Drinking freshly roasted coffee has become a significant talking point over the years, now that third-wave coffee has taken hold in most countries. You might not fully realize that freshly roasted coffee isn’t always the best for coffee extraction. What do we mean by that? Well, read on to see how a little age goes a long way to getting you that consistently delicious cup.
What Is Coffee Extraction?
Coffee extraction is the thing. It’s everything that goes into a great, or not-so-great cup. Coffee extraction is the number of TDS or Total Dissolved Solids that you are able to get out of your coffee during the brewing cycle, whether that is a pour-over or a french press. Those TDS bring with them the flavor and the texture of your batch and the amount of age on your coffee absolutely affects how easy it is to get the most extraction from your coffee.
The belief that if you are not drinking coffee right out of the roaster, it will be stale and taste bad is a complete myth. I’m sure this idea was spawned by someone looking for ways to differentiate their coffee from everyone else’s. Still, unfortunately, it’s only served to develop a false belief in coffee freshness and what it means to be fresh. Remember, coffee is not milk or cheese. This stuff will not harm you if you drink it past the expiration date, even if that date is completely arbitrary, which it most certainly is.
Coffee, on the other hand, actually benefits from some age. Straight out of the roaster, the coffee seed is packed full of gas. When you grind it, that gas starts to escape causing that fun bubbling or “blooming” you see when you pour hot water. While exciting to see, those bubbles are harmful to the extraction and flavor you’re trying to achieve. If there is a lot of gas coming off those grinds, water can not penetrate them to extract all that yummy goodness.
One way to mitigate this is by stirring your coffee immediately after your first “blooming” pour. Getting those grinds saturated as soon as possible is key to better coffee extraction when it’s super fresh.
Alternatively, you can always just let your coffee chill out for a week or so. The lighter the roast, the more time your coffee will need, and you will see a difference in flavor. In fact, at Path, we suggest at least 7-10 days off roast as being the best time to start brewing your coffee.
If you let your coffee sit around exposed to oxygen for months on end, it’s going to be stale and not have that exciting pop its fresh counterpart would. But if the coffee is whole bean and sealed in its original bag with a one-way degassing valve, that coffee should taste delicious for quite some time after that roast date.
One simple, fun experiment you can do at home is to take a freshly roasted bag of coffee and split it in half. Keep one half in the bag and store it in the cupboard for ten days before brewing it. With the other half, brew it up as soon as possible and enjoy that over the next few days. You should experience a greater depth of flavor with the ten-day-old coffee in your cupboard without the loss of those beautiful crisp flavors.
Ultimately coffee extraction is not a spot-on science. We need to use our tasting abilities to judge what we believe is the best flavor for us. Also, different coffees might require more or less time off from the roast date to achieve their optimal coffee extraction. Play around, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Remember, it’s only coffee. Enjoy it and have fun.
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Path Coffee Roasters is located in Port Chester, NY, where we roast and package all our coffees weekly for our wholesale, retail, and dropshipping customers.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions. We’re here to help.