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Thread: Stale Beans and shelf life?

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    Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi
    Ive just got started into a more hands on manufacture of my daily coffee experience.

    My setup at the moment is a newly purchased Mazzer Mini (anything but miniture according to my GF) and a Delongi Metropolis Coffee machine bought 3 years ago in ignorance. I am currently saving for an Alex Duetto from Talk Coffee, once I have the money saved will then go check out the entire range of their stock for a play before purchasing. I hate been a tyre kicker and couldnít cope with having to walk away empty handed when not able to purchase it on spot and take it home with me.

    I got 1kg of freshly roasted beans from the store as an added bonus with the purchase of the grinder. Even though the machine is not great the combination of grinder and fresh beans made a coffee that was good and drinkable. My mother who is not a coffee drinker, when she tried a flat white from the above combo that tastes like what you get in a cafe, in fact itís better than most cafe coffees that ive had. With the added kicker of can I have a second one now please. This was from someone who normally doesnt enjoy coffee all that much and would rather have a tea most times instead.

    July 10 was the purchase date of the beans and grinder and untill this morning everything was going as good as posible within the limitations of my current setup. I have been away over the last week and havent had a chance to use the grinder or machinein the last 7-10 days. I made a flat white this morning the result was in a few words cat excrement in a cup. There was also a notable lack of that fresh spicy aroma of ground coffee in the air as well when the Mini was fired up for the morning ritual.

    (Note the grinder and doser where cleaned out so no stale coffee should have been left in there, removed the finger guard and brushed everything out)

    I suspect that the beans are stale would this be correct? Whatís the shelf life for home storage of roasted beans not in a hermetically seal foil bag?

    I saw one of those Vacu Vin food storage containers at a non-sponser coffee equipment store (google is your friend) would this be a good way to store any excess whole beans to extend shelf life?

    Just trying to work the above out so that I purchase the correct amount of beans each week or so and that none get wasted by going stale. Hate wastage especially when its good coffee beans going to waste.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 20233C3C3F36530 link=1280908255/0#0 date=1280908255
    I suspect that the beans are stale would this be correct?
    Yep.
    If you got them on July 10 and even if you assume they were roasted a few days prior, theyd be going on about four weeks old now which means theyll be long past their best.

    Quote Originally Posted by 20233C3C3F36530 link=1280908255/0#0 date=1280908255
    Whatís the shelf life for home storage of roasted beans not in a hermetically seal foil bag?
    It depends on what you store them in, but theyll deteriorate rapidly (and instantly) if not stored correctly.
    Even when stored correctly theyll generally (it varies by the bean) start going south rapidly after about 12-14 days and will be bordering on undrinkable by about 21 days.

    Quote Originally Posted by 20233C3C3F36530 link=1280908255/0#0 date=1280908255
    I saw one of those Vacu Vin food storage containers at a non-sponser coffee equipment store (google is your friend) would this be a good way to store any excess whole beans to extend shelf life?
    Ive seen a couple of CSers mention them and they seemed to be getting good results from them.

    The key is obviously to avoid exposing the beans to air and light, so for me the best option are 250g one-way valve bags (available through Beanbay and numerous sponsors).
    They work beautifully and are quite cost effective.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6565652F0 link=1280908255/1#1 date=1280914817
    The key is obviously to avoid exposing the beans to air and light, so for me the best option are 250g one-way valve bags (available through Beanbay and numerous sponsors).
    They work beautifully and are quite cost effective.
    There is an opinion that Vacu Vin containers speed up the staling process by sucking the goodness from the beans faster.

    I line my 250g valved bags with cheap freezer bags to get more uses out of them.
    This reduces the cost significantly.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7549544F454453464E45210 link=1280908255/2#2 date=1280928371
    There is an opinion that Vacu Vin containers speed up the staling process by sucking the goodness from the beans faster.
    Thats one of the reasons i wouldnt be using them (along with the fact that many of them are, at best, tinted which still allows light).

    Quote Originally Posted by 7549544F454453464E45210 link=1280908255/2#2 date=1280928371
    I line my 250g valved bags with cheap freezer bags to get more uses out of them.
    This reduces the cost significantly.
    I do the same (after reading an old post of yours a while back, so thank you).

    Probably a silly question but do you leave the freezer bag wide open inside the one-way bags or does it not matter? I was just thinking about the effects of the freezer bag being closed, if you will, on the one-way valve.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Welcome to CS KAFIN8.

