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Thread: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

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    Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Up until now Ive been keeping my beans in their little bag and tipping just enough into my grinder hopper (Rocky) to meet my immediate needs. I would much prefer to just be able to tip the whole bag in and leave it (sounds lazy doesnt it), but I believe the oils from the beans will over time end up on the burrs and............. Thats about where my knowledge ends.

    So, what are the repercussions of leaving a bag of beans in the hopper? Does it mean Ill have to clean the burrs a little more regularly, or is there something a little more sinister potentially occurring?

    Incidentally my local bike shop has a great little coffee set-up, including a Rocky grinder, and Ive noticed over the years that it always has a hopper full of beans, and great tasting coffee (some of the best coffee in Newcastle, free). Begs the question doesnt it?

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    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    It would probably be ok in a shop with a large turnover of coffee but for home use your beans would go stale fairly quickly. I usually just get enough out of the vacuum bag for immediate use. I usually grind some beans for my early morning coffee as everyone complains if I run the grinder at 5am, luckily I have a mug latte for brekky and that disguises the stale bitter taste of the shot.

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Theyd go stale quicker in the hopper as greenman said.

    I only take enough out of my one-way valved bag for my immediate needs and I have a Macap. So 20gms or so is like a pimple on a pumpkin in that hopper.

    The advantage of the Macap though is that grinding my morning cuppa doesnt wake the household.
    But I have been told this week to be a bit more gentle on the dosing.
    It seems the "thwacking" carries a bit.

    Dont be lazy.

    Enjoy the ritual from go to whoa.

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    There are two schools of thought in these forums about storing beans in the hopper. *The first school says that the grinder will grind more evenly if you have a quantity of beans in the hopper, weighing down the beans being ground and preventing the "popcorn" effect of beans hitting the burrs and flying off again. *

    The second school says that beans will go stale if they are left in the hopper for more than a couple of hours, so should be added only when you are making coffee. *This also lets you blend as you go, or switch between regular and decaf coffee.

    For myself, I have two grinders, one for regular and one for decaf, and half fill each hopper as required. *The Mazzer gets refilled every couple of days, the Sunbeam (with the decaf) might go for a week or so. *Cant say that the decaf stored in the bag is noticably fresher than the decaf thats been in the grinder for a week.

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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    So would the ideal technique for a one-coffee-a-day person be to fill the hopper, grind the correct dose and then empty the unground beans back into a vacuum bag?

    Or is that taking things just a little too far? ;)

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    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    It could be the answer!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Would somebody help out a newbie - where do I get a vacuum bag to store beans?

    Sorry for such a stupid question.

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    taking things too far is the heart of a snob. ::)
    I personally stick about as much as Ill need for the day in the hopper.
    That eliminates the popcorning and reduces the time beans are in contact with the O2.
    I also have a click clack lid rather than rockys lid so that it creates a vacuum seal.
    RH

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Thanks for the responses thus far, so it seems that the issue is more with your beans going stale than any extra maintenance you may induce. Is this right?

    So, on that train of thought, how long does it take for the taste of your beans to be affected by exposure to O2? A day, a week, two weeks maybe?

    The roaster I generally buy my beans from supplies them in a paper baggy thing anyway, not particularly airtight! I normally only by 250g at a time, and must admit, I dont think Ive noticed any difference over the week it takes to get through them.

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    prc6of7

    There is a "rule of threes" which applies to beans....

    Green beans last 3 years!!!!
    Roast whole beans 3 weeks (in a one way valved bag preferably)
    Ground beans last 3 minutes

    Those times are average.... some beans dont deteriorate as fast - some others a little faster than that.....

    The above assumes a cool, dry storage location away from heat or light.... heat, moisture or light will speed up the ageing process.

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Quote Originally Posted by tojo1 link=1191738392/0#6 date=1191811984
    Would somebody help out a newbie - where do I get a vacuum bag to store beans?

    Sorry for such a stupid question.
    No such thing as a stupid question.

    Click on Coffee Parts, to the left of screen and have a look, they will be able to help you.

    Great service.

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1191738392/0#9 date=1191829427
    prc6of7

    There is a "rule of threes" which applies to beans....

    Green beans last 3 years!!!!
    Roast whole beans 3 weeks (in a one way valved bag preferably)
    Ground beans last 3 minutes
    Nicely summed up in a nutshell mate!

