Coffee going from tasty to lifeless in hours or max few days - Page 2

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.

#11: Post by Smitward »

One theory, potentially wildly incorrect in your case, is that your flavor perception might be more strongly related to your sense of smell than the average person.

The fragrance in a bag is more concentrated right when you open it, in fact some companies inject Coffee smell into the bags, I doubt the specialty roasters we got to do this but it is common place in many different packaged foods. The initial blast in most of my bags of coffee goes away quickly and the order of hours to days.

Our brains associate smells with tastes, so if you are getting less fragrance and aroma during preparation your brain might expect less flavor.

There is an entire Industry/area of study surrounding this kind of food science and it's really fascinating.


#12: Post by Orange »

Why is nobody mentioning staling? The experience you're describing exactly matches it.

I have no idea how I, or anybody into specialty, has ever been able to do coffee without at the very least a vacuum canister. I swear dis sh** goes stale within 24 hours after the first opening when left in the bag at room temp.

Note that staling after the first opening drastically accelerates the further the coffee has been rested. A common case is when you're in the US and buying coffee from an overseas roaster, which can potentially take weeks to arrive, of which the coffee is effectively resting for that entire time. I've tested this case extensively, and the only true solution is single dose vacuum freezing the coffee. So many bags of excellent quality nordic roasts went stale to arrive to that sad conclusion. It works incredibly well though, at the cost of a lot more effort on your end.

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#13: Post by Mbb »

Never experienced it, but I heard that the Illy coffee/espresso, which is pre-ground and vacuum or nitrogen sealed......may be OK when its months old when first opened..... But goes bad very quickly after opening....a day or so. Been tempted to buy it before just to see if that's true

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#14: Post by baldheadracing » replying to Mbb »

FWIW, every coffee will lose aromatic compounds fairly quickly. That's why some folks immediately repack coffee into vac-sealed single-dose-sized mylar foil bags and freeze the coffee until use. I'll do this for 'delicate' coffees, e.g., light-roasted Geishas. For the price of these coffees, I don't want to have their aromatics disappear into thin air ...
That claim is in reference to illy whole bean in pressurized cans. I've only bought rarely, but good for a weekend, then noticable degredation was my very limited experience.


#15: Post by cpreston »

baldheadracing wrote:That's why some folks immediately repack coffee into vac-sealed single-dose-sized mylar foil bags and freeze the coffee until use.
I've had this problem too. Could you suggest sources for the equipment and small bags? Thanks-

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#16: Post by baldheadracing » replying to cpreston »

I use a Foodsaver (well, after it broke, a no-name version from Amazon), together with Mylar rolls from Vacuum Sealers Unlimited as mentioned in this thread: Freezer full of coffee greens accident Here are the specific rolls that I use: ... r-cabelas/ It can be argued that the multi-layer FoodSaver (brand) bags/rolls are just as impervious, but I've had their bags "pop" open when storing green coffee. This hasn't happened (so far) with the Vacuum Sealer Unlimited Mylar bags/rolls, but I've only been using them for six months.

To be honest, it is a bit of a pain, but when I treat myself to a ridiculously-expensive coffee, I want to make it last, and not have to drink it every day.

FWIW, I got the idea from this article about Proud Mary Coffee in Portland (see the bit about freezing doses for pourover, not the EK43's with frozen hoppers) : ... k-quality/ I do remember reading George Howell blogging about it, see issue 2 at ... om-george/ - but seeing the pic of the Proud Mary pourover freezer lit the light bulb.

It's really worked well for me ... I used to experience some coffees that were awesome one day, and seemed to fall off a cliff a couple days later. I happily have not experienced that in the six months since I went to the Mylar bags. Note, however, that in the past when I froze coffee in small 2oz mason jars, I had some coffees that just, well, died in the freezer. There was a thread about it (that I can't find); I don't remember any firm conclusions but it seemed to happen more with coffees with novel processes.

