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Emery's Blog

Emery Coffee Goes Whole Bean May 13 2014

In keeping with our commitment to provide you with the best coffee experience possible, we will no longer be offering grind options on most of our coffees. Why, you might ask? According to the National Coffee Association, "Storage is integral to maintaining your coffee's freshness and flavor. It is important to keep it away from excessive air, moisture, heat, and light -- in that order -- in order to preserve its fresh-roast flavor as long as possible." 

Air is coffee's number one enemy and when coffee is ground much more surface area is exposed and thus goes stale much faster. You will not get sick from drinking old or stale coffee so the question then becomes how long is my coffee "fresh?" We will define fresh as the point at which a decided difference in flavor is apparent. 

Consider this, people go to the bakery every day and not just once a week because there is a difference in bread baked 15 minutes ago and 15 hours ago. A big difference. Sure the older bread is still good and quite tasty but only a shadow of the fresh bread.

The problem is, most people have never had fresh coffee outside of a cafe. If you buy your coffee at the supermarket it is already stale before you even buy it. It was roasted, ground, allowed to "rest" and release all of the CO2 before it was vacuum sealed for freshness. The resulting paradox is fresh/stale coffee. 

Our roasters use a one-way degassing valve which allows the CO2 to escape while it is on the way to you. That takes care of the issue, right? Although a big help, if the coffee was ground it was still exposed to air before it could be sealed. The flavor starts to significantly change within 24 hours. Within three days it is not the same coffee and after 7 days is hardly drinkable.

The best solution is to buy whole bean coffee and only as much as you will drink in the next two weeks. There is no noticeable change in flavor in the first 7 days. During the second week the flavor starts to break down. Again, you can drink coffee that was roasted one month or even four months ago without problems but the majority of the flavor would be gone as it becomes less and less drinkable over time. 

This seems a good time to introduce "Babbie's Rule of Fifteens." This comes from a discussion on Barista Exchange about this very issue. There are no real rules but these make for some good guidelines.

"Babbie's Rule of Fifteens:*
Green Beans should be used in fifteen months.
Roasted beans should bused in fifteen days.
Ground beans should be used in fifteen minutes.
Extracted beans should be served in fifteen seconds.


*These are generalities, and depend on the bean, the environment, and your tastes. While there are occasional outliers, anyone that suggests that these are way off would arouse my suspicions. Especially about his tastes... "

 

BEST PRACTICES

  • Buy fresh roasted whole bean coffee. 
  • Buy only what you will use in the next two weeks.
  • Store in an opaque airtight container in a cool dry place. 
  • Grind your coffee immediately before brewing.
  • Serve and enjoy as soon as possible.
  • NEVER store your coffee in the refrigerator or reheat brewed coffee.  

- Emery

 

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Better Water for Better Coffee November 21 2013


Coffee is more or less 98% water. Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, coffee is only as good as its weakest ingredient. When you want a drink of water do you drink tap water? Through a filter or filter pitcher? Do you drink bottled water? Whatever your personal taste, if you would not drink the water by itself why would you use it in your coffee? 

Tip #1: The water must taste good on its own. 

Best Choice 

If you have a water filtration system in place that is your best bet. Not only will you use this for coffee but for other beverages, cooking, etc. These systems filter out any unwanted odors or tastes, such as chlorine. Invest in yourself and you will thank me later. If you are not ready to take the plunge and buy a filtration system, start out with a filtered water pitcher. After using either of these for a short time tap water never tastes the same again. 

Good Choice 

Bottled water also makes for great coffee but is a little more expensive in the long run. Be sure you choose drinking water or spring water(see below). If you have a favorite brand then try using it for your next cup. Freely experiment with different brands and try to pick out the subtleties. 

Tip #2: Don’t use mineral water or distilled water. 

Water draws out the tasty goodness of the coffee and has to interact properly for a good tasting result. Mineral water is by definition hard water. With too much mineral content the water will not draw out enough of the solubles in your coffee. Distilled water is mineral free and thus has the opposite problem. Coffee will taste very bitter with distilled water as it dissolves every soluble compound. 

Tip #3: Keep the oxygen in your water. 

If you are using a manual brewer such as a Chemex, french press, or pour over remember these tips. 

Water that sits too long will taste flat because it will be missing the dissolved air that makes it taste so good. Water that boils too long leads to a poor cup also. Remove the water from the heat just as it starts to boil. The proper water temperature also plays a role in your coffee taste. If it is too cool it will not extract enough flavor. Let it cool for a moment before pouring over the coffee and you will be in the recommended 195-205 degree Fahrenheit range. If you don’t have a thermometer just use this time to preheat your brewer and cup with some of the extra water. 

Tip #4: Rinse and repeat. 

Keep your coffee maker as clean as possible and remove old grinds from the coffee maker or brewer as soon as you finish. This will prevent bitterness from old grounds marring the next cup. Coffee is a part of most American’s daily routine. Enjoy it! Make it an event. Keep your coffee from being routine and treat yourself to a cup of goodness, elixir of joy, wine of the bean or whatever your favorite name is for a good cup of coffee.

Emery


The Coffee Bean - A Seed in Disguise November 21 2013

 

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