Have you ever gone to the grocery store and said “give me your best 3 week old bread!!”? Have you ever said “I want a pre-packaged, stale chocolate chip cookie”? If you answered “no” to these questions, why would you buy old, stale coffee? The fact is, coffee starts to go stale once it's removed from the roaster. The longer it sits in a bag, the more it loses its unique character.
Character, much like in humans, is what makes certain coffees stand out from others. Character is what true coffee aficionados look for in a cup of coffee. Aroma, acidity, body, flavor are all standard descriptors for coffee. They all can be tasted in freshly roasted coffee and they all are balanced. No one characteristic overpowers the other. If you have a coffee that lacks in any one of these characteristics, it's probably dead.
Like most people, I was only exposed to the big name coffees when I was growing up. My parents would buy big cans of ground coffee that they kept in the freezer so it would “stay fresh”. They would take solace in the fact that the can was vacuum packed. ***note: fresh coffee can’t be vacuum packed. It would explode.*** The coffee was bitter and because of the brewing method (I’ll have another post on that) had a burnt taste. I continued this tradition for a long time. Then one day, like most people, I had coffee at a commercial coffee shop. I thought I had found the holy grail of coffee. Little did i know I had a long way to go.
Fast forward to early last year (2015). I was suffering from some brain fog and an internet search was pointing the finger to it being a side effect of old coffee. Voodoo or not, I discovered the small batch coffee house. Little did I know, I had one right down the street from work. The first time I had freshly roasted coffee (drank it the same week it was roasted), things changed forever. Not only did the coffee taste better, I also appreciated the fact that I was able to talk to the person who was roasting my coffee. Directly supporting small businesses of this type make the products that you purchase more special compared to buying from faceless corporation.
So next time you decide to buy a bag of coffee, do yourself a favor...don’t buy a bag of dead coffee. Instead buy a bag of freshly roasted coffee, YOU WILL NEVER GO BACK..