Getting a café-quality coffee at home can be tough. But it doesn’t have to be. The main factor preventing the average joe from brewing that perfect cup in the comfort of their own PJs is freshness. Coffee beans have a shelf life for 2-3 weeks, after that they lose a lot of their aromatic properties. Not to mention, most people buy pre-ground coffee and store it for later. The longer ground coffee beans sit unused the more their flavors dissipate.
Here are a few things you should consider when buying, storing, and brewing your beans:
- Buy your beans from a reputable source. Local roasters are a great way to go as you generally do not have to worry about long lag times in shipping. Find out who the roasters in your area are and where they distribute. Often you can find their products at farmers’ markets, local supermarkets, and your neighborhood café (like Chhaya!)
- Buy your beans whole and always check the roast dates on bags or have a conversation with your coffee purveyor about when the coffee was roasted.
- Purchase only that amount of coffee that you can reasonably drink in a 2-week period. (At Chhaya we sell our beans in 16, 12, and 8 ounce bags).
- The best way to store your whole beans is in an opaque, airtight container away from direct sources of heat (like a stove.) You want to protect your beans from exposure to sunlight, moisture and excessive heat. DO NOT FREEZE YOUR COFFEE. Coffee is porous and will absorb moisture and odors from your freezer. Freezing also starts breaking down the aromatic oils in the coffee that are essential to its flavor.
- Invest in a good drip coffee grinder. Devices intended for grinding spices do not work well for coffee. Here at Chhaya we recommend the Hario Skerton ceramic grinder as an effective and economical choice.
- Grind the beans just before you are ready to make your coffee and only grind the amount you need. The grinding process cracks open the shell of the coffee bean and releases essential oils and aromatics as well as carbon dioxide—all of which contribute greatly to the flavor and mouthfeel of your final cup.
So, the next time you’re making a coffee purchase think “fresh.”