Why is there no standard for coffee freshness? - Page 5

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
portamento

#41: Post by portamento »

You are misquoting Trish. She did not make the statement about cupping canned vs. fresh. She merely quotes Mane Alves:
Mané Alves of Coffee Lab International and Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea, gives the can high marks, "It is the only material that protects the coffee completely. I have been testing materials for eight years and nothing gets even close to the can performance-wise. We cupped six-month-old [canned] coffee against a just roasted coffee. The canned coffee tasted exactly like the fresh roast for at least five days, the time that we assume it would take a consumer to go through a 12-ounce can."
Ryan

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Marshall

#42: Post by Marshall »

coffeefrog wrote:As I understand it, cupping is not done by making espresso. It is thus an imperfect way of judging how an espresso will turn out and will show defects in the coffee beans in different ways to actual espresso making. Or am I misunderstanding cupping?
I think that's a fair statement. But, do you imagine, for example, that Illy doesn't sample its canned coffees as espresso?
Marshall
Los Angeles

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JimWright

#43: Post by JimWright »

portamento wrote:You are misquoting Trish. She did not make the statement about cupping canned vs. fresh. She merely quotes Mane Alves:
True, she is quoting someone else when she says it, but she offers up the quote in standing by the sentiment, immediately following the quote in the article with: "The purported 'best-before' shelf life of a vacuum-packed can of coffee ranges between six months to a year. Vermont Artisan and Taylor Maid both use small vacuum canning machines (or 'seamers') to fill orders, one can at a time."

In fairness, she then goes on to point out that "For us, there is no such thing as backstock. Chances are that our cans don't exceed three weeks on a shelf, let alone six months. In a lot of ways, a vacuum-sealed can is just an exceptional version of the foil bag." but she does so in the context of arguing that the can is a superior packaging mechanism that extends the life of coffee - I'm sure that even "three weeks on a shelf" is far longer than some of the people here who are arguing for a freshness standard would allow, and that's the point.

Haselm

#44: Post by Haselm »

Creating a standard is all well and good, but who enforces the standard when it is used as a marketing tool? Without verification it is toothless and doomed to abuse, once abuse is exposed the concept is doomed. I have no problem with tech standards developing a parameter for optimal freshness, however it strikes me as troublesome if people start to market their product based on tech standards findings without any verification that they actually follow the rules.

As an example of an SCAA standard turned certification, we have golden cup certification based on brewing parameters. If you want to market your coffee house as a golden cup recipient you need to prove to a third party that your coffee, water and equipment meets the standard. If you just want to follow the SCAA parameters you can still make a good cup of coffee, just can't call it golden cup.

Do we ask for a standard for the time it takes roasted coffee to be packaged as part of the deal? Lets look at some of the well-known, highly respected, oft touted roasters who are held up as the benchmarks of excellence/freshness. Do they package every roast within minutes of cooling, or do some leave roasted coffee in 40 gallon cans overnight? In my visits, there are examples of the latter in more than one company. (I don't begrudge them for this practice, just stating what I have seen)

Holding your idea of freshness to a higher standard than your competitors is your prerogative and cannot be construed as a competitive disadvantage. If SCAA created a standard that didn't meet with my/yours/our view of freshness, foul! could be cried and insinuations of pandering to wholesale roasters would be levied. (Heck a lack of standard is enough to generate those remarks.) If SCAA goes to the 0-7 day camp as standard, another hue and cry, just different members doing the complaining.

Specialty coffee, by one definition, is a coffee free from primary defects and containing very few, if any secondary defects. By this definition we can toss out nearly every Brazil, Ethiopian DP and Indonesian lot. I graded every spring CoE top ten lot and by definition 34/50 had at least one primary or enough secondary defects to be ruled out of "specialty grade." Indeed, we have all cupped or tasted 90+ point coffees that would not make the cut on green grading alone. I don't pigeon hole a coffee based on one parameter, nor can we point to a single all-telling standard as an absolute.

BobS

#45: Post by BobS »

Haselm wrote:Do we ask for a standard for the time it takes roasted coffee to be packaged as part of the deal? Lets look at some of the well-known, highly respected, oft touted roasters who are held up as the benchmarks of excellence/freshness. Do they package every roast within minutes of cooling, or do some leave roasted coffee in 40 gallon cans overnight? In my visits, there are examples of the latter in more than one company. (I don't begrudge them for this practice, just stating what I have seen)
I think all standards require or need to require process documentation. Coffee is a food product and
should be treated as such - each lot should be traceable to the origin, each step in the process
documented and independently verified. Given that most speciality roasters like to use origin
and roast level as a marketing tool, there should be no complaints about adding traceability of
process - like ISO9002 is to electronics manufacturers. What they and others will balk at is
verification means a yearly cost to pay for auditing.

