Coffee Freshness—Pack it Right!
Throughout the evolution of specialty coffee, freshness has been a key differentiator for the industry. The difference in flavor and aroma between a bag of freshly roasted specialty beans and a can or tub of generic coffee grounds was then, and remains today, palpable for the consumer. At Raven’s Brew Coffee, Inc.® we have spent years of testing and research figuring out best practices to make sure the coffee our customers receive is, and stays, as fresh as it can be.
It comes down to two things—great packaging, and great timing.
Let’s talk about what happens to coffee after it is roasted. There are two measurable components released by roasted coffee beans—aroma and carbon dioxide gas.
Aroma is an important factor in coffee quality, it has the power to substantially affect our perception of both freshness and, once the coffee is brewed, flavor. It is also subjective; people experience aromas differently. When we compose tasting notes for coffee, we talk about how it smells as much as how it tastes. . Consequently, preserving the fantastic aroma of freshly-roasted coffee beans is a priority for many specialty roasters. A sealed environment is best for preserving the aroma of roasted coffee, but this causes issues with our other key component.
Coffee degasses over half of the carbon it will release in the first week after roasting, making this period highly dynamic and tricky for both brewing and packaging. In this sense, the coffee is not really losing freshness but settling into a more stable state that makes it brew more reliably. Anyone who has ever witnessed the bloom of a sample roast brewed too quickly after roasting understands that too much CO₂ can be a problem! Consequently, most if not all cafes and home brewers want to wait until this volatile period is over to experience reliable results with their coffee. This CO₂ release can cause serious issues inside a sealed environment—in the past roasters had to wait until the coffee was almost completely de-gassed before sealing in a can or tub.
With the invention and improvement of one-way valves in coffee bags it is safe to package sooner after the roast, prolonging the optimum freshness period of the coffee.
At Raven’s Brew® we pay close attention to the demand for our blends and have developed a roast schedule that ensures that we are roasting the perfect amount of coffee for the orders we receive. We package it at its freshest point—we know that getting the coffee into a protective bag at the right time makes more of a difference for freshness than getting it onto a store shelf within days of roasting.
Once in the bag, our packaging prevents anything external interfering with the coffee while the efficient one-way valve allows the coffee to continue releasing CO₂ safely. Our bags create an environment that substantially slows the process of coffee aging, maintaining peak freshness for a longer period so that when you open the bag, the wonderful aroma remains but the coffee is settled into a stable state for brewing.
There is more than just aroma and CO₂ at play when we talk about freshness. Watch out for Coffee Freshness—Part Two coming soon! In the meantime, check out our perfectly packaged Pantheon of Liquid Bliss.