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    ive been thinking about this too. Surely, the act of opening your one-way bag, removing enough for one cup, and closing the bag again causes an equilibrium effect with the atmpsphere. the air inside the bag (if you dont squeeze it all out) will cause the beans to oxidise too.

    if you fill the hopper, grind, then empty the hopper back in to the bag, this would do the same.

    im a habitual hopper filler- usually enough for 3-4 days. My palate is not good enough to taste the stale beans, and most of my drinks are milk based.

    does anyone know how beans oxidise? do they oxidise to the point where a protective layer of oxidisation covers the bean, stopping any further oxidisation, or do they continue to oxidise right throughout the whole of the bean?

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Notwithstanding the discussions on acceleration of staling, Ill add an additional observation to the fold * :)

    In my first week with a grinder/semi-auto combination, I subscribed to the "leave em in until theyre gone" school of thought (afterall, it worked for the Superauto I had previously owned *::) - but I found that every morning (particularly during the cooler winter months), I would have have to re-adjust my grinder a couple of notches (to run it coarser) from where it had been the previous afternoon.

    In speaking with a local cafe-owner & well known Coffee Geek, he told me that the combination of cooler temperatures / higher humidity of the early mornings (and having left the beans in overnight) was enough to warrant a coarser grind - roasted beans being hydro-scopic n all.

    So, I now fill on demand and find I go through far fewer beans trying to nail the grind setting in the mornings.

    Cheers,

    -A-

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Quote Originally Posted by crafty_butcher link=1191738392/0#12 date=1191833215
    Surely, the act of opening your one-way bag, removing enough for one cup, and closing the bag again causes an equilibrium effect with the atmpsphere. the air inside the bag (if you dont squeeze it all out) will cause the beans to oxidise too.
    Interesting point! Maybe the answer is to divide a 250g bag immediately into 13 17g mini vacuum bags (if such a thing exists!), so you just empty a mini bag each time you want a cup! There might be a market for this! :D

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    I have thought about what crafty_butcher said before. If you open the bag several times per day, the beans wont replace the oxygen fast enough. Maybe even open the bag once a day for a cuppa, unless of course its straight after roasting. If it is straight after roasting and want to speed up the process abit why not just leave in hopper?

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    With coffee beans the idea is to minimise contact with oxygen -- its what makes them go stale.

    Storing in a hopper will make them go stale because it is not vacuum sealed.

    WHen the beans are freshly roasted, the plan is to allow them to outgas carbon dioxide --- but that doesnt mean they should simultaneously be exposed to air. Hence, degas them in one-way valve bags.


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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    i can respect what youre saying robusto, and i agree that oxygen causes beans to go stale, but does anyone know how much oxygen? does anyone know the chemistry behind it?

    this is my basic understanding of chemistry. for any given material to oxidise, a chemical reaction takes place that causes that materail to react (with oxygen, and sometimes other substances), which creates a new substance (i.e. pitting in aluminium= aluminium oxide, rusting in steel, in coffee beans=not coffee bean anymore).

    but what i want to know is how much oxygen is too much. do we need the equivalent volume of 1L of air to oxidise one bean, or 1mL to oxidise one bean. also, how quick does the reaction take place? i imagine its relatively slow (i.e. not instanateous), giving you time to expose bean to air, replace them in to a vacuume bag and re-seal.

    i know a chemist, ill try to find out.

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    craft_butcher,

    Oxidation of beans is an organic chemistry reaction not inorganic (like rusting of steel)....

    It is the oils in the coffee which are being oxidised - going rancid - just like butter does when left in a warm environment and exposed to air.....

    So whilst it is an oxidation reaction (combination with oxygen) it is a different process to that in inorganic chemistry....

    And re volume..... a small amount of oxygen will cause some degradation.... obviously the greater the amount, the more rapidly this will take place... the more oil on the surface of the bean, the more rapidly this can take place..... the higher the temperature, the more rapidly it takes place - even exposure to light will speed up the process - again it is ORGANIC chemistry you need to look at...

    Easy answer - minimise the exposure!!

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    thanks, i think ill trust you and stop google-ing now!!

    this has rapidly gone over my head.

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Quote Originally Posted by crafty_butcher link=1191738392/15#19 date=1191892000
    thanks, i think ill trust you and stop google-ing now!!

    this has rapidly gone over my head.
    Heres another thing. Dont vacuum seal your beans. Seal them in one-way valve bags, which are not the same as vacuum packed bags. :)

    Vacuum sealing the beans has been discussed in great depth elsewhere on here and a quick search should give you plenty of info as to why its generally frowned upon.


