I don't understand this coffee freshness craze

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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#1: Post by Mayhem »

While freshness obviously is important, I am having a hard time understanding the extreme freshness craze of these forums. Over here in Sweden high-end roasters most often recommend you let their coffees rest 10-12 days after roast before consuming, sometimes even longer. Our arguably most elite roaster has occasionally had coffees (for brew, not espresso though) which he considers best tasting 4-6 weeks post roast!

(Obviously these resting periods are for coffees still sealed in their original packaging. Once a bag has been opened we all agree it's better to consume sooner rather than later, and any coffee packaged in a non air-tight container like a paper bag best be consumed right away.)

...split from Espresso spraying with bottomless portafilter? by moderator...
Too much is not enough


#2: Post by akallio »


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#3: Post by Hoenen »

I can taste the difference between a 7 day old and 21 day old (still packed) bean, and I prefer the 7 day old. That's why I like freshness more, personally.
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#4: Post by Spitz.me »

The 'CRAZE' - as you put it - is built, not only on recommendations from some of the world's top artisan roasters, but also from experience in; a) cupping the coffees and b) actually drinking the espresso/coffee. I'm not going to say that what I've read in your statements pertaining to the high-end roasters in Sweden is wrong because they know their coffees better than I do, I'd imagine, but if you read about coffee freshness anywhere in these forums; you'll find out that each coffee/coffee blend are optimal at different resting periods. Your post, in my opinion, assumes the hobbyists/pros on these forums are delusional because of the Swedish roaster recommendations... Believe me, if a coffee was horrible until day 21, then the coffee would be consumed around day 21. The craze is about enjoying the coffee around the end of its optimal resting period, not just because it needs to be fresh and that's what makes it good.

There's no substitute for tasting.
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#5: Post by SlowRain »

There is a roaster here in Taiwan I used to buy beans from who recommended I let the beans rest at least a week--two weeks was supposed to be better. I think it depends on the roast profile and the degree of the roast. They really liked to roast light to bring out the acidity.

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#6: Post by cannonfodder »

Subpar quality beans benefit from a long rest. The defect taste is reduced as the coffee ages. Most of the large European roasters use a commodity grade bean not a specialty grade bean which is in part why they are better with a longer rest. Then it is personal taste. I find coffee flat and boring after a long rest. All the origin flavor is gone, what makes the coffee unique dissipates and what you end up with is a generic tasting coffee. What you get in the cup is basically roast flavor, not origin flavor, but to each his own.
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Mayhem (original poster)
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#7: Post by Mayhem (original poster) »

If you are able to taste that difference and prefer the coffee rested a certain period of time, then more power to you. I certainly have no objections or arguments against anyone with a well developed palate who has thoroughly tasted his coffees and prefer them prepared in a specific way at a specific time.

What I do not believe in is this notion that many seem to have accepted as some sort of universal truth, namely that any/every coffee older than X* days post roast is without question undrinkable. My post was simply a reaction to this and originally made as a reply in another thread, which was then split out into this separate topic.

* insert your favorite number; 10 seems popular, maybe 12 or 14, whatever...
Too much is not enough

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#8: Post by cpreston »

Having read various threads on this, out of curiosity I've been alternating among various premium brands of Italian beans (months old when i buy them) and beans from various highly regarded US mail order roasters (arriving 2-3 days post roast, then rested). I asked three of the US roasters what their ideal resting time recommendations were for their typical medium blends, and have gotten answers ranging from about 6 to 10 days.

My personal (mostly 4-5 oz double capp rather than straight) experience has been that for sure, high quality "fresh" beans at 6-10 days have more complex flavors and on the whole are definitely preferable, as seems to be the common wisdom.

But some of the "stale" Italian coffees also seem quite good and very drinkable. I freeze them immediately on receipt since they seem to lose flavor quickly after opening. On my gear they seem less dense and harder to get consistent flows with, even at below 14g dose. But so far I've found that they range from pretty good to very good overall. Two (all arabica) I have tried have tended toward a sweet, pleasant but somewhat bland character. A third (with some robusta) was more aggressive and multiflavored in milk, and I personally thought it quite excellent.

I'm sure others have more sensitive palates than I do, but I'm still surprised at the intensity of the anti-Italian-prepackaged-bean view. I like the local "fresh" beans better also, but I would happily still make espresso every day with (certain) Italian beans if I had to, at least in my favorite cappas.

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#9: Post by aecletec »

Mayhem wrote: What I do not believe in is this notion that many seem to have accepted as some sort of universal truth, namely that any/every coffee older than X* days post roast is without question undrinkable.
* insert your favorite number; 10 seems popular, maybe 12 or 14, whatever...
I think you may be on the wrong forum. I haven't seen any 'truths' like that swung about with any frequency here. On others, however...

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#10: Post by allon »

I'd say that I can definitely taste a stale character that creeps into the coffee after a certain time. Exactly when this occurs for a given coffee varies. Dark roasts tend to stale faster. I've had coffees good after a month, but that's about the limit, I think.

Do an experiment. Try it yourself. Experience the stale.
We aren't all speaking "universal truths" handed down and unquestionably believed - most of us are speaking from experience.

You can too - just try it, and if you like coffee that is a month old, by all means drink it. Do what works for you.
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