While we all love to visit those swanky coffee shops with roasteries in-house that claim to have ‘the freshest coffee in the city’, a lot of us know very little about the longevity of coffee beans. Whether you like to consume your caffeinated drink on the sofa at home or in a hip coffee and cocktail bar in the heart of London, it’s good to know what ‘fresh coffee’ really means. How long can you keep your beans in your kitchen cupboard and claim they are still great tasting? How long until the beans become stale and lose taste? And how do we recognise stale beans?
As with most coffee-related questions, we turned to our roastery for the answers...
WHAT COUNTS AS FRESH COFFEE?
In all honesty, the coffee industry has failed to provide a set length of time for this question. A lot of connoisseurs agree on different dates. With so many variables affecting the freshness of beans (i.e. quality of packaging, whether the coffee is ground or whole bean, how it is stored etc), it's very hard to provide a specific length of time.
Generally speaking, the closer to the roast date, the fresher the coffee. However, it is important to note that the aroma and balance of flavour does not settle until around a week after the roast date. This means, freshly roasted coffee can vary in taste quite a lot. For Presto beans, we recommend that for optimum taste, our blends should be consumed around 7 - 30 days after roasting.
HOW LONG DOES COFFEE LAST?
The commonly recommended amount of time people should be looking to consume their coffee beans is around three months. However, for ground coffee, our advice is up to a month. After the beans have been ground, there is more opportunity for oxidisation, meaning they are prone to turning stale more quickly. For the regular coffee drinkers out there, these timelines shouldn’t be a problem, but for those of us who enjoy our brew a little less frequent, this may seem like a very fast turnaround time to get through your bag of coffee.
There are ways in which you can preserve your coffee beans and keep them fresher for longer, this includes:
- Storing in an airtight container - for best results, keep out of light and in a cool, dry place.
- Buying whole beans and only grinding when you use the coffee
- Don’t store in the fridge - despite what some might think, the fridge isn't cold enough to prolong the length of coffee staying fresh and it can harm the taste and aroma.
Our new tin design offers a great airtight option, with it’s the aluminium case, beans and ground coffee can be kept on the shelf in its airtight container. On top of this, it’s 100% recyclable, so no need to worry about creating more waste!
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN COFFEE IS STALE
If you smell your coffee and receive the gorgeous aroma of chocolate or nutty flavours mentioned on the packaging, then it is deliciously fresh. However, if you can smell nothing, then it’s likely your coffee is stale. If you proceed to taste the coffee and it either lacks taste or has a bitter aftertaste, that’s another sign that your beans are old.