Coffee undergoes hundreds of remarkable transformations on its journey from growing regions around the world to its final destination in your cup. There are reactions and transformations at every stage: harvesting, processing, roasting and brewing. Even as a hot cup of coffee cools, changes are still taking place that influence taste. How some of these changes occur still remains a mystery. The biggest transformation occurs during the roasting process, where over 800 different compounds are released. Yes, over 800!
What Happens When Roasting Coffee?
As coffee begins to roast, gases build up inside the beans. When the roast is complete and the beans begin to cool and rest, pent up carbon dioxide continues to escape from the beans. This is why you see a little valve on one side of our coffee bags. The valve allows CO2 and other gases to escape. If coffee is ground and brewed too soon after roast, the escaping gas can cause an uneven extraction and a less desirable cup of java.
It can take anywhere for two days to two weeks for freshly roasted coffee to fully de-gas. A general guide is that the darker the roast, the faster the de-gas process. The lighter the roast, the longer it needs to rest before brewing for optimal taste. A coffee like our Spiritus Ethiopian Natural will have the best flavor when brewed about 5-7 days after the roast date indicated on your bag. Our Colombian and House Blends a bit sooner, around 3-5 days.
While coffee needs a few days to reach its