But it does come down to creating some system of "grades of quality" that everyone can agree on
that the public can reference. Some compromise that makes the big roasters with two month old coffee
not lose business to the little specialty roaster bagging 30 minute old coffee.

Or perhaps, it's - multiple references - roaster class, and grade within that class. An example
might be - Humongous class roaster, Grade A coffee producer and the Tremendous class, Grade A+
producer.

By definition, the Humongous class roaster's coffees can have shelf lifes of 10 days to 180 days.
The Tremendous class roaster can only have a shelf life of 1 day to 12 days.

The A, B, C, gradings would follow typical industry and food practices, including carbon footprint (just
so I can be mean).

Bob

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vanboom

#46: Post by vanboom »

Kenneth Davids wrote a great chapter in his book about how people have come to believe that lettuce comes from the store - and coffee is something that requires large industrial "things" to produce. IMHO, coffee roasters should cost $50 and be as ubiquitous as microwave ovens. People should roast their own just as they make their own omelettes or boiled eggs. Roasted coffee lasts 1-7 days. Coffee drinkers should roast their own.

BobS

#47: Post by BobS »

vanboom wrote:IMHO, coffee roasters should cost $50 and be as ubiquitous as microwave ovens. People should roast their own just as they make their own omelettes or boiled eggs. Roasted coffee lasts 1-7 days. Coffee drinkers should roast their own.
That used to be the case around Europe in the late 1800's early 1900s, from what I've read. Even the
cowboys of the American Southwest used to roast their own on over the campfire. However, according
to a recent article in Fresh Cup, the current roasting capacity in the US is only 10% utilized. I'm not
sure how they came about their numbers.

I've roasted for several years, but have spent the last couple of years just sampling roasts from various
roasters. And there's still a lot more to go, including the 5lbs of Klatch's Belle sitting in my freezer.

And, at some point I'd like to get back to New Mexico and take a side trip down to Bernie's to sample the
experience and espresso.

Bob

chang00

#48: Post by chang00 »

Hello all. First post here. Been home roasting for about one year, and espresso for 1.5 years. Still learning.

Recently read a few chapters on "Espresso Coffee The Science of Quality". In Chapter 4, Roasting, "Staling of coffee", it states "Analytically the ratio of 2-methylfuran to 2-butanone (M/B ratio) can be used as a good freshness indicator, before lipid oxidation leads to rancid products after several weeks. Packaging under inert gas (CO2 or N2) with a minimum of residual oxygen guarantees long shelf life. Freezing also helps, slowing down staling reactions".

The original quoted article by Mayer and Grosch, 2001, was from Food Chemistry, v43, 1992, from Finland, in English. The article by Arackal and Lehmann, however appears to be in German, which I could not find the original article, possibly due to the publication date of 1979.

Although the original testing uses gas chromatography, it appears that a portable device could be invented to measure the M/B ratio, therefore arriving at how "fresh" the coffee is. Maybe a venture capitalist in the Home-Barista group can finance a project to produce a handheld device, which can be applied to the vacuum valve openings of bagged coffee at supermarket to measure the freshness. So I digress....

This explains the observation that once a can of Illy beans is open, the coffee stales very fast. Since the outward migration of CO2 and lipids are closer to the coffee bean surface, when the can is open, the compounds/aromatics oxidize much quickly. It also explains why Illy packages coffee in cans at higher than atmospheric pressure with inert gas.

Alas, my personal opinion is, to be designated as "Specialty Roasted Coffee", the "Roast Date" has to be on the package. It just makes buying fresh beans much easier.

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Marshall

#49: Post by Marshall »

vanboom wrote:Kenneth Davids wrote a great chapter in his book about how people have come to believe that lettuce comes from the store - and coffee is something that requires large industrial "things" to produce. IMHO, coffee roasters should cost $50 and be as ubiquitous as microwave ovens. People should roast their own just as they make their own omelettes or boiled eggs. Roasted coffee lasts 1-7 days. Coffee drinkers should roast their own.
The Roasters Guild Annual Retreat is coming up in a couple of weeks. Would you like to be their guest speaker on the topic: "Roasting Great Coffee is as Easy as Boiling an Egg" ?
Marshall
Los Angeles

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Compass Coffee
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#50: Post by Compass Coffee replying to Marshall »

Actually it is quite easy to turn beans brown. OTOH it's a lifetime Journey really learning to make beans sing.
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com