What’s in the bag, and more important, when was it roasted?
The idea of fresh coffee is not one to be taken lightly, certainly by those who really love good coffee. Unfortunately the coffee drinking public has had such lousy, stale coffee poured down their throats that the standard of freshness and flavor is rather low. Once roasted, coffee is a fresh food. It should be consumed within days of it being roasted for optimal flavor. The general rule, simply based on the practicality of buying and storing beans is that they should be consumed within 2 weeks of their roast date. Vacuum packaging does little to truly extend that date because once opened, they will stale exponentially. Remember that wonderful aroma when you first opened that can of ground coffee? The first pot might have been OK, but since ground coffee has a shelf life of about 15 minutes, by the end of the day, the rest of that can was stale.
Our case study a couple weeks ago was a coffee Alena purchased through her local co-op. These folks are big on organic products and do weekly purchases of fresh produce, and support local business. We are also their major supplier of coffee, and when we saw them offer another coffee we had to try it.
The first thing I noticed was that there was no “roasted on” date, which David’s takes very seriously. The second was the expiration date of 7/11/2015. So, it was supposed to last at least 6 months in the bag, eh? The coffee is described as a blend of French and Full City roasts.
In the photo below you have the Equal Exchange on the left and David’s Darker on the right, and color-wise, this blend falls closer to our Darker than the Lighter.
These photos show the distinct LACK of a significant bloom from the EE blend. The bloom is a real indicator of the freshness of the coffee. You can also see that once the drip is complete the David’s Darker still shows the bloom.
Bottom line is the flavor was flat and bitter, just as you can see from the lack of a bloom, and it was bitter and gritty. No creamy or caramel flavors, no berry or floral flavors, just flat.
I took the liberty of phoning the customer service number on the company’s website and I got a shocking bit of information. The EE coffee was roasted on 7/11/2014, so it was already 6 months old when I opened that bag!! How was it stored during that time? Yes it’s vacuum sealed but what temperature was it stored at? The David’s was roasted 1/18/2015, and at the time of this test was 4 days old. This supposedly great coffee couldn’t last 6 months in the vacuum sealed bag, let alone the 12 months the roasters have given it.
Here’s some photos of coffee in your local warehouse store. These photos were taken last November.
How long does coffee really last?….That 3 pound bag from the warehouse store might taste great for the first week, but after that, it’s stale. The only way to insure your coffee is fresh, is to buy it within days of it being roasted and drink it up quickly. Only buy what you need for a week or two. David’s Roasting is fresh coffee, it says so, right on the label!