    There is no hard and fast rule about freshness or staling.
    What you described is quite normal as beans age and you need to adjust your coffee purchases to a smaller quantity, and store in an air tight container away from heat and light.

    How the beans change over a period is dependent on a lot of things including the way it was roasted, by what method, what type of blend, how it is being stored, ambient weather conditions etc. etc . etc. & not just *how old* it is....not to mention that we all have different tastes.

    Also, as the beans age and change and stale, you need to keep adjusting your grinder to suit to keep getting "the best" out of them until you go for a fresh supply.

    Hope that helps,
    Attilio
    very first CS site sponsor.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0707074D0 link=1280908255/3#3 date=1280962246
    Probably a silly question but do you leave the freezer bag wide open inside the one-way bags or does it not matter? I was just thinking about the effects of the freezer bag being closed, if you will, on the one-way valve.
    Not a silly question.

    The bags I use (small) are almost a perfect fit but do need to be scrunched down a little to allow the zip to work.
    I dont try to close the freezer bag; just make sure it surrounds all the beans so as to keep the valved bag as clean as possible.
    A completely full bag probably has the possibility of blocking the valve but Ive never noticed this happening.
    By the time youve made a few shots theres more than enough room for the gases inside to find the valve.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5D5D5D170 link=1280908255/1#1 date=1280914817
    It depends on what you store them in, but theyll deteriorate rapidly (and instantly) if not stored correctly.
    Even when stored correctly theyll generally (it varies by the bean) start going south rapidly after about 12-14 days and will be bordering on undrinkable by about 21 days.
    Undrinkable at 21days you have got to be kidding me, a bit flat and lifeless yes but undrinkable? Suppose it depends on your definition of undrinkable but I find most coffees fine at 21 days.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2E202D223523224C0 link=1280908255/6#6 date=1280983184
    Undrinkable at 21days you have got to be kidding me, a bit flat and lifeless yes but undrinkable? Suppose it depends on your definition of undrinkable but I find most coffees fine at 21 days.
    Taste is an individual thing moto.
    Others might not like a coffee you find acceptable at 21 days.

    I once had the opportunity to try some of my home roasted Kimel at 6 weeks.
    I didnt like it but if Id have been desperate it was drinkable and Im sure many non-snobs wouldnt know what I was complaining about.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 714D504B414057424A41250 link=1280908255/5#5 date=1280970264
    I dont try to close the freezer bag; just make sure it surrounds all the beans so as to keep the valved bag as clean as possible.
    A completely full bag probably has the possibility of blocking the valve but Ive never noticed this happening.
    By the time youve made a few shots theres more than enough room for the gases inside to find the valve. *
    Thanks, TG.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4749444B5C4A4B250 link=1280908255/6#6 date=1280983184
    Undrinkable at 21days you have got to be kidding me, a bit flat and lifeless yes but undrinkable? Suppose it depends on your definition of undrinkable but I find most coffees fine at 21 days. *
    I did say bordering on undrinkable.
    Im an unashamed subscriber to their theory that life is too short for bad coffee and whilst i have had rare times when ive taken beans to the 21 day point (and possibly later), if im got a choice i wont bother with beans that far gone because the end result isnt worth the effort.

    Each to their own, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3408150E040512070F04600 link=1280908255/7#7 date=1280983965
    Taste is an individual thing moto.
    Others might not like a coffee you find acceptable at 21 days.
    Yep.
    Im not going to poo poo people who give their beans a shelf life of a month or even more, whatever works for them, but for me, 21 days is about my threshold.

    There is always an exception, as i saw recently when i got some really good results from a blend of some leftover Beanbay browns that were pushing the 3-week mark but in general i wont bother past 21 days unless im in a bind and running short.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    I understand people have individual tastes hence why I added "depends on you definition". If you are saying that after 3 weeks the coffee is not to your tastes well that is a very different thing to "undrinkable".

    Just a pet peve of mine when these kind of statements come out saying that coffee must be done in a particular way or it is undrinkable (to borrow a phrase). Dont want to argue the point just wanted to explain where I am coming from.

    Brett

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 212F222D3A2C2D430 link=1280908255/9#9 date=1280985668
    I understand people have individual tastes hence why I added "depends on you definition". If you are saying that after 3 weeks the coffee is not to your tastes well that is a very different thing to "undrinkable".
    As i said previously, i didnt say undrinkable, i said bordering on undrinkable.
    Totally different statements.