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#17: Post by Brewzologist »

I'll second this. Bought a smaller upright deep freezer dedicated to my green and roasted coffee. I don't use Mylar bags though as I'm less concerned about other food smells contaminating my beans. (But maybe I should be anyway?) I freeze my greens in 300-350gr packs which is what I usually roast, and freeze my roasted coffee in 100gr packs that I transfer to small mason jars at room temp to consume. I find this to be a good balance for me versus running the vacuum sealer all the time to make single-dose packs. The obvious side benefit is I also have a lot more coffees available to brew at any given time. Wish I'd done this years ago.

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#18: Post by mkane »

No more plastic.


#19: Post by Orange »

cpreston wrote:I've had this problem too. Could you suggest sources for the equipment and small bags? Thanks-
I was intimidated by vacuum sealing until I saw they aren't too expensive. I've been happy with my Geryon which cost around $40, and have used it hundreds of times now. You have to look out for good bags though, as some of them come with a chemical smell that will without question attach to the coffee and completely ruin it (this was a painful learning experience). I most like the bags from Huispark. If you want a small bag, the 3"x5" bags from Food Magic Seal work well and don't have any chemical aroma, (their 4"x6" bags do, however). You can look these up on eBay or Amazon.

Single dose freezing is a ridiculous game changer, especially if you regularly order coffee from overseas, which often arrives in a very degassed and vulnerable state.

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#20: Post by CoffeeIsWeird (original poster) »

CoffeeIsWeird wrote: So 30 minutes ago I opened another bag. This time lightly roasted Colombian Anaerobic Natural (sorry for these naturals, normally I buy washed but this order was more experimental). Roasted 8 Nov (Monday), opened today on 18 Nov (Thursday) so ten days post roast.

As expected from the first portions of the bag all the brews came out fantastic:

1) Cupping - my usual recipe with Volvic water
2) Gabi Master A Dripper - 12g in, 200g water, 172.5g out, temp 94C/201F, grind setting 6.6 on my 1Zpresso KPlus: TDS 1.33%, EY 19.81%
3) Gabi Master A Dripper - 12g in, 200.7g water, 173.6g out, temp 94C/201F, grind setting 6.4 on my 1Zpresso KPlus: TDS 1.35%, EY 20.24%

All brews full of boozy cherry flavor, no harsh/bitter/dull defects at all. Easily on par with the best filter coffees I've had in my favorite specialty coffee shops in London. I wouldn't normally choose "boozy" coffee on a regular basis, but it's great for a change and I do appreciate how well it came out. Co-tasted with one more person.

Now, my guess is that this coffee will turn completely lifeless in the next days.
Actually I'm pleased to say that I was wrong. I kept the same recipe through the whole week (12g in, 200g out, grind 6.4, temp 94) and this coffee did not turn lifeless. It retained its cherry-like character in all the days between 18 Nov and 24 Nov until the end of the bag. First day was indeed bright, aromatic and boozy. Later it changed towards milder, more balanced, perhaps a bit darker - cherry compote I'd say. Lovely experience for a change :-)

However, today I opened another bag - Ethiopian Washed from Bale Mountain, washed, 14 days post-roast, nitro-flushed. Same recipe as for the Colombian above. First two brews had the promised notes of stone fruit and florals. And then, merely two hours later, I got a lifeless brew, like water with generic coffee flavor, notes basically absent. I retried - same generic result. EY for all brews just around 19%. Cupping was no exception - water with generic coffee flavor.

Thinking back, I've been buying lots of Ethiopian coffee as it's my pourover favorite in specialty coffee shops. But here at home I tend to see them fade away in a matter of hours. I had another case of that recently with Rocko Mountain natural which turned lifeless in hours. Until I rediscovered the beans 10 days later and got amazing strawberry & lime in both cupping and V60, with a very strong aroma right during brewing, EY 19.6%. I repeated that same recipe 3 times later during the day but what came out was water with generic coffee flavor.

I'm wondering if my brewing technique is way off for Ethiopians but then why would cupping come out so generic as well?