There is a revered spot right near the kettle in most Australian households. It is there we find our cherished companion and crutch, our morning love, our kick-starter to both the brightest of days and the more ominous one we’ve been dreading.
Heaven forbid it should be empty.
I’m talking about the coffee jar, the vessel that contains the blessed beans. It may be porcelain, it may be glass, it may be simply the bag it was purchased in secured by an elastic band.
A conscientious coffee consumer knows that keeping their coffee fresh is key to a consistent cup of “Yummo!”
That said, there are a few myths circulating about the best ways to do so.
Myth No.1 : Store in the Fridge/Freezer
There is a lot of humidity in refrigerated environments. Condensation on coffee is not ideal, as the moisture creates opportunities for microorganisms to grow and cause the coffee to spoil quickly. Temperature fluctuations can make flavoursome oils leave the coffee quicker, leaving it dull and tasteless.
Myth No.2 : Use-By Dates
Coffee packaging will either have a “Best Before” date or a “Roasted On” date. A common misconception is that the coffee is going to retain its taste right up until the day of the of the “Best-Before.”
In reality, properly stored coffee beans are at their peak around a week after the roast, and start to lose their flavour after four weeks.
(The “Best Before” is usually dated 6 months to a year from the date the beans were roasted. If the coffee you’re buying has a best before, you can probably work out the approximate roast date by counting back 6 months.)
Myth No.3 : Pre-Ground is Unacceptable
A lot of serious coffee consumers buy whole beans and grind to order for their brews, and that’s great!
Others prefer the convenience of buying pre-ground, and that’s great too!
For espresso style coffee, using fresh ground beans is imperative. Extraction with an espresso machine is a high-pressure method designed to get everything out of the bean, and it’s a fine-tuned process that has to be absolutely correct.
However, other methods such as French press, cold brewing and nitro brews are more forgiving. Using pre-ground coffee is much less noticeable and it surely is time saving.
It really depends on your priorities.