Freshness of speciality coffee beans
One of the primary focal points of the speciality coffee industry is freshness and clarity of flavour and it's essential for the end user to know the roast date of the coffee they are working with. After the roasting process coffee needs to degas by releasing CO2. This resting and degassing process can take days, even weeks and the best flavours tend not to be found within the first few days after the roast. There is a very good blog post written about this over at Nude Espresso which is well worth reading. I'm not intending to copy that post but to give our customers some insight into our findings and the way that we rest coffee before sending it out.
We cup all our roasts the next day for quality control purposes. In order to achieve this we now roast single origins on a Monday and these are then sent out on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. That means you should always receive coffee that is no more than 4 days from the roast date. I've found that flavours tend to open up after about 5 days from the roast date and are at their best for a good 1 to 3 weeks from roasting. I've been testing some coffees at home with longer rest dates using a Mahlkonig Vario and Aeropress and I'm still getting fantastic flavour character from our Nicaragua Samaria at 5 weeks from roasting! Some of the bright front end acidity has become muted but the sweetness and intense fruit character is still very evident. As long as the coffee is stored properly in a sealed container (not in the fridge) in a cool dark place in whole bean form our single origins should continue to taste great for at least 4 weeks from the roast date.
Resting for espresso is even more important than for other brew methods. If used to soon the degassing during the espresso extraction process can cause issues including channeling and will always be more difficult for the barista to work with. If we need to test coffees at the roastery on our La Marzocco we try to wait for a minimum of 5 to 7 days but this is still too soon. At our shop, Bond St Coffee, we aim for a resting time of 12-14 days as this always gives better clarity of flavour.
We hope you've found this blog post useful. If possible always try to rest the coffee you purchase for a good 5 days from the roast date and don't worry too much about stocking up on 3 to 4 weeks worth of coffee! Just make sure you always grind fresh and store the whole beans in a cool dark place in a sealed container.