Sipping a fragrant cup of fine coffee, freshly ground in your own kitchen from premium roasted beans is one of the simple joys in life.
However, did you know that there is an optimum time frame to grind and enjoy your chosen beans? The roasting date is the key to making use of the window of opportunity when your coffee will be at its most flavoursome. But first, let’s get a bit geeky about the whole roasting process.
What happens during roasting?
You probably already know that every coffee bean starts as a fresh berry. During the roasting process, carbon dioxide forms inside the bean, along with other gases. The heat of the roasting is the catalyst for the breakdown of complex carbohydrates inside the bean into smaller molecules, making the beans brown and developing those delicious roasted flavours.
As the roasting progresses, carbon dioxide is slowly released from the bean. This process is called degassing.
The key to perfect roasting is the management of the degassing period – if the beans are allowed to degas for too long, they will start to absorb oxygen, or oxidate, making them go stale. If they are not degassed for long enough, gas left inside the beans will stop water from flowing through the coffee when it is ground. This makes a brew that lacks flavour and intensity.
When should you grind your roast beans?
Most coffee experts suggest that you should wait around a week after the roasting date before grinding beans.
Coffee beans are packed and sealed tightly, and this slows down the degassing and oxidation process. However, once a bag is opened, this process slowly starts again.
We recommend using beans within a few weeks of the roasting date to enjoy them at their absolute best.
Store them in an airtight container away from sunlight, and only grind the amount you need for each brew, as ground coffee deteriorates in flavour and aroma much quicker than whole beans. For our pick of the best coffee grinders in 2022, whatever your budget, check out our blog here.
Consider a fresh coffee subscription so that you always have the freshest, most aromatic coffee beans to hand, ready to brew up that authentic coffee shop experience at home.
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