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Thread: Bean storage question.

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    Bean storage question.

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

    Im still pretty new to all this. At present, I just keep my beans in a sealed bag with a one way valve.

    Anyway, my question is; has anyone tried the vacuum pots? And are they any better than just keeping the beans in the bag?

    Now Ive read that you should store your beans in a bag in a "cool dry place" ...yeah right...if you can find a cool dry place in the average Brisbane house :) Would it be better to store them in the fridge in a hot climate like ours?

    Thanks for helping me peoples!

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Hi Meaty0

    The sealed one way valved bags (with excess air squeezed out) is the best solution.

    What makes coffee smell and taste as it should are aromatic volatile oils.... if exposed to air these become rancid and the taste suffers..... but reduce the pressure (by applying a vacuum) and the volatile oils "boil off"..... goodbye aroma and taste. In effect a vacuum "sucks the life out of the beans". They wont go rancid.... they will just make flat and uninteresting coffee.

    Yep, I would imagine it is quite hard to find a cool spot in Brisbane (Im in Perth so its not that differnt) however the air contains moisture - more so in Brisbane than here) and when you put them in the fridge the moisture in the container will condense.... similarly when you take them out of the fridge moisture from the air will condense on the cool beans surface. Moisture means they are no longer dry..... and that will degrade the beans as well.

    So the one way valved bags you are currently using stored in the coolest place you can find - but not the fridge or freezer - is the best you can do. Just make sure when you reseal the bag you roll it up afterwards to squeeze out as much air as you can.

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Hey Meaty0,

    Im in humid ol Brizzy too. I store my roasts in the 1-way valve bags in my pantry in the kitchen. I chose that spot because it faces North - ie wont get the morn sun from the East, or the more penetrating Westerly sun in the sticky arvos. So, my advice ... coolest room in the house, dry, & dark.

    Cheers,
    Tony

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Thanks for that info JavaB. Is the freezer ok for long-term storage?

    Thanks Tony. Pretty much what Im doing now.

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meaty0 link=1195787881/0#3 date=1195789725
    Thanks for that info JavaB. *Is the freezer ok for long-term storage? *

    Hmm...now let me think about that....NO!

    Why store it long term anyway?? Get some green and the coffee will always be fresh!

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1195787881/0#4 date=1195789806
    Quote Originally Posted by Meaty0 link=1195787881/0#3 date=1195789725
    Thanks for that info JavaB. Is the freezer ok for long-term storage?

    Hmm...now let me think about that....NO!

    Why store it long term anyway?? Get some green and the coffee will always be fresh!
    Hi Chris,

    Sometimes, when Im at markets, food expos, etc, Ill see coffee that I want to try (roasted whole bean), so I buy it. I may not use it for a month or more while I use up the coffee I already have open. Since its Summer, I wonder about storing the new stuff in the freezer. I wouldnt keep putting it back in the freezer once I open the bag of course. The freezer keeps everything else stable; why not coffee?

    Paul

    As for roasting the green stuff. Well I havent got space on the bench for a roaster or the time/inclination to do it...YET!

    (Loving my Makin Signature by the way)

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Meaty0,

    Some people have claimed that storage in the freezer has worked for them - providing the beans are consumed immediately after removal..... so that is kind of impractical unless you freeze in very small quantities....

    And even doing that the general feeling is the taste is flatter than fresh beans..... Ive tried it - didnt like it!!!

    But then again I would NEVER buy beans at markets or expos etc (unless from a reputable roaster who was willing to confirm that the beans were only a few days post roast). Generally they neither know or care how old the beans are....... so in reality they are probably stale when you bought them.... so fridge, freezer, left outdoors in the sun.... wont deteriorate them much more or make them fresh again.....

    The roasters listed here (including Andy) have a range of very interesting blends and SO roasted beans.... so there is always something "interesting" on offer - and it will be FRESHLY roasted as well.... you can taste the difference - big time!

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    We recommend that our beans be stored in a cool dry environment. Pantries and grocery storage areas for whole beans. Resealable bags of course.

    The freezer issue is a good one. Our theory is that beans stored in cold environments absorb moisture. When any item is removed from a cold environment, moisture condenses on the bean, to be absorbed.

