses.
    Current practice among the Big Boys and high end roasters is to pack the beans in a reduced oxygen atmosphere as theyre cooling down. The beans are packaged when they hit 80-90F/27-32C and the package flushed with nitrogen to bring the oxygen content down to at least 6% and preferable to below 2%.

    Certainly once people start packing this way, they dont go back to the previous method.
    There are many who would disagree with this. Storing the beans under reduced pressure will certainly extend the shelf life of them. However; this will be achieved at the cost of some of the beans flavors and nuances. The harder the vacuum the beans are subjected too the more degradation of flavors there will be.


    Java "No vacuum here!" phile

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Yep, what Java said..... :)

    Ive tried the Vacuvin system here at home since we already had one (several years ago) and I didnt like the outcome at all. Initially the coffee pours are not bad but within a day or two the brews are very ordinary with little of the original intrinsic complexity (which prompted me to buy the beans in the first place) detectable to my palate.

    Another vote for 1-Way Valve bags here..... preferably the all-black ones.

    Mal.

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    In response to Javaphile.

    The bags turn into bricks, but will fairly quickly relax as the first breath of CO2 arrives. The vacuum is no where near as hard as in a rigid canister. My objective is to reduce Oxygen to as low a level as possible. The bricks under test for the re-vaccuming was to test out another theory of degassing and to see if the gas is all present in the coffee or also formed after roasting as the coffee degrades and is exposed to Oxygen. The CO2 definitely seems to be formed after roasting upon exposure to oxygen (if the bag is re-vacuumed until initial CO2 formation stops and then reopened)...the experimental evidence was clear on that. It is still not clear though what proportion of CO2 can be produced as a result of residual oxygen adsorbed onto the surface structure of the bean (that would be impossible to remove by "soft" vacuum packing or Nitrogen flushing.

    I should update the article, because I actually now vacuum the bags after roasting and then only remove excess CO2 as the coffee degasses, rather than try to keep them as bricks. When I re-vaccum its not vigorously. I also now, place the beans in a secondary container for a few hours or a day before using them, simply to allow them to degass a little more (as more of the compounds oxidise) before using them, otherwise they can be a bit fizzy.

    In our country the big boys unfortunately dont seem to have the same practices as your roasters (as you described). Most large roasters I have seen, simply cool the coffee, run it through the destoner and then leave it in big tubs for packing...some even prefer to actually allow it to degass for a few days before packing, other can leave it even longer! I did some commercial roasting on a medium sized Probat (25kg) and it was common practice for 500kg of coffee to sit around for a few days whilst it was being packed. Certainly the technologies for Nitrogen flushing and packing of coffee as whole beans was not used. Nitrogen packing was being used for prepackaged ground coffee, but only after it had degassed for 3 days! I have even heard of speciality roasters who dont use destoners and I quote: "because my coffee has not got any stones in it". I think there must be a great variation in techniques with different roasters around the world.

    I am sure there will be many people who disagree with the method, I have tried a number of methods, ultimately this is the method that suits me best, but I am sure can be improved on. I want to stress though I do not do this to extend the shelf life of the beans, I do it to extend the sweet spot. I still use the coffee within 10-15 days.. Its pointless to argue the merits of one packing process over another, especially if its something a home roaster cannot do, like Nitrogen flushing. I have tried lots of things I didnt believe would work (simply because you never know). Its something people can try if they want....if it suits them fine, if not, then thats fine as well. :)

  33. #33
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Theres no reason a home roaster cant do a nitrogen flush. Nitrogen gas is readily available from a variety of sources in most developed countries. :)


    Java "What a gas man!" phile

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    If you put beans in a one way valve bag and dont open it, will the CO2 in the the bag be less detrimental to it than oxygen?

    My bags are full when pack so theres little room for oxygen at that point. Would a nitrogen flush really make much difference?

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    even full packed their would still be significant amounts of oxygen in the spaces between the beans. I spose a nitrogen flush couldnt hurt. Hmm... I see a CS experiment coming up.

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    At the end of the day, if youre able to get fresh coffee fairly regularly, this thread is pretty moot.

    If you need to be able to store coffee, or youre just curious, it doesnt take much to experiment and see what you like for yourself.

    I have found that theres no hard and fast rule for everything. I just finished off a fantastic cappuccino from a blend that was 5 days out of the roaster and stored in a paper bag with no seal. I also have a fantastic blend that is about 20 days old and was stored in a valve bag. Generally speaking, I think that sealing bags with a proper impulse seal seems to keep things fresher than just using the zip lock.

    One thing that I think that people discount is how coffee changes when it is exposed to the atmosphere. Regardless of how you store coffee, I think that its pretty uncontroversial to say that the gas surrounding it will be different to the gas surrounding it when you remove it from the bag. This definitely has an effect on how your shots will pull. At work, I and others have always noticed that if you cut a bag of coffee open and dump it in the hopper, you will spend the next 45 minutes chasing the grind all over the place. On the other hand, if you cut the bag open an hour before you are going to use it, there are much fewer grind adjustments necessary - often the transition from one bag to another is completely seamless. I cant help but wonder if the home baristas fixation with re-sealing and expelling air adds yet another source of inconsistency. I would argue that if you are going to use your coffee within its optimum period, its best to just have at it.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  37. #37
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    In the end, its just not practical for a home roaster to need to store bags and bags of roasted coffee.

    You know what sort of lead time you need, so roast on-demand.

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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1212551544/30#35 date=1213148842
    I cant help but wonder if the home baristas fixation with re-sealing and expelling air adds yet another source of inconsistency.
    Your example of a freshly opened bag compared to one opened for an hour, suggests that there are changes going on from the bagged state to the unbagged state. Fair call.

    Now, if I always open my bag, measure out my beans and then reseal my bag and squeeze out the air, it goes back to (close enough) how it was just a minute ago before I opened the bag.
    So Id say theres less inconsistancy from the beans of a fixated home barista.

  39. #39
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    Re: Guide to Roasting...

    Quote Originally Posted by 7E5A535350506A7E5A46585A350 link=1280212804/3#3 date=1282569963
    Storage of roasted beans I feel is best in mylar coffee bags that have a one way valve fitted
    Then stored in a cool dry cupboard



    KK
    would one of those microwave plastic containers with the little valve to release steam do a similar thing ?

  40. #40
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Guide to Roasting...

    Can i suggest looking for your answers by typing into the "quick search" function on the top right of this page for coffee storage.

    Dedicated coffee bags are best. One way valves let CO2 out but dont let oxygen in. Look in "Green Coffee" at Beanbay. Thats the green tab on top left of this page.
    They dont cost too much. You value your coffee, so dont compromise.

    Gary at G

  41. #41
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    sweet as. thanks

  42. #42
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    I know this has been spliced into a new (old) thread, but all the references Ive seen to freezing/refrigerating coffee has also referenced that "ground coffee should be used within two weeks" or similar. I think the main thing is keep freshly roasted coffee (< 1 month max) in a dark place, in a one way valved bag, and grind fresh, and youll be fine.

  43. #43
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    Re: Storing coffee, give some advice please ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by 253A38223B2E39382F570 link=1212551544/41#41 date=1299579828
    I know this has been spliced into a new (old) thread, but all the references Ive seen to freezing/refrigerating coffee has also referenced that "ground coffee should be used within two weeks" or similar. I think the main thing is keep freshly roasted coffee (< 1 month max) in a dark place, in a one way valved bag, and grind fresh, and youll be fine.
    Thats what I do. Living out in the bush, I have to order my roasted beans, and postage cost is not inconsiderable these days. So I have to compromise a little on freshness.

    One day Ill get into my own roasting...



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