    Java "One-way all the way!" phile

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    I have been reading this thread and in the words of Kath Day. I have one word to say "anal retentive" Arent we getting a little bit precious about coffee.
    I would defy any one to taste the difference between coffee left in the hopper for a week or so and beans taken straight from the bag. Even if you roast yourself the outer crust of the bean would begin to oxidise almost immediately as would a bag of beans bought from a supplier. This oxidised layer would stabilise pretty quickly, but the heart of the bean would remain fresh.

    Personally I buy beans in 500g bags from a good roaster here in Adelaide which last for a couple of weeks each. I do agree that the amount of ground coffee should be minimised (doser) but the rest of the argument s moot as far as I can see.

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    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    OK, you can try and defy me, " barista backwards"...
    there is a very very definite difference in flavour balance, crema and pure drinkability in coffee made form beans stored "open" or sealed.

    the simple explanation JavaB gave for the oxidisation of the volatile oils is the bottom line truth and unless the beans are covered in a very thick layer of oil which acts like a seal, it will just keep on happening... unfortunately you cannot cheat with basic chemistry.
    i thought i could.. and left beans in my mini hopper whilst going away for a weekend.
    on our return i couldnt believe the bleh-coffee i was making, even after trying to adjust the grind... until it dawned on me what had happened, and i pulled beans of the same roast out of a one-way valved bag and repeated the grind, extraction and taste-test.
    needless to say i will NEVER leave beans out of their sealed bag for more than 24 hours!!!
    why would i??

    and as an aside: my mother, who had a wall mounted coffee grinder, never put more than the required amount of beans in it, because she found the coffee nicer when the beans were ground fresh from the grease-proof paper bags....
    old wisdom.... just took me a while to cotton on!! ;D ;D

    L



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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Hmmm.
    You might not be able to taste much difference, but I reckon I can name at least 6 members here who could.

    Plus, there are other variables to consider. EG: Is the hopper exposed to sunlight at any point of the day?

    Some palates are capable of quite amazing distinctions.

    Is it going to matter to the majority? Who knows. The whole idea here is to share information. You ask a question, you get responses and you see what works for you.

    I dont think people should blindly accept everything as gospel, but considering the depth of experience here, I also dont think the argument is moot.


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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    I did an experiment shortly after starting this topic, filling my grinder hopper with enough beans to last just under a week. Over that time I believe I did notice a slight deterioration in the flavour and quality of my shots. I also had to fine up the grind a lot more over that week.

    In that time I have also been adjusting and experimenting with my dosing and tamping, so that may have also effected the results.

    I concluded that enough beans for 1 - 2 days in the hopper is the go for me, when I have my dosing/tamping nice and consistent Ill re-evaluate though....

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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Im just bemused as to why you would come to a website with the word "coffeesnobs" in the URL, then ask "Arent we getting a little bit precious about coffee."!

    I mean, of course we bloody are - whats your point? ;)

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Quote Originally Posted by m@ link=1191738392/15#25 date=1193178505
    Im just bemused as to why you would come to a website with the word "coffeesnobs" in the URL, then ask "Arent we getting a little bit precious about coffee."!

    I mean, of course we bloody are - whats your point? ;)
    Absolutely ;D [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    Mal.

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    Re: Storing Beans In Your Grinder Hopper

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1191738392/15#26 date=1193189687
    Quote Originally Posted by m@ link=1191738392/15#25 date=1193178505
    Im just bemused as to why you would come to a website with the word "coffeesnobs" in the URL, then ask "Arent we getting a little bit precious about coffee."!

    I mean, of course we bloody are - whats your point? ;)
    Absolutely ;D [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    Mal.
    Agree, but the disclaimer is that we are also open to the fact that others may have different needs and expectations.

    I like a good coffee, but due to age and the poor manner in which I have treated my pallet over the years... What is great for me may be only good to others.

    Thus, for me our house tends to place enough beans for the day. If the wife comes home and has an extra shot or two without me then it may get a minor top up in the afternoon. A few beans may remain until a top up and a coffee in the morning. Can I tell the difference... NO.

    Leave it for a few days (long weekend for eg) and the 6910 tells me by the gauge and the pour that something is not right. If I was to have a straight shot.. The taste would confirm, but why prove the known

    With the milk then added into the equation, my wife has been known to comment..

    Cause... degassing, stale or the beans changing their properties and thus the way they they grind... :-? Who knows but at greater that 2 days I know something is not OK. Easy fix... Beans for a day ;D and even the wife can manage that.

    NOTE: Many fast food outlets that serve coffee, never manage their grind settings, and often fill the hoppers of an evening as part of their prep. Thus if not open for a day or two. the first hopper load must deliver damn interesting coffee. But guess what? The majority of people never notice or do not care.

    That is why we DO.



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