    Wherever possible, buy in smaller quantities and drink at their peak.




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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Thanks for the replies everyone. Yes I sometimes wonder when I buy from markets, how fresh the stuff really is. But these people are there every week, so if they sold crappy beans theyd be out of business I guess! They usually taste pretty good though.

    As for fridge storage, its interesting that Zarraffas store their "retail beans" in fridges (not freezers). That may say a lot, or a little, about Zarraffas.

    I think Ill just take everyones advice and store them in zip lock bags and keep them in a coolish place.

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meaty0 link=1195787881/0#8 date=1195795457
    Thanks for the replies everyone. Yes I sometimes wonder when I buy from markets, how fresh the stuff really is. But these people are there every week, so if they sold crappy beans theyd be out of business I guess!
    Most coffee drinkers wouldnt know the difference between truly fresh beans and the ones that the bulk purveyors of roast beans supply the cafes. Hey they even enjoy a McCafe.....

    Ive seen bags at markets which have been there week after week.... slowly getting lower each week..... and when you accept that the life of roasted beans is three weeks from roasting.... at best they are probably at least a week old when the stall holder buys them......

    Get some 3-4 day post roast coffee.... and taste the differnce!

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1195787881/0#9 date=1195796147

    Most coffee drinkers wouldnt know the difference between truly fresh beans and the ones that the bulk purveyors of roast beans supply the cafes. Hey they even enjoy a McCafe.....
    Oh dear! I think I may fall into the "most coffee drinkers" category :( I have even stooped to drinking McCafe on occasion. But that was for the caffeine not the flavour. :) But Hey! Im a newbie!

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    depends what the fridge is set at, Ive seen them stored in a fridge at 15 degrees at a shop in brisbane.

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1195787881/0#4 date=1195789806
    Quote Originally Posted by Meaty0 link=1195787881/0#3 date=1195789725
    Thanks for that info JavaB. Is the freezer ok for long-term storage?

    Hmm...now let me think about that....NO!
    Ken Fox from Home Barista would disagree with you. He did a very extensive test, including blind tasting with experienced tasters and the final conclusion was that they couldnt tell the difference between fresh roasted and coffee that had been frozen for 2 months. See Home Barista website for more detailed info.


    Bill

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill link=1195787881/0#12 date=1195825623

    Ken Fox from Home Barista would disagree with you. He did a very extensive test, including blind tasting with experienced tasters and the final conclusion was that they couldnt tell the difference between fresh roasted and coffee that had been frozen for 2 months. See Home Barista website for more detailed info.


    Bill
    Bill,

    Id be interested at the roast level of the beans they tested.

    I have a theory - and its only a theory - that the amount of apparent degradation depends on roast level.

    I seem to recall that American coffee beans are typically roasted to a darker level than that of Australian coffee beans.... Java "is that really true" phile can possibly shed some light on that.

    I personally like the brighter and more bean dependent flavours you get from roasts pulled just before or right at second crack..... rather than the smoother "flavour of the roast" one gets when the beans are taken well into second crack.

    Lightly roasted beans after freezing seem smoother and more bland to my palate.... almost as if they were roasted to a greater level...... and I dont find the flavour of these dark roasts anywhere near as interesting or pleasant.....

    So maybe, just maybe.... if you start of with a darker roast.... after freezing it still tastes like a darker roast..... where as the lighter roast is degraded.... at least for those who prefer it that way!

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    And as for vacuum storage, Id like to see a proper scientific test done on this. Illy have done a lot of testing regarding different storage methods and their findings were that vacuum stored coffee lasted up to twice as long as valved bag storage. I dont know if they tested for best taste quality though.

    Before I became a CoffeeSnob, and started reading all these websites, I used to always store in the fridge in a vacuum container. Now I store at room temp in a valved bag. After changing to valved bags, I never noticed any taste improvement compared to the vacuum containers, but then I wasnt really looking for any difference. The only thing I did notice though was that the coffee would go off quicker in the valved bags compared to vacuumed and in fridge (Im talking about storage of up to approx. 4 weeks here) . Id like to try a proper side-by-side taste test one day, but as Ive started roasting my own now, in small batches, theres no need for me to try to extend the life of the beans anymore. In fact I have the opposite problem now with the beans being too fresh and having to leave them to rest for a number of days.

