There is a great misconception when it comes to coffee and freshness that the age of coffee beans are irrelevant to the quality. That is so far from the truth. Amazing coffee beans will have a noticeable decay of flavor within two or three weeks. We’re talking about a carefully grown and roasted agricultural product here, not packaged gummy worms.
Roasting coffee very dark is popular because the beans don’t begin the noticeable decline in flavor for up to a month. However, dark roasted beans have the unique flavors due to the country of origin and processing method literally roasted out from them. Instead, you get a roasty (often burnt) flavor instead.
On the other side, light roasted coffee is gaining huge momentum. Lighter beans will noticeably decline in quality of taste after only two weeks, but are erupting with more flavor.
When I say light roast, I don’t mean anything you’ll find at Walmart. Most of those brands have a light roast, but on the the real scale, they’re still medium or dark. Here’s help on how to tell what’s good quality and what’s not.
Why does coffee go bad?
First, is your idea of going bad that it has a funny taste and is not as fresh as it once was, or is it that it actually tastes as though it is spoiled? Yes, coffee can go stale when it comes to taste, but it won’t actually be spoiled or dangerous to drink.
Once your coffee is opened and introduced to oxygen, the shelf life timer begins to tick. Storing coffee in hot, humid, or sunlight areas will only make matters worse. The best way to keep your coffee fresh is to store it in a container that is air tight and will remain cool – but not in the refrigerator.
Do you typically buy your coffee ground for you? With a far greater surface area of coffee coming in contact with the oxygen, those grounds are going to stale much quicker than whole beans will. I highly recommend investing in a hand or electric grinder to experience the fresh taste and aroma of beans you’ve ground yourself.
When coffee goes bad, it can become bitter and even rancid. Every bean will react differently to oxidation. If you start to notice your expertly roasted beans losing quality and general yumminess, it may be time to buy some fresh beans. Don’t know how to find amazing, fresh coffee? I wrote a guide on that.
No matter what you do, you will not be able to get that fresh flavor back once it has left the bean. The most important thing to do is keep it locked up tight. However, if you are a true coffee lover, it may not sit around long enough to even think about going bad. Just remember this rule of thumb: about two weeks after roast the coffee will start decaying.