Coffee is a bit of an enigma. On the one hand, it’s like a miracle food that can last a really long time on your shelf. Brew up a bag you bought two years ago and chances are you'll have something that tastes like coffee, gives you a caffeine kick, and doesn't make you sick. On the other hand, it’s just like any other fruit, and its best tastes are only available within a small window of time.
If you peruse our website and general information about best coffee practices on the internet, you’ll see lots of references to “Fresh Roasted Coffee” (we even have a sign about this in our Experience Center, where you can watch coffee being roasted while you sip on coffee). But what does this mean, why should you care, and what should you do to maximize your coffee experience?
Let’s find out!
First, let’s go over what’s happening to your coffee as it ages by using a familiar example: bananas. Chances are you’ve bitten into a banaca and as you were eating it, a little bit of browning occurred. That’s oxidation, and the same thing that happened there is happening to your coffee beans. Oxidation dulls the flavors of your coffee just like it does any other food (among other factors), and thus fresher roasted coffee is going to have the most vibrant, lively taste.
So to recap and expand:
3 Reasons Fresh Roasted Coffee is Better:
- More vibrant flavors
- Taste the notes we put on the bag - we tasted the coffee at its freshest
- Get the coffee at its peak potential
Try it at home:
Save a little bit of your last bag and put it to the side. When you receive your new bag with a more recent roast on date, brew them back to back (or try this cupping method) and note the differences in taste. Chances are one will seem to have more “life” to it - what we often term as acidity and what comes through in the cup as fruitiness, or a really rich chocolate or nutty taste. The older cup will seem more tame by comparison. Still good, but something is missing.
What does Honolulu Coffee do to help ensure you get the freshest coffee possible?
- All web orders are roasted on Mondays and Thursdays for shipping on Tuesday and Friday and our cafes swap out coffees on the shelf on a regular basis.
- Semi-related: Green coffee loses its luster, too! We buy coffees in their current harvest season to ensure maximum freshness, and cup them routinely to make sure they are still tasting great. We also own our own Kona farm, and it doesn't get much fresher than this!
5 tips for having the freshest, tastiest coffee
- Buy whole bean and grind fresh
- Ground coffee has more surface area that can be oxidized. Keeping in its whole bean form for as long as possible metaphorically “locks in” freshness for longer
We recommend the Baratza Encore
- Buy canisters that block out light and air
- We really love the Fellow Atmos - it sucks out all of the air and is a blast to use
- Anything that’s airtight will work, and we recommended storing any glass canisters in a cabinet as light can have a staling effect
- Push any air out of your bag when done
The coffee bag is a canister in its own right. To get the most out of it, roll your bag tightly when done and push out any remaining air. Our bags have a one-way valve that will aid in this effort.
- Have more coffee than you need? Freeze it!
- But only for unopened bags! A lot of research has been done, and the findings show that in the proper conditions (airtight bag, no moisture inside, etc…) freezing coffee helps lock in freshness for longer. Just be sure to only do it once and while the bag is still sealed, plus bring the coffee to room temperature before opening the bag.
We believe buying fresh roasted coffee is one more piece of the quality chain that starts at the farm of our producing partners. Every step in the coffee process, from picking ripe cherries to the attention to detail during processing to the roasting at our facility, either adds or subtracts to the final product in your cup. Buying fresh roasted coffee, grinding it fresh, and using sound brewing techniques completes the final chapter of this amazing story.
Just some more ways to keep the aloha in your cup - mahalo!