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Friday, October 23, 2015

Can Coffee Beans Be Too Fresh?

Freshness Window For Coffee Beans

Are These Coffee Beans Too Fresh?
Are These Coffee Beans Too Fresh?

Many coffee aficionados, including me in my latest book, recommend to get the freshest coffee beans that you can find.  Is this good advice?

For most people, choosing the freshest beans they can find is the right advice.  If you can choose beans that were roasted a week ago vs beans that were roasted two weeks ago- take the freshest ones that were roasted a week ago.

But what if you have a local roaster or can roast your own beans.  Is it possible that beans that are "too fresh" aren't as good?  The answer is yes, you can get beans that are too fresh.  There are discussions on this very topic on these threads at Coffee Geek and Reddit.

After roasting, coffee beans off-gas a lot of CO2 and some CO.  That is why the bags of whole coffee beans have a vent- otherwise the bag would puff up and maybe even pop!  Right after the beans are roasted is when the off-gassing is at a maximum, and grinding the beans speeds up the off-gassing even more.  When the beans are ground, it increases the surface area and breaks the cell walls so gasses come out even faster.

Brewing very fresh beans can result in less flavor than you'll get if you let the beans rest for a few days.  The high amount of gas coming off of the very fresh grounds can prevent flavor extraction.  The flavor can be more watery and "grassy" than it will be after the degassing has settled down.

Coffee beans have a freshness window.  The peak window for most coffee beans is from a few days after roasting out to a few weeks after roasting.

I will still recommend to buy the freshest coffee beans you can find.  Most people are not getting their beans directly from a roaster or roast the beans themselves, so there is no risk of getting very fresh beans that were roasted only a day or two ago.

If you do somehow get beans that are too fresh, you coffee may not taste great for the first couple days.  If you get stale coffee beans, your coffee will never taste great and will only get worse every day.  I'd take the fresh beans every time.

Copyright © 2015 Dr. Penny Pincher. All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal

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