    Also, Paul Bassett, in his Living Coffee series, actually advocates storing coffee in those vacuum containers. Now, being a world barista champion, I cant really imagine that hed recommend those containers if he thought they "sucked the life out of the beans" as so many people say.

    Obviously the ideal solution though would be to have fresh roasted coffee stored in valved bags and consumed within say 2 weeks. However if you are buying larger quantities of coffee that you cant consume within 2 weeks, then you may have to look at other options like fridge, freezer, vacuum, etc to extend the life of the beans, as I dont believe, in my experience, that coffee lasts much longer than 2 weeks in those valved bags.


    Bill

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1195787881/0#13 date=1195827757
    Bill,

    Id be interested at the roast level of the beans they tested.
    The coffee that was compared in this experiment was single origin MAO Ethiopian Harrar Horse obtained in green (unroasted) form late in the summer of 2006 from <link deleted>. This coffee was selected for several reasons including the fact that it makes nice single origin espresso, I had enough of it in inventory to test, and finally because it tends to show when it is staling by losing its multidimensional flavors and becoming "flat." All of it came in a single 11 pound bag and all batches were roasted identically to approximately 442F with the same roast parameters, a level at the very beginning of second crack which produced beans with no visible oiling. A 500 grams gas-fired drum sample roaster was used as shown to the right. The beans were introduced at an approximate drum temperature of 360F, after which first crack started between 9 minutes and 9 minutes 15 seconds, and the total roast duration was between 12 minutes 15 seconds and 13 minutes. Roast progress was followed with the aid of an internal thermocouple in the roast drum, plus a Fluke digital thermometer.

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1195787881/0#13 date=1195827757
    I seem to recall that American coffee beans are typically roasted to a darker level than that of Australian coffee beans.... Java "is that really true" phile can possibly shed some light on that.
    Yup, beans tend to be roasted very dark here. Even so called light roasts are very dark.

    Most roasters Ive talked too just roll their eyes at their customers preferred taste. The roasters know the beans taste better at lighter roasts but those damn customers only buy dark roasts. As a result you rarely see a true light roast coffee around here.


    Java "Going against the grain!" phile

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Actually, I bought some brown beans from the Bean Bay a few months ago, and since it wasnt economical to pay postage on just 0.5kg (my usual quantity I buy as this is as much as I can use up in 2 weeks), I bought 1.0kg and vacuumed and froze half of it. The beans that had been vacuumed and frozen, to me, did not taste as good as the beans when they first arrived freshly roasted, however, they did taste slightly better than the beans that has been in the valved bag for 2 weeks.

    In an ideal world we would buy (or roast our own) small quantity of coffee every week, so we have fresh coffee on hand all the time. In reality though, this isnt always practical for whatever reason. So in that case it may be necessary to extend to shelf life (of whatever portion you cant consume within 2 weeks or so) by freezing, vacuuming or whatever, and just accept the reduction in taste you may or may not notice as a result.


    Bill

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Well I just got some Merlo Riviera Blend out of the freezer. It was roasted the day before I bought it and has been in the freezer for three weeks now, and it tasted pretty darn good. Ill go over and buy some more tomorrow and see how it tastes in comparison.

    I dont think my palate is "snobby" enough to notice the difference yet though :(

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    If you froze it the day after roasting it had no time to degas.
    Im wondering too what the comparison shows.

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1195787881/15#19 date=1195901268
    If you froze it the day after roasting it had no time to degas.
    Im wondering too what the comparison shows.
    Thats what they did in the Home Barista test. They froze straight after roasting, just after the beans had cooled. They said they degassed after thawing out.


    Bill

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1195787881/15#19 date=1195901268
    If you froze it the day after roasting it had no time to degas.
    Im wondering too what the comparison shows.
    Okay. I just came back from Merlo and picked up 250 gm of their most recently roasted Riviera blend. Got home...made a coffee with it...pretty darn good and nicely balanced.

