If your everyday cup of Joe has been tasting a little stale, the problem could be your coffee beans. Or rather, it could be the freshness of your coffee beans. Coffee only has two ingredients: coffee beans and water, so the quality of your coffee beans matters.
Most supermarket coffee beans are of decent quality, sure, but they are nothing compared to the great taste of freshly roasted coffee. Freshly roasted coffee is mouth-wateringly aromatic.
Fresh coffee beans make supermarket coffee taste like that burnt bean water that’s been sitting in the office break room for half the morning. When it comes to coffee, fresh is always better.
What is the difference between fresh coffee beans and supermarket coffee beans?
The biggest difference between fresh coffee beans and supermarket coffee beans is the level of quality. Supermarket coffee beans are usually kept on the shelves for months before they are sold.
Even worse, some coffee bean companies will leave their coffee beans exposed to air before sealing them into bags. Those special packages big coffee companies use to hold their beans do little to preserve the flavor if most of the flavor is gone before they are packaged.
Coffee beans get most of their flavors from their oils, which are exposed through the roasting process. Once roasted, the oils are exposed on the surface of the bean. These oils degrade so quickly when exposed to air that the few minutes it takes them to cool off are crucial.
Many coffee companies package the coffee beans as soon as they have finished roasting, but freshly roasted coffee beans give off a gas which can rip the packaging. This is why reputable coffee companies incorporate a one-way valve in their packaging.
You can always find a one-way valve on fresh coffee. This valve lets out the gas that freshly roasted coffee emits. It also allows the coffee bean’s flavor to be preserved without damaging its packaging.
Coffee from a can does not have a one-way valve. This is because canned coffee beans have been allowed to cool while exposed to the air, losing most of their oil. Canned coffee has much less flavor than fresh coffee due to the cooling process it goes through.
Where can I buy fresh coffee beans?
Buying fresh coffee beans can be tricky. There are a few signs to watch for that indicate the coffee was freshly roasted. First, look to see if your coffee has a one-way valve. Coffee with these valves will be fresher than canned coffee.
Most reputable coffee companies also state their roast date on their packaging. If the roast date was two or more weeks ago, the coffee is no longer fresh.
Finally, many mobile coffee carts and independent coffee shops will sell their own pre-packaged blends straight to you! These are oftentimes the same coffee beans those baristas use in their espressos and pour-overs, so you can trust that they are fresh.
Fresh coffee beans can sometimes be hard to come by but they are always worth the extra trouble. Fresh coffee can truly be tasted and in comparison, supermarket coffee will always seem stale. Save your taste buds from stale coffee and buy fresh.