How to look after your new beans

How to look after your new Beans


You have purchased your beans (after making a selection based on previous articles The importance of knowing your green bean origin and What influences your choice of coffee?) – great work. Basically, store them in an air tight container away from sunlight and any heat whatsoever (hopefully the bag you bought them in has a one way valve in it – to release the carbon dioxide from the beans and stop air getting into the bag, as air stales roasted beans). Also, hopefully the bag is resealable and foil lined so that the beans are not exposed to light. This being the case, you can keep them in the bag they came in – instead of using a container. Keep the bag (or container) in a dark cool place away from sunlight and heat – do not keep them in the fridge (during use, the cold beans return to room temperature, during which condensation will form on the beans and within the bag which then spoils the beans). Most people store them in the back/bottom of their pantry.

If you are lucky enough to have access to your roaster who will roast on demand for you – you may be able to obtain the beans 1 or 2 days post roast – making them very fresh indeed – in the case for our customers, some get their beans whilst they are still slightly warm from the roaster… A lot is said about the maturation in flavours of beans and that it can take anywhere between 2 and 10 days of resting in their original bag for sufficient carbon dioxide to off gas, acids to boil off and light oils to evaporate (amongst other things), that forms part of a chemical development process occurring within the beans that changes the flavours to a more appealing and settled taste.

Taste is something that is yours. What 1 person believes, another will refute. Personally, I say that you should try the beans straight away – and then keep trying them as they evolve – why wouldn’t you want to experience every flavour development that a bean has to offer – you never know, the early development flavours may appeal the most to you. There is no real rule book on this one – just give it a crack (and often).

Once the bag is opened, you should aim to consume all of the beans (keeping them sealed, with all the air squished out of the bag at all times unless specifically dispensing some into your grinder for a single coffee making session) over about a 2 to 3 week period (max) – as the flavours will tend to drop off quickly after this time. If you haven’t opened the bag at all, the beans (if stored correctly) should last for at least 2 weeks before opening – just make sure they are consumed during a 2 week window after opening if you waited a few weeks to open them in the first place – makes you wonder about the bags of beans for sale at the supermarket – some with an expiry of up to a year…

Only put the beans that you are going to use during that session into your grinder. Then expel all the air as you reseal the bag and put it away immediately. Do not grind until right before each extraction – and only grind what you require for each individual extraction. The beans will lose flavour and oils relative to the amount of time they sit out of the bag and this degradation is exponentially amplified once the beans are ground – minutes make a huge difference!

All this advice is centred around you making better choices to get a better cup – Why buy 1kg from your roaster if it’s going to take you 4 weeks to consume it – why not a regular, fresher 1/2kg? Why buy from a supermarket in an attempt to save a few dollars and because it’s “right there” which only translates to a very lack lustre, uninteresting and usually poor tasting cup of coffee – when you could try a myriad of exotic flavours from around the world simply by doing a search on google to find a local roaster – who can post it straight to you, or perhaps who you could pick up directly from…

Life is too short to drink bad coffee as well as turning good coffee bad – get the right beans, store them correctly and enjoy them in a timely manner. Easy peasy…

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