Life with Coffee
Whole beans and coffee storage
The way in which we grow up sets the tone for how we go forth through life. When we are toddlers, people tell us that soon we will go to school, and it will be great. Once there, they start talking about how great high school will be. In high school, they want to know what our plans are after school – which university we will attend, and they reminisce about how great those days were.
Towards the end of university, we start thinking about the perfect job, car, house, wife, family, beach house… and how happy we will be when we get there. Life is not about the destination, and the destination rarely is what we think it will be in any case. Life is about enjoying the here and now. Life happens in the moment.
Coffee is a bit like that, too. Once we have obtained freshly roasted beans, it’s about ensuring we treat what we have now as best possible, so that we can enjoy it fully. In the last two blogs I have written about why to preferably buy whole beans instead of ground coffee, and here’s why.
``We are often asked whether buying beans or ground coffee, is best``
During the roasting process, carbon dioxide builds up in the beans, and leaks out slowly. This leak slows the entrance of oxygen which leads to oxidation and your beans going stale. Should you grind all of your beans the carbon dioxide escapes immediately leading to faster oxidation.
If you grind as an example for Espresso, the bean’s surface increases over 10 000 times, leading to faster oxidation. The delicate flavour and aroma of coffee is protected within the bean. Once you grind the coffee, these are released and start dissipating partly due to… you guessed it, faster oxidation. Therefore, always keep your beans whole and only grind what you need.
How you store your coffee beans is of the utmost importance. One potential way is to freeze your coffee (half of you reading this is going: she’s INSANE! The other half is like: I KNEW it!). There is a big debate about the effects of freezing on coffee.
For us at www.crazygoatcoffee.co.za, the jury is still out. We plan to freeze some of ‘The Lady Anastasia’ – our very own blend – and to then have a double blind taste study as to which tastes better.
We will let you know once the results are out. In the meantime, how should you store your beans? Remember that the objective is to keep oxygen away from the beans. You can buy airtight containers that actually suck out the air from inside, and this works best.
I prefer good old Consol jars. For starters they remind me of home-made ‘ingelegde perskes en koejawels’ on the farm, served only after Sunday lunch with ice cream or custard
In other words, together with hand-ground freshly roasted, well-stored beans, they add to the Zen I take from coffee, and to the enjoyment I take from the present (as we should in life, right?). Apart from that, you know they work when your beans have been in them for a bit and upon opening, you hear a subtle ‘pop’. That’s caused by the build-up of carbon dioxide leaking from your beans and protecting them against oxidation.
So, buy your beans freshly roasted and whole, and store them in airtight containers. If you don’t have a grinder at home? Buy in small quantities, and ask your roaster for beans that have been roasted 3-5 days earlier, as the beans would have had some further aroma and taste development.
Store your ground coffee in an airtight container, same as you would your beans. It won’t be as good as freshly ground beans, and you will miss out on the all-important Zen of grinding your own beans, but it will do… until such time as you buy a grinder. More on that next time!
Feel free to share this mail with anyone that you know loves coffee. in fact, we insist that you do!