How to Make Sure You’re Getting Fresh Coffee Beans
It takes a good logistical company (like ours) to get fresh coffee beans to one’s consumers. Learn how to spot the good from the bad here!
Each day more than 450 million cups of coffee are consumed in the United States alone. On average the typical coffee consumer drinks three and a half cups of coffee a day. Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world.
If you love coffee, then you know that fresh coffee beans play an important role when it comes to the taste of your coffee. Read this article to learn how to tell if your coffee beans are fresh coffee beans.
Fresh Coffee Beans are Glossy
Coffee beans contain a mixture of acids, oils, and other aromatic molecules. Collectively, these chemicals found in fresh beans are called “coffee solubles”. They significantly contribute to the flavor of your coffee during the brewing process.
When coffee beans are roasted, the heat forces much of the moisture out of the bean. It also draws out an oily substance called the coffee essence or coffeol. This substance is not oil because it can dissolve into water and it very tasty.
Coffee science is the best kind of science.
Without coffeol, there is no coffee but only brown bean water and caffeine. The coffeol makes up only about two-hundredth of the weight of the coffee beans.
Freshly roasted coffee beans are coated with coffeol on the outside of the bean. This is what gives the dark roast it’s signature slick appearance.
This substance will evaporate after being exposed to air. This is why coffee becomes stale when it is left out. It is actually becoming less oily.
However, not all coffee beans contain the same amount of oil. So be careful when using this as a measure of freshness.
Lighter roasts have less coffeol because they were not rated as long, however, the beans should still appear to be glossy. Roasted coffee beans that have undergone the Swiss Water Decaffeination process will have hardly any shine at all.
Fresh Coffee Beans Leave Residue
When handling coffee a fresh roasted coffee bean will leave a certain amount of the coffeol on your hand. If you can see this oily substance on your hand or on the inside of the bag that means your coffee beans have been freshly roasted.
If there is no residue in the bag or left on your hands then the beans are not particularly fresh. Again, darker roasts should contain more oil residue than lighter roasts.
Fresh Coffee Beans Have an Intense Aroma
Coffee smells great! The fragrance of coffee has also been proven to significantly lower stress and anxiety. If you need a quick perk, try smelling your coffee beans.
The best smelling coffee in the world is fresh coffee. Fresh coffee has the most intense aroma possible.
If your coffee beans in a bag or a box do not permeate the room once opened than it is likely that your coffee isn’t as fresh as it could be. Coffee fragrance deteriorates after the beans are roasted with coffee losing a little bit of its fragrance each day.
Coffee Bean Bag Valve Seal
Have you ever noticed that funny seal on the front of your coffee bean bag? That is a valve seal. Higher grade coffee comes in bags that contain a one-way valve seal, although some supermarket brands are now using them too. This valve allows air out of the bag without allowing air to enter the bag.
Hence the name one-way valve seal.
These seals are critical to keeping your coffee beans stay fresher for longer. They prevent oxygen and other molecules from interacting with your coffee beans.
When green coffee beans are roasted they produce carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is released as oxygen interacts with the coffee beans. This process could last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and is known as the degassing period.
If your coffee beans are ground the amount of carbon dioxide produced increases. The one-way air valve is there to allow carbon dioxide to escape out of the bag but to restrict oxygen from entering.
The valve slows down the reaction and thus increases the lifespan of your coffee.
Pretty neat stuff.
If your coffee bag doesn’t have one of those seals it is a good sign that your coffee isn’t giving off carbon dioxide and therefore, it’s not fresh.
Fresh Coffee Beans Release Carbon Dioxide
This brings us to our next point. You can always test the freshness of your coffee beans.
Perhaps you bought a bunch of coffee beans in bulk and wanted to test the freshness. Grab a handful of your beans and put them into a resealable plastic bag. Be sure to press out all the air and seal the bag tightly.
Then, let the bag sit out overnight on your kitchen counter. Check the bag in the morning.
If your coffee beans have been roasted in the past 7 to 10 days they should still be in the degassing period. The bag will puff up from the release of carbon dioxide and in the morning you should have a puffy bag of fresh coffee beans. If they are not fresh the bag will remain flat.
Visit the Coffee Farm
Do you know where your coffee beans come from? Visiting a coffee farm may be one of the best ways to learn about fresh coffee. It will also be a very memorable trip.
Seeing the coffee plants up close, learning about the coffee farmers and the land will give you all the details to help you choose beans that are the freshest.
After visiting a farm you will understand coffee as an agricultural product instead of something dead that is sold in plastic packages on grocery stores shelves. Every coffee enthusiast should make a trip to a coffee farm at least once during their lifetime.
Life’s Too Short for Stale Coffee
If you are interested in learning more about fresh coffee beans or if you are interested in purchasing bulk coffee beans for your business contact us.
Our team at Intercontinental Coffee Trading has a vast amount of knowledge about the coffee industry and we are happy to help you succeed.