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        fresh roasted coffee beans   Freshness Matters    
          November 7 , 2009    
         


Despite the informed approach consumers follow when shopping for the freshest fruits and vegetables at their favorite stores, many fail to apply that same discerning eye once they reach the coffee aisle. When it comes to coffee, freshness matters.


Great coffee begins with fresh-roasted, specialty-grade arabica beans (the coffee industry's highest grade).
Coffee is an agricultural crop whose spectacular flavors and aromas fade over time. Since most of the retail coffee sold in this country is stale, being mindful of which packaging will guarantee the freshest coffee is essential to achieving a perfect cup. If a reputable coffee roaster isn't nearby to supply specialty coffee fresh from the cooling tray, the next best option is to select beans sealed in high-barrier one-way valve bags.

Coffee packaged with a commitment to freshness is easy to spot. Its packaging is specifically designed to protect coffee from the elements that stale it. Coffee is highly perishable and contains more chemical properties (800+) and volatiles than any other beverage. Fresh-roasted coffee not only degrades from exposure to oxygen, light, heat, and moisture—it also releases three times its volume as carbon dioxide gas after leaving the roaster. Although this gas briefly extends the shelf life of whole bean coffee, it also limits proper storage and packaging options.

Whole bean coffee exposed to air and light, as in a glass or a plastic bin, will remain relatively fresh for several days since the escaping gas temporarily serves as insulation. After that time, the beans begin to stale. Unless product turnover is brisk, bin-stored coffee will be stale at the time of purchase more often than not. Coffee sold in a can, a brick package, or other totally airtight container has already staled. Airtight packaging would explode from the pressure of carbon dioxide emitted by just-roasted beans. So, coffee is typically ground and allowed to “degas” for 24 hours, which renders it partially stale prior to packaging. And what about that “burst of aroma” released from a just-opened airtight container? That doesn’t signify freshness. It's simply a coffee’s last gasp of carbon dioxide gas. Since coffee storage and packaging methods frequently compromise freshness, the vast majority of Americans drink stale, bland coffee.

This brings us to the packaging choice guaranteed to offer the freshest product: coffee packaged in a high-barrier one-way (degassing) valve bag. Designed in the late 1960s by an Italian engineer, a one-way valve embedded within the wall of an oxygen-resistant, foil-lined bag permits carbon dioxide gas to escape roasted beans while preventing oxygen from entering. The one-way valve bag is then sealed. Coffee packaged in this manner, and left unopened, will taste virtually identical in freshness to coffee obtained directly from the roaster for nearly three months.

The smart consumer should demand freshness as it is one of the primary elements that sets specialty coffee apart from the rest. The one-way valve bag represents the very best packaging option currently available to maintain the integrity of great arabica coffee. Coffee drinkers who insist on fresh coffee benefit tremendously. It is not difficult to appreciate the difference in aromatic quality, flavor, and sweetness that comes as a result of coffee that was roasted and packaged with a commitment to quality.

   
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
               
               
               
               
               
       












one-way degassing valve
 

 
             
             
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
                       
             
   
                TAG: HOW DO YOUR BEANS STACK UP?      
 
         
 
   
               
                 
                       
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