Fresh Coffee: What To Look For?
Commercial-grade coffee has a more developed roast. You should see that there’s a little bit of oil on the surface which is an indication that it was roasted a little bit longer. Whereas freshly roasted coffee has the silver skin intact which is some of the cell material of the coffee seed.
The first thing to do when you brew a cup of coffee (using the pour over method) is to hit your cup with a bit of hot water, then look for some off-gassing to happen. It indicates fresh roast. You should see your coffee bubbling up; multiple bubbles come up for probably 30 seconds. While commercial-grade coffee would just sink in and it would stop any sort of action very quickly. It’s an indication of stale roast.
So fresh roast causes bubbles; it's what we call “the bloom”, and that is because there’s gas trapped inside freshly roasted coffee.
Part of the roasting process is putting the coffee through a really wide array of chemical reactions during the roast, and what happens in that roasting process, gas is physically trapped inside the bean. Slowly over time they will leak out of the coffee bean. However, they do expediently leak out once the coffee is ground. This is one of the reasons you really want to seek out whole bean freshly roasted coffee. It is going to be a lot more lively, sweet and vibrant when you get it and brew it.
Fresh coffee has a clear expressive flavor, vibrant acidity, and good sweetness. It’s very balanced and crisp. Whereas commercial-grade coffee is very tired, muted in terms of its flavor overall, it just leaves a kind of heavy bitter flavor on the tongue.
Commercial-grade coffee is the bottom of the shelf, grocery stores best by coffee. Whereas $27 a pound, you are probably going to find it at your specialty coffee shop. Something that is freshly roasted in small batches.
Look for a roasted on date rather than a best by date
When you are looking for coffee in your grocery store, you really want to look for coffee that has a roasted date, not a best by date. Roasted on really gives you a sense whether that coffee is fresh.
Purchase coffee that is no longer than 3 weeks past its roast date
You really want to look for coffee that’s no older than 2 or 3 weeks past its roast date if you want to enjoy it as its peak.
Best by dates give little information about the actual quality of coffee
Coffee that has a best by date and no roasted on date will really not give you any sense of how fresh it is. Commercial-grade coffee is cheaper, and there is a reason!
While you may not need all of this information when you are just brewing your morning cup of coffee, what we hope you will take away from this is that you can get freshly roasted for less than $30 a pound which is ounce for ounce better value than any good drink at your local shop.
Happy coffee brewing!