Coffee going from tasty to lifeless in hours or max few days - Page 3

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
Rjreusch

#21: Post by Rjreusch »

mkane wrote:No more plastic.
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Just wondering about vacuum storage in general. It seems it would diminish to some extent the nice aromatics that contribute to taste. Of course the big advantage is reducing oxidation but is it a tradeoff? I currently freeze the entire bag of coffee about 1 week off roast. I then use the small Atmos vacuum container for about 1 week of countertop use and then refill from the freezer. I generally buy 2 lb. bags from either Klatch or Onyx. It seems to work well but I'm thinking of just filling the container and not using the vacuum feature and see if I can tell the difference. Given that 1 week is a relatively short period anyway, maybe the oxidation/staling would be minimal and I might retain more aromatics.

DamianWarS
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#22: Post by DamianWarS »

CoffeeIsWeird wrote: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?
at least you've isolated that not all coffee performs this way which means your equipment/method may not be the issue. But this still may be the coffee, the processing, the roast, or the storage. I assume all coffee is freshly ground (obviously pre gound would be an issue) and that your storage is the same. This seems to be coming to a more advanced conversation and perhaps one thing you want to isolate is the processing by get 3 or 4 other washed coffees and blind cup them together tracking their differences to see what takes on a more lifeless state. pick out the best and the worst and see how it aligns with your initial findings. You can also blind cup other washed Ethiopians from different roasters with as close to the same roast as possible and again track their changes picking the best and the worst of the cupping but there are a lot of different kinds of Ethiopians so try and make sure it's from the same area and same cultivar. "Heirloom" or 'landrace" are also not cultivars/varietals and basically means uncategorized so if it's an heirloom/landrace you may never be able to match it unless you can isolate location and farm. If you feel it's your method then you can cup differences in the method and pick the best and worse to gauge what is best for you. But I think you've reached a stage where comparative cupping is the best way to identify where the problem. if it's a problem with the roaster, change your roaster, if it's a problem with the origin then you may have to put up with it and just say this is how this coffee responds. Realistically the best way to preserve the freshness at home is individual doses in airtight vials stored in a freezer then you just pull out a vial and grind directly without compromising the rest of the beans. Since this may be your inevitable direction you might just want to forget all the cupping/testing and just get some coffee storage vials like these

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mkane
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#23: Post by mkane »

How many times a day do you want to open your freezer. We freeze 340g at a time, whole bean. It's lasts 6 days.

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mkane
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#24: Post by mkane »

Rjreusch wrote:Just wondering about vacuum storage in general. It seems it would diminish to some extent the nice aromatics that contribute to taste. Of course the big advantage is reducing oxidation but is it a tradeoff? I currently freeze the entire bag of coffee about 1 week off roast. I then use the small Atmos vacuum container for about 1 week of countertop use and then refill from the freezer. I generally buy 2 lb. bags from either Klatch or Onyx. It seems to work well but I'm thinking of just filling the container and not using the vacuum feature and see if I can tell the difference. Given that 1 week is a relatively short period anyway, maybe the oxidation/staling would be minimal and I might retain more aromatics.
These days we vacuum seal the beans 12 hours off roast and when the container is opened the smell is still there. Not sure if this is the best way as I don't know if vacuum sealing stops aging. I should probably try a different approach and taste on a daily basis before sealing. When flavor comes to a head, seal, freeze, and try again down the road and see if aging stopped doing it this way.

Fun experimenting but it needs to be simple. Taking care of our records is complicated enough.


CoffeeIsWeird (original poster)

#25: Post by CoffeeIsWeird (original poster) »

I've just cupped this newly open Ethiopian Washed coffee 4 times:
- on 1Zpresso K-plus fine setting (3.5)
- on 1Zpresso K-Plus medium-coarse setting (6.0)
- on Niche - setting (40)

James Hoffmann cupping recipe: 10.0g in, 166g water, 100*C, 4 min break the crust, water Volvic.

Every single cup was (like my pourovers) empty, no taste, no aroma, not even a hint of anything I had in the first 30 min after opening the bag. Harsh, silty. This is day 2 after opening the bag, day 15 post-roast. Definitely not roaster related as I get this all across the board.

