Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be an experienced coffee specialist to identify fresh roasted coffee when you see it. In fact, it can be surprisingly easy to identify a true batch of fresh coffee.
If coffee is your thing, you’ll already understand and appreciate the difference between everyday coffee and truly fresh coffee. To take home a bag of fresh roasted coffee beans or the best ground coffee money can buy really is a treat like no other. By contrast, land yourself a bag of decidedly non-fresh ground coffee and it’s a different story entirely.
Unfortunately, you can’t always rely on the manufacturer to tell it like it is. They’ll happily tell you it’s premium fresh roasted coffee of the highest quality, but the beans themselves may tell a different story. Hence, it’s up to you to learn how to detect fresh coffee when you see it.
So for those who always opt for fresh roasted coffee beans to prepare the best ground coffee at home, here’s what to look for in the beans in the bag:
First up, all those fantastic natural oils and aromatic compounds contained within a coffee bean continually ‘erupt’ through its surface. As a result, fresh coffee beans that are indeed bursting with freshness will have a naturally shiny and glossy appearance. It almost looks as if they have been coated in oil, which in a sense, they have. The older the beans, the more these oils and fragrant compounds begin to dry up. Always note the extent to which the coffee beans have an enticing glossy appearance.
Assuming you’ve already bought the beans, freshness can be assessed simply by giving them a quick squeeze. Once again, it’s a case of assessing the extent to which they’re bursting at the seams with oily goodness. Grab a bunch of beans, squeeze them in your hand and see how much oily residue they leave behind. It’s worth remembering that lighter roasts, such as those normally used the best coffees, don’t leave behind nearly as much residue as their darker counterparts, so be sure to factor this into your inspection.
When picking up a bag of coffee beans to make fresh ground coffee at home, check whether or not the bag has a valve. If the beans are truly fresh, they will still be emitting a fair amount of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide which, in the absence of a valve, could cause the bag to explode. If there’s no valve, chances are there’s no CO2 and therefore no real freshness.
Last but not least, quality coffee beans and the best ground coffee on the market will always be sold with a clear roasting date on the label. Rather than checking when the coffee expires, focus instead on how long ago it was roasted. Needless to say, the more recent the beans were roasted, the fresher the coffee within!
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