    Did the same with the "ex frozen" stuff...it tastes "different" but not worse. Hard to quantify, but certainly not bitter or sour or stale. We both felt that they were equally enjoyable short blacks. There may be a difference in the roasting technique. I dont feel my wife or I are totally qualified to test this however as we are both still "newbie snobs" (snewbies?)

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meaty0 link=1195787881/15#21 date=1195956826
    (snewbies?)
    ;D

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Because of the hot, humid weather of late I have noticed my beans are getting oily and bland smelling alot quicker than they did in winter.
    I am in Melbourne, with air conditioning in only the 2 bedrooms which face west, the rest of the house has good air flow and so is the same temperature as outside. So there are no places that are cool all of the time, unless I forget about the power bill and leave the air conditioner on all day.

    What I have done now is got a bar fridge that I was not using and set it so the temperature is 12-14 degrees.
    The beans are in a zip lock bag and then a shopping bag to keep any of the beans touching the cold walls of the fridge.

    I dont see why this will not work, as it gets to this temperature overnight in winter anyway.
    Only time will tell, I have a 1.3kg batch which would normally last about 14 days and have put 800g in the fridge and the rest is in a zip lock bag in the drawer under the grinder, which I am using now and tastes great.

    When this lot runs out I will take another 500g from storage, and if the first shot of that tastes/smells/behaves fresher than the last shot of the ones stored out in a side by side test (which will have been out about 5 or 6 days then in the warm) I will consider this method a success and use it the rest of the summer.

    John.


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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by itsme5k link=1195787881/15#23 date=1196230418
    When this lot runs out I will take another 500g from storage, and if the first shot of that tastes/smells/behaves fresher than the last shot of the ones stored out in a side by side test (which will have been out about 5 or 6 days then in the warm) I will consider this method a success and use it the rest of the summer.

    John.
    Oooo. Good test for the theory John. I cant see why inside a fridge shouldnt be cool and dry. Its when you take them out that the condensation and problems begin..I guess? Let us know how you get on.

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meaty0 link=1195787881/15#24 date=1196247198
    I cant see why inside a fridge shouldnt be cool and dry.
    The problem is that you start with warm air and as it cools the water vapour condenses.
    When you open the door you let more warm air in.

    However, keeping things away from the sides should cut down on direct contact with water for a start.

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1195787881/15#25 date=1196253338
    The problem is that you start with warm air and as it cools the water vapour condenses.
    When you open the door you let more warm air in.
    I thought about this TG, but with this cheap little fridge (one where the freezer isnt isolated from the fridge but just a shelf with the cooling coils) I believe all the water would condense on this freezer section. Also because I have my fridge at this very low setting the freezer is only +2 degrees so I dont get any ice forming, instead just water dripping at the back which is collected by a towel in a tray and only even does this when the door is open.

    This is not to say that the moisture in the beans and air in the bags wont condense causing water to form on the beans. This is why I will only open the bag twice at the most to take beans out, and squeeze as much air out as I can each time.

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    If it works well it would not be hard to make a bean storage fridge out of a peltier cooler and an esky and set the temperature whatever you like.

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    Re: Bean storage question.

    Ok,
    So I took the next 500g out today, and made a side by side shot with the last of the beans kept in the kitchen.
    Firstly, there was quite a bit less surface oil on the beans from the fridge, and they also smelt a lot better in the bag (probably because there was a lot more....).
    They smelt pretty much the same when they went through the grinder.
    The grounds were weighed prior to dosing and machine flushed to same temp before each shot.

    The results were close to what I was expecting. The beans from the fridge poured out to about 40ml in 32 sec, while the other ones poured closer to 60ml in 28 sec. I had not changed the grinder since I first dialed in the blend. When I did this (on the 28th) it was closer to 40ml in 32 and slowly changed over the few days they were out to what it was this morning.

    So the beans did seem fresher from the fridge, but this could also be due to the bag in the fridge never being opened where as the bag in the kitchen was opened to get beans for each shot, therefore allowing a lot more air to come in contact with them.

    I will have to try this a bit more over the hot weather and see how it goes.

    John.



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