People say freshly roasted coffee should last a week or two after opening the bag. That seems so remote from my experience of a few hours/day/two for me.

Our flat is kept at around 19C/66F, it's new-built so fairly resistant to external weather conditions. Beans are obviously ground freshly and immediately used for a brew. The bag is closed and kept away from heat/moisture/light. Airscape doesn't make any difference.

Question - given the cupping results that I got, do you think a 98mm flat-burr grinder would make any difference? I'm just trying to understand if the problem could be grinder related.

*In cupping*, is it even possible that a hand-grinder completely butchers the beans, but a large flat-burr grinder produces a representative cup?

Jonk

#26: Post by Jonk »

CoffeeIsWeird wrote:Question - given the cupping results that I got, do you think a 98mm flat-burr grinder would make any difference?
It'll be different if course, but I don't believe you'll find any improvement when it comes to staleness, if that's indeed the cause (2 hours does not sound plausible to me)
CoffeeIsWeird wrote:*In cupping*, is it even possible that a hand-grinder completely butchers the beans, but a large flat-burr grinder produces a representative cup?
It depends on how you define butcher, but to some extent yes. I kind of feel that way with the Niche, in comparison to cupping with a (smallish burr) Forté.. But would reserve such strong language to lesser grinders.

CoffeeIsWeird (original poster)

#27: Post by CoffeeIsWeird (original poster) »

t'll be different if course, but I don't believe you'll find any improvement when it comes to staleness, if that's indeed the cause (2 hours does not sound plausible to me)
I've been trying to avoid the word 'stale' in my descriptions because:
1, I've never had 'stale' coffee for comparison.
2. I find it hard to believe that coffee goes 'stale' in a matter of hours after opening the bag.
3. ... and then comes back alive 2 weeks later with strong aromas and flavors (I've seen that a few times; most recently with Rocko Mountain naturals).

Hence the word 'lifeless'. It's just completely devoid of any flavors, aromas, it only has harshness/siltyness - even in cupping. All across the board of origins and roasters I've tried in the last year.

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mkane
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#28: Post by mkane »

Our coffee changes all along the period from 12hrs post-roast until it's gone. usually six days with 340g. There are days in between it does taste lifeless. Second day or 3rd.

ShotClock
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#29: Post by ShotClock »

I'd suggest an experiment - see if you can provoke palate fatigue with known good coffee, while taking your storage and equipment out of the equation.

Go to a cafe that sells a large amount of coffee, and will sell you near identical pour overs from the same green, while ensuring the coffee is not stale and the equipment is beyond question. Since you are in London, i can think of nowhere better than Monmouth to do this, and I'm starting to get a bit jealous thinking about it ...

Go and get a pour over from something that you would normally drink, then take a wander around Covent garden. Then go back, and get another one. If you are inclined, make a third trip in the same day, for the same drink. If you are still enjoying the same experience that you get with the first one, I'd be amazed.

Maybe then try going once a day for a week, and see how your palate adapts. Perhaps you have a sensitive palate and get fatigued easily? I have found that with good whiskey, a second drink is almost always pointless, since my palate can't take that much stimulation.

CoffeeIsWeird (original poster)

#30: Post by CoffeeIsWeird (original poster) »

Thanks, Dave. I've just had 3 pourovers within 1 hour. Palate fatigue didn't happen but I certainly feel a bit dizzy ;-) Good dizzy. Gardelli dizzy.

Their natural Mzungu from Uganda is quite a fruity beast!

Anyway, back to the mystery of my washed Ethiopian. I asked a friendly coffee shop to brew a dose of my bag and they agreed. I still couldn't taste anything. They themselves described it as 'not interesting coffee'. So in that respect I think I was right - the coffee faded away on day 2 after opening the bag. I did enjoy it in the first hour of day 1 though :-) Fingers crossed it comes back in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile I cupped last beans of a Colombian EA decaf light-roasted 4 weeks ago, opened 3 weeks ago. Blueberry attack! Very nice indeed!

So maybe it's to do with origin after all... Colombian coffee tends to behave more predictably for me.

As kindly suggested by DamianWarS (thanks, Damian), I'll spend more time cupping in the future to see how beans change over time, eliminating more demanding brewing methods out of the equation.

The journey continues :-)