How to Tell if Your Coffee is Fresh
A single coffee bean is composed of thousands of compounds and molecules, all of which can either degrade or evaporate over time. Carbohydrates go stale, lipids rot, and oils evaporate. Over time, all of this can contribute to a degraded flavor profile.
However, you can gauge the freshness of your coffee beans by checking the “roasted on” date. Your coffee beans are the freshest between the five to thirty day mark. You can also sniff your beans to understand how fresh they are. While your tongue can only taste five flavors (sweet, sour, bitter, savory, and umami), your nose can detect thousands of different molecules. Simply smelling your beans can tell you all you need to know about old coffee beans.
Some Tips to Ensure a Fresh Brew
Keeping your beans fresh requires you to fight against a natural process. However, if you follow these tips, you can keep your beans fresh long past their expiration date:
● Storing coffee beans in a cool, dark, and dry place preserves the flavor longer. Choosing an opaque container will keep your beans from light exposure, which can compromise your coffee’s taste.
● Brew your beans as close to the roasting date as possible. A good rule of thumb is to use them between five to thirty days from when they were roasted. As the beans sit, oxidation occurs, where carbon dioxide leaves the beans and is replaced by oxygen.
● Don’t brew your beans too soon, either. After beans are roasted, they undergo an off-gassing period. Waiting three to five days is usually a good rule of thumb.
● Buy your beans in small batches to guarantee coffee freshness and reduce waste.