Fresh coffee has three components – green beans, roasting and grinding
While coffee beans come from a fruit, they are processed more than fruits that are eaten raw. Whereas an apple can just be picked off of a tree and bit into, coffee must be processed, roasted and ground. Each of these stages introduces an aspect of freshness.
1. Recent harvest of coffee cherries
As with any agricultural product, the freshness of coffee significantly affects its taste. Coffee beans are seeds from cherries, and, like any fruit, fresh ones taste better than old ones.
Once harvested, the shelf life of green coffee beans is about a year – if stored well. With time, beans lose their water content. As they dry out, they become less flavorful. They are susceptible to outside moisture, flavors and odors, which can all influence the coffee’s flavor.
The current crop’s beans, therefore, will produce the best flavors.
2. Roasted in the past 3-14 days before brewing
Roasted coffee has a much shorter shelf life than green coffee. Once roasted, coffee should be brewed between three and 14 days. (It needs a couple days to degas, which is why you don’t want to drink coffee immediately after it’s roasted.) When purchasing coffee, look for a “roasted on” date. If there is no date, then the coffee is probably more than 14 days old, and possibly much older.
It’s not a good sign when there isn’t a roast date stamp on your coffee bag.
3. Ground 15 minutes before brewing
Grinding coffee releases its aromas, which is why it should be ground right before being brewed. These aromas create the flavorful notes in coffee. They should be captured as quickly as possible by promptly brewing coffee after it is ground.
At Driftaway, we follow the three rules of freshness. We buy green beans from the current crop, ship coffee within 24 hours from roasting so you receive it at it’s peak freshness and only sell whole beans so you brew it freshly ground!