Coffee going from tasty to lifeless in hours or max few days - Page 4

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
CoffeeIsWeird (original poster)

#31: Post by CoffeeIsWeird (original poster) »

Today I visited a new coffee shop and tried 2 pourovers on V60: Colombian Letty Bermudez and Ethiopian Worka Wurki - both roasted by Manhattan. One of the staff members told me that they couldn't get much flavor out of the Ethiopian in the first week post-roast (it tasted "as if stale" but "obviously it was not stale" were the phrases he used). So they waited till week 3 to experience that blueberry & lemon.

I remember that some roasters like April or La Cabra also like to wait a few weeks before they tuck into the bag.

That got me wondering if *some coffees* just benefit from a longer wait time post-roast. Here's a wild theory. Maybe opening some bags on day 4-5 post-roast is too early meaning the notes aren't actually accessible for pourover. Maybe in the first hour or so they're very-short-term accessible but that's more of a hack. The fact that the coffee "comes back" at some point later (week 2 or 3) might be where I should have opened the bag in the first place?

I'm not saying every coffee would exhibit this behavior but maybe *some*? Maybe it depends on the roaster? Maybe on the origin (hi Ethiopians)? Maybe on storage or something else?

Does this match anybody's experience or am I making things up? Let me reiterate I'm talking specifically about pourover.

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Brewzologist
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#32: Post by Brewzologist »

Coffees absolutely benefit from a rest period after roasting. I find a coffee that hasn't rested long enough is flat and lifeless, with low aroma and sweetness in taste.

I find high grown hard beans need more rest than low grown softer beans. This is a general comment and not a rule. So I typically let my Ethiopians rest for at least 5 days and Yemenis from 10-14 days. Whereas some centrals are drinkable with just a few days rest.

The best thing to do is cup a roast to determine the sweet spot of rest for your taste buds. I find a coffee that's rested too long becomes smoother, but loses aromatics and acidity generally. HTH.

EDIT: IMO this applies to both espresso and brew methods.

Jonk

#33: Post by Jonk »

CoffeeIsWeird wrote:Does this match anybody's experience or am I making things up? Let me reiterate I'm talking specifically about pourover.
I have experienced roasts that take weeks to even begin to taste nice - basically underdeveloped roasts - but those taste even worse during the first days. It could go from grassy, bitter and dull on the first day to sweet and delicate 4 weeks later.

DamianWarS
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#34: Post by DamianWarS »

CoffeeIsWeird wrote: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.
professional cupping is done with other coffees and it's actually not about if the coffee is acidic or fruity, etc... it's if the coffee is more acidic or fruity, etc... than the other coffees. It takes a lot of experience to cup a coffee alone but cupping with other coffees is always better no matter how much experience you have and the more coffee you have to compare the most you can narrow in the flavours. regarding this coffee have you tried to contact the roaster to check with them their best resting period for when the coffee is performing the best? You seem to have some mixed results and if it's related to the resting period the roaster has an idea when the best time to consume and I would check with them. They may also recommend some brew methods for that coffee with regards to things like ratio, brew time, and water temp. They are interested in you having a good experience so you come back to them so they can be quite helpful to help you have that good experience.

CoffeeIsWeird (original poster)

#35: Post by CoffeeIsWeird (original poster) »

Meanwhile I've experienced the same phenomenon with 2 coffees from Colombia and 2 from Honduras, all four opened several days post roast date. First brew good, 2h later lifeless or close to. I kept extraction parameters unchanged for all brews but the flavor changed completely. I don't think the issue is origin related.

cpreston

#36: Post by cpreston »

So after realizing I had experienced the same rapid loss of flavor as the OP, I decided to try switching to grinding frozen beans in hope of better consistency. (Before, I was freezing in mason jars and defrosting a jar as needed.) The coffee I tested with was a very good medium SO Kenyan from S&W Craft Roasting that I'm familiar with.

I looked for a way to make every coffee keep tasting as good for 5-10 days as the first cup out of a new bag, brewing in my Aeropress. Brewing the same way each time, I tried three frozen storage methods every day for a week, looking for losses in cup quality over time. I brewed one cup from each group every day, in varying order:

- Vac sealed individual doses, in the metallized bags suggested by baldheadracing above. These should be a very good moisture and oxygen barrier. This was to be reference point as the best possible method; it should be way overkill.

- Same, but in regular Foodsaver pint bags cut down to half size.

- 5 doses in a (reusable) Ziplock freezer bag, opened and resealed once each day to take out a dose.

Over the course of the week, I became convinced that the quality in the cup was unfortunately turning out to be in the same order as the cost of the storage methods. But after a few days, I did a blind comparison with all three coffees, brought to the same tasting temperature. They were actually hard to tell apart, and all were good. In fact, the one I liked best (by a little) was from the reused ziplock bag.

So, not that surprisingly, vac sealing wasn't worthwhile for the short term, although it may well be helpful for long term storage. But grinding directly from the freezer was very helpful in maintaining consistency, even if the ziplock is reopened several times. After all these years of defrosting mason jars of beans, I'm switching.

Re the OP's original loss of flavor issue, I'm not sure the frozen beans were as good as the first brew out of a new unfrozen bag, but they were at least fairly close, and they stayed that way.

jpender

#37: Post by jpender »

cpreston wrote:But after a few days, I did a blind comparison with all three coffees, brought to the same tasting temperature. They were actually hard to tell apart, and all were good. In fact, the one I liked best (by a little) was from the reused ziplock bag.
That was my experience as well, comparing the same coffee in the freezer stored in ziplocks versus vacuum bags. I did blind tastings after 3 and 6 months and could not tell them apart. But neither your experiment nor mine is the last word. It could depend on the coffee or the brewing method as to whether a "better" storage method has an advantage. Or maybe we just didn't taste a difference that was there. Sometimes I vac seal just because I can, not because I have any evidence that it helps. Superstition beats science almost every time when it comes to coffee.

cpreston

#38: Post by cpreston »

jpender wrote:Sometimes I vac seal just because I can, not because I have any evidence that it helps. Superstition beats science almost every time when it comes to coffee.
I liked being able to measure and seal all the doses up front and then just toss each one into the grinder. Need a lot of bags that way though...

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mkane
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#39: Post by mkane »

and more plastic used. I'll stick with glass thank you

mediumfine

#40: Post by mediumfine »

I wanted to echo the experience of OP.

After tweaking every variable with brewing I could, I eventually realized the issue is with the beans themselves quickly losing their desirable aromas and flavours.

I brew single origin light roasts fwiw, primarily Ethiopians and other fruity/floral stuff. Almost every bag I buy suffers this problem. Occasionally though I'll have a bag that diminishes in flavour much less and remains delicious to the last cup. Often they are not Ethiopian though, so perhaps certain origins are more volatile.

I've started experimenting with different (non-vacuum) storage options recently, with mixed results. Typically I've been repackaging within a few days after roast, and started to assume that is too late. I'm guessing/hoping that beans maybe need to be repackaged immediately after roast, while actively degassing, in order to have adequate protection from oxygen, so I finally got a couple bags roasted while I wait and repackaged into plastic vials within a couple hours of roasting. I split the vials - half into the freezer and half in a cool closet. I will record my results compared to the control bag and report back.

I've been avoiding vacuum sealing because I hate the idea of creating plastic waste. Interesting to see some mixed results there, but I'm worried it might be the only way?

Anyway, wanted to give some support to OP since I've experienced the exact same thing and feel like I'm going crazy when most everyone says that the coffee should stay great for 1-2 weeks after opening.