Once a red ripe coffee cherry is picked, the freshness clock begins ticking. Processing results in green coffee beans. These are sorted and shipped to buyers around the world. Two to four months in a burlap sack and the roasting company receives the beans.
The roasting process releases the complex characteristics held in each bean. Immediately after roasting the bean gives off odorless carbon dioxide, masking its aroma. This mask acts as an envelope protecting it from the staling effects of oxygen. In a day or so the carbon dioxide begins to subside and oxygen blends in. The beans develop aromas and allure. Roasted beans remain at their peak of flavor and fragrance for perhaps three weeks out of the roaster, especially if kept in a sealed glass jar.
Be aware that as coffee is roasted longer, making it darker, the bean is much more susceptible to aging and staling. We’ve all seen how oily dark beans can get. There isn’t much surface left to insulate the goodies inside. Take pains to protect your Italian Roasts!
Grinding exposes the entire coffee bean to the environment, thus ground coffee should be brewed pretty much immediately.
Packaged coffee, whether in steel cans or metalized laminate bags, seals out oxygen. In this way coffee can stay relatively fresh for months. Many companies inject inert nitrogen into the package before sealing, making extra certain that no oxygen lingers in the package.
Something must be said here about perceived differences between coffee fresh from a roasting drum and that which is kept fresh in special packaging. We at Hashems.com feel that the best coffees are those allowed to aspirate in a natural environment. Sealed packaging is a good compromise if there are inconveniences in obtaining freshly roasted coffee. Packaged coffees allow travel, and increase choice.
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