MYTH: You should brew coffee immediately after roasting for it to taste the best.
BUSTED: To get the best expression of the coffee, wait at least a few days after roast date before brewing.
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While you definitely want some things sizzlin’ hot and fresh out of the oven, brewing coffee with beans fresh out of the roaster is, typically, not ideal.*
When coffee is roasting, many chemical reactions are happening inside that little green bean. Gasses like carbon dioxide develop and, after roasting, the bean begins to ‘de-gas’ — or release those gasses. When the coffee is super fresh (1-2 days from the roast date), this ‘de-gassing’ is happening so aggressively that it keeps the water from adequately saturating the grounds during brewing. Because the water can’t get fully in there, you won’t be able to extract the coffee goodness properly. Basically, you can’t really get the full potential out of your brew because there’s too much going on; your brewing is more uneven and unpredictable.
As carbon dioxide escapes the bean, our other pal, oxygen tries to weasel its way in (oxidation, as the scientists call it) and that’s what causes a coffee (or pretty much any food) to go stale. When coffee stales, the once vibrant flavors typically taste muddled and muted.
We suggest using the ‘3-4 Rule’: waiting 3-4 days after the roast date to begin digging into that beautiful bag ‘o’ beans and using it within 3-4 weeks for ‘ideal’ brewing and flavor conditions.
During this window, the carbon dioxide degassing that inhibits proper extraction has calmed, while the staling effects of oxidation have not begun to settle in. This timetable is not hard-and-fast, but is a general guideline we go by. (We’ve had our coffee many, many weeks off of roast, and it’s definitely still pretty dang good; it just doesn’t quite have the same beauty and sparkle.)
So, what we’re really trying to say is that ‘fresh’ is a relative term. While it’s probably not the most ideal to wait months to brew a bag of coffee, hopefully you can wait a few days to get the best out of your brew.
Now here’s where you come in! Have a coffee question, conundrum or curiosity you want us to investigate?
*We’re talking about light-medium roasted coffee in this post. If you enjoy darker roasted coffee, you can probably get away with super fresh coffee because there is less gas inside the bean after roasting compared to its lighter counterparts and it tends to stale quicker.