What is coffee freshness?

Coffee freshness in specialty coffee is defined as the coffee flavour being as close as possible to the freshly roasted version. There is no rule or precise measurement to define a universal coffee freshness, because lighter roasts will last longer than dark roasts, fast roasts will last less than slower roasts, whole coffee beans will last longer than ground coffee beans, there are many variables. That is why each roaster can define a different “best before” on their coffee.

It can also be defined by some chemical markers such as the presence of CO2 that is formed during roasting and released right after – the more presence of CO2 will indicate a fresher roasted coffee. There are other chemical markers as well, in fact there is a very interesting research on this topic:

What you can learn from this study and various others is that packaging is extremely important in maintaining freshness for a longer time period. We don’t want the presence of oxygen or moisture, so the less permeable the packaging will be, the more protected and and the more fresh the coffee will stay.

Normally packaging for specialty coffee is made either 100% from recyclable plastic, compostable materials or from multi-layered packaging with a thin aluminum layer inside of the bag. As you will notice in the scientific study, a coffee in 100% plastic composite packaging already changes its sensory character after the first three weeks. The packaging lined with a layer aluminium gives incredible results in prolonging freshness for a significant amount of time, but reduces completely the possibility to recycle it.

Our coffee cans for 250g are 100% aluminium cans with much thicker walls than coffee bags, guaranteeing a significantly better conservation and no permeability from the outside. Plus don’t forget they are 100% recyclable metal, that can be re-recycled basically forever, not many other materials have this aspect.

There are ways to improve freshness even more, and that is the absence of oxygen in the packaging when packing the coffee. Few specialty coffee roasters have the opportunity to do this, but our cans are flushed with nitrogen, so oxygen is pushed out when coffee is packed, protecting the coffee even more.

Oxygen is responsible for loss of flavour and for the oxidation of the lipids of the coffee, or better known as fats. Just imagine an olive oil left out in open air for some time, it will turn rancid because of the interaction with oxygen. Well, the same happens with the oils in the coffee beans.

Unlike oxygen, nitrogen doesn’t react with coffee oils and doesn’t affect the flavour, so the coffee stays fresher for much longer.

There are some important specialty coffee roasters in the world that advise their coffee to be consumed within three months from the roast date. Well, with all confidence of the quality of the packaging, so do we!

80plus Specialty Coffee Roastery - Carrer Verneda del Congost, 7, 08160 Montmeló, España
80plus Specialty Coffee Studio - Via Laietana 36, Ático, 08003 Barcelona, España

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