January 26th, 2022 / 5 min read

Get Fresh With Us: How to Prevent Stale Coffee

By TK Staff

Stale coffee has been an unfortunate reality that too many of us have accepted. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

 

So you’ve decided to buy coffee beans — nice!

But now you’re worried about freshness. You want to ensure that the bean you go with is as certifiably fresh as can be. And the thing with coffee bags is that they’re nothing like produce. You can’t just squeeze them to figure it out.

Luckily, though, there are other giveaways to look for (and steps you can take) to both identify truly fresh beans and preserve their freshness once you bring them home.

1. Check for the printed roast date.

This one is absolutely key. Most coffee roasters worth their salt will print the exact day those beans were roasted. Or, if you order directly through our shop, you’ll get coffee that’s roasted to order. That means fresh coffee within days of roasting!

A good rule of thumb is the more recent the roast date, the better. But some in the coffee community even suggest letting your beans rest a little before brewing.

Whatever your preference, knowing the roast date is a good place to start.

Photo Credit: Tandem Coffee Roasters

2. Let the CO2 speak to you.

Some people look to tea leaves to find answers. When it comes to coffee, gas is the oracle of freshness.

When beans are roasted, they “puff up” and begin slowly emitting carbon dioxide. As this happens, the aromas and flavors of once-fresh coffee lose their sharpness, and oxygen fills the place of the exiting CO2. In other words, the coffee grows stale.

With pour over and drip coffee, you can see just how much CO2 remains as soon as the hot water hits the fresh grounds. Bubbles will begin to form and the coffee will start to “bloom,” or lift as it degases.

For espresso, the CO2 creates a much prettier product, which we know and love as crema.

When the oils present in coffee meet the high pressure of an espresso machine’s brew basket, tiny CO2 bubbles form and float to the top of the extraction. All else being equal, having more crema versus less is a good sign of freshness.

Photo Credit: Tandem Coffee Roasters

3. When it doubt, grind it out.

As in, grind your beans fresh.

No matter how fresh your coffee beans are, they begin to lose freshness mere minutes after they’re ground. This means buying the pre-ground stuff is decidedly un-fresh. Keeping beans in a sealed hopper or airtight container is the best way to prevent oxygen from creeping in, too.

Questions about finding great coffee? Contact our highly-caffeinated support team at (718) 738-7488 or contact@terrakaffe.com.


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