    Quote Originally Posted by 212F222D3A2C2D430 link=1280908255/9#9 date=1280985668
    Just a pet peve of mine when these kind of statements come out saying that coffee must be done in a particular way or it is undrinkable (to borrow a phrase). Dont want to argue the point just wanted to explain where I am coming from.
    I know where youre coming from but youve misinterpreted my post.

    If id said all beans are undrinkable by 21 days i could understand your angst (i dont like such statements either) but all i did was give my opinion on the longevity of beans in an attempt to offer the thread starter some rough guidelines to bean life.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    I think I was just taking issue with your choice of words as bordering on undrinkable is very close to undrinkable. No angst here just wanted to put a point across.

    Brett

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Has anyone ever had a bean that was still great to drink after a few months of being roasted but not opened? Lets say it was only 70-80% Arabica.

    Reason being I havent been able to find a bean that is as good as what I got from a sponsor in WA and wanted to get a few kg at a time to save on shipping.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1336203B333C3D520 link=1280908255/12#12 date=1280989573
    Has anyone ever had a bean that was still great to drink after a few months of being roasted but not opened? Lets say it was only 70-80% Arabica.

    Reason being I havent been able to find a bean that is as good as what I got from a sponsor in WA and wanted to get a few kg at a time to save on shipping.
    I doubt anyone will answer yes.

    I understand the need to save on shipping costs but in my opinion youre dreamin.

    Where are you?
    There are plenty of excellent roasters around the country.
    Someone will surely recommend some closer to home and Im willing to bet you havent tried them all yet.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 496C7A61696667080 link=1280908255/12#12 date=1280989573
    Has anyone ever had a bean that was still great to drink after a few months of being roasted but not opened?
    I never have but I guess its possible (thinks for a moment) although I seriously doubt it. ;)

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6643554E464948270 link=1280908255/12#12 date=1280989573
    Has anyone ever had a bean that was still great to drink after a few months of being roasted but not opened? Lets say it was only 70-80% Arabica.
    I found an unopened 250gm bag of beans in the back of the cupboard a while back that had a roast date of about three months prior.

    I opened it out of interest and the beans very were obviously rancid.

    To think that when many of first started this journey we willingly bought supermarket beans that were, more than likely, far older than that.
    I shudder at the thought of those days.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3509140F050413060E05610 link=1280908255/13#13 date=1280994417
    Quote Originally Posted by 1336203B333C3D520 link=1280908255/12#12 date=1280989573
    Has anyone ever had a bean that was still great to drink after a few months of being roasted but not opened? Lets say it was only 70-80% Arabica.

    Reason being I havent been able to find a bean that is as good as what I got from a sponsor in WA and wanted to get a few kg at a time to save on shipping. *
    I doubt anyone will answer yes.

    I understand the need to save on shipping costs but in my opinion youre dreamin.

    Where are you?
    There are plenty of excellent roasters around the country.
    Someone will surely recommend some closer to home and Im willing to bet you havent tried them all yet.
    Syd metro.

    I actually figured out tonight why I didnt like the other blends Ive purchased so far. .... Grind and dose wasnt right. ;)

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 50756378707F7E110 link=1280908255/16#16 date=1281009208
    I actually figured out tonight why I didnt like the other blends Ive purchased so far. .... Grind and dose wasnt right.
    When you can snatch the pebble from my hand......

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Hey all,
    First post - very excited.
    Curious... in storing coffee in one-way valved bags, would it be best to remove the air in the bag through the valve (by pumping or sucking it out) or just close the bag and leave the air in it?
    Cheers
    J

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs J

    Just squeeze-out the extra air and zip it up, or if the bag doesnt have a zip then fold it over and over to take-up the slack space and put a peg on it. They should be fine.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    What Andy said.
    Also, dont keep opening and resealing the bag. If you have a large amount in it (say a 1kg bag), split into smaller amounts and keep them sealed until ready to use. Opinions differ on just how long it is ok to leave beans out before use, but general opinion is this time should be minimised.

    Personally I dont worry about one way valves, just use ziplock bags and squeeze the air out. Only time Ive really noticed the one way valve doing its job was with a 1kg bag of beans from a commercial roaster.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4478657E747562777F74100 link=1280908255/13#13 date=1280994417
    Quote Originally Posted by 1336203B333C3D520 link=1280908255/12#12 date=1280989573
    Has anyone ever had a bean that was still great to drink after a few months of being roasted but not opened? Lets say it was only 70-80% Arabica.

    Reason being I havent been able to find a bean that is as good as what I got from a sponsor in WA and wanted to get a few kg at a time to save on shipping. *
    I doubt anyone will answer yes.

    I understand the need to save on shipping costs but in my opinion youre dreamin.

    Where are you?
    There are plenty of excellent roasters around the country.
    Someone will surely recommend some closer to home and Im willing to bet you havent tried them all yet.
    Just saw this question and coincidentally I had some three month old beans last week that were barely distinguishable from fresh. So I can answer yes to the above.

    I was so impressed by the quality, I even took photos (I think I have a coffee problem). Since my little gaggia takes time to pull a shot and get ready for the next, I did a test - two shots of each bean. Same roaster, same blend. Obviously photos dont tell the whole story, but the taste was surprisingly good.

    Anyone care to guess the secret?









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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3038363E3C26263A363E550 link=1280908255/22#22 date=1301011400
    Anyone care to guess the secret?
    Your taste buds were on strike....... :D

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6C646A62607A7A666A62090 link=1280908255/22#22 date=1301011400
    Anyone care to guess the secret?
    Storage? Bean type? You got the bags mixed up?

    Im not surprised actually. As Ive said before, there are no rules in coffee consumption, only guidelines.
    I keep my left over grinds in a takeaway food container (with a lid) to use for seasoning shots after a chemical backflush. These accumulate so some grinds may be more than a month old.

    I tasted a seasoning shot that seemed to retain a reasonable amount of crema and it was surprisingly quite good.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Yep storage is the main reason. Kept in sealed bags with one way valves (yeah despite what I said earlier, I do occasionally use them), placed in a dark place at around -20 centigrade.
    ;)

    Since I occasionally pick up a free kilo of fresh roasted coffee, which its more than I can use in a reasonable time, it seemed like a worthwhile thing to try.

    The only real gotcha I noticed is that the bag needs to remain sealed after removing from the freezer until it is back at room temperature.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4F4749414359594549412A0 link=1280908255/25#25 date=1301032816
    placed in a dark place at around -20 centigrade.
    Ah yes, freezer beans. Should have picked that up.
    I agree, bring to room temp before opening but Ive also noticed you need to consume it fairly quickly as it seems to lose its flavour quicker.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 202E232C3B2D2C420 link=1280908255/6#6 date=1280983184
    Undrinkable at 21days you have got to be kidding me, a bit flat and lifeless yes but undrinkable? Suppose it depends on your definition of undrinkable but I find most coffees fine at 21 days.
    I guess everyone has different standards :)

    But yeah... at 21 days, I wouldnt consider them actually undrinkable.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1111115B0 link=1280908255/8#8 date=1280984395
    Im not going to poo poo people who give their beans a shelf life of a month or even more, whatever works for them, but for me, 21 days is about my threshold.
    Most of us know the golden rules for storing coffee, but as Attilio pointed out, the way the beans are roasted has considerable influence (potentially as great as or more than safe storage methods) on the effective quality of the roasted bean over extended periods of time.

    This specific area has largely been ignored in the wild debate about whether a coffee needs to be consumed within certain timeframes.

    Commercial roasters know this subject well - they regularly test fresh, aged and very old packs. In fact, some of the biggest Italian roasters have spent massive amounts of time, money and resources on perfecting roast methods that deliver extended shelf life - of course, their business depends upon it and they are possibly unfairly obsessed (mis-directed) with shelf life as opposed to flavor.

    Any general statements that compare home roasted coffee with a specialty grade commercial roast product and say they are both likely to be reaching undrinkable at 21 days is misleading - personal opinions and preferences aside.

    Many commercially roasted specialty coffees are only just reaching stability at 21 days. Any blends with Indos (in the commercial world, this is likely to be many) are clearly not going to be "consistent" inside the first 14 days.

    Recent trends of lighter roasting will also mean some coffees will have considerable acid that will be unpleasant in the first couple of weeks post-roast.

    An experienced/skilled barista working in a busy cafe generally wont touch a coffee that has not "rested" for 12-14 days - else its too gassy and the flavors have not stabilized.

    As a guide, coming from a commercial specialty roasters perspective - a quality 100% arabica coffee (blend or SO) should be acceptable for 60 days from roast date.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4A4243464B454649434E53270 link=1280908255/27#27 date=1302397205
    As a guide, coming from a commercial specialty roasters perspective - a quality 100% arabica coffee (blend or SO) should be acceptable for 60 days from roast date.
    I prefer to rest most beans for at least 7 days but 60 days sounds firstly subjective and excessive (in my own subjective opinion).

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    I am no expert but I have to say since finding coffeesnobs and reading up on coffee, meeting other coffee lovers and attending a fair few barista courses I prefer fresh coffee.

    I keep beans for up to +/- 28days.

    In the short time I have been on this journey I went from know nothing to knowing a bit more than your average person.

    In my mind and experience I personally dont get any thing out of beans roasted when only god and the roaster know. There is no nuanced flavour, just a bland coffee taste, nothing to excite or stand out.

    I love roasting my own beans or purchasing fresh beans from one of the many fantastic roasters around Australia who all supply a roast date. I love how the flavour changes over time, getting better or on the very odd occasion worse.

    I went from happily drinking nescafe and ordering random coffee from a random place to being selective about where I purchase from.

    To me I can certainly taste and see the difference between coffee that is fresh between 0-28 days and 30+ days old.

    A coffee run to the supermarket left me unhappy at wasting money on old coffee. I opened the bag and smelt stale coffee, I touched oily beans. I persevered and ground this coffee (no lovely aroma, just bland coffee smell) and put it through my beloved Giotto and out poured a white/brown crema. I took a sip winced and dumped the rest in the sink. The beans were from a well established coffee roaster with Italian roots. How old? Older than 30days.

    Compare to my own freshly roasted 8day old SO, the smell in the bag chocolatey, nutty. The feel of the beans were nice, not oily. Grinding released a fantastic aroma. The pour beautiful rich thick golden/brown crema. The taste, lovely.

    So do what you want with your coffee, keep it as long as you want. But from what I have learnt and tasted in just a short time I will stick to fresh thanks.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    I recently picked up a, just used, 3kg metal coffee container from the rubbish of a local cafe.* You will need to guess the brand (think imported, think Italian). Said container was stamped with a "best before" date 03/09/2009

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6E405949736443595F492C0 link=1280908255/30#30 date=1302510006
    Said container was stamped with a "best before" date 03/09/2009
    If its the one I think it is, their marketing spiel says something like this: "A blend preserved this way does not lose its aroma and remains like a freshly roasted coffee after 3 years from packaging date." - which I assume means it was packed around 3/9/2006.....

    Yikes.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 696160656866656A606D70040 link=1280908255/27#27 date=1302397205
    As a guide, coming from a commercial specialty roasters perspective - a quality 100% arabica coffee (blend or SO) should be acceptable for 60 days from roast date.
    :o
    Whoa, 60 days. There is a distinct difference between what is good quality and drinkable. 60 days is around 40 days too long in my opinion. Anything can be "drinkable", I have tested many coffees at many different ages and as far up to 60 days, but have yet to ever taste anything near quality at that age.

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 565E5F5A57595A555F524F3B0 link=1280908255/27#27 date=1302397205
    commercial specialty roasters perspective
    Huh? :-?

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    Re: Stale Beans and shelf life?

    Appologies for the multiple posts all.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6F6766636E60636C666B76020 link=1280908255/27#27 date=1302397205
    Any general statements that compare home roasted coffee with a specialty grade commercial roast product and say they are both likely to be reaching undrinkable at 21 days is misleading
    Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6F6766636E60636C666B76020 link=1280908255/27#27 date=1302397205
    Any blends with Indos (in the commercial world, this is likely to be many) are clearly not going to be "consistent" inside the first 14 days.
    Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6F6766636E60636C666B76020 link=1280908255/27#27 date=1302397205
    Commercial roasters know this subject well - they regularly test fresh, aged and very old packs. In fact, some of the biggest Italian roasters have spent massive amounts of time, money and resources on perfecting roast methods that deliver extended shelf life - of course, their business depends upon it and they are possibly unfairly obsessed (mis-directed) with shelf life as opposed to flavor.
    Hence the reason why import Italian coffee is so dodgy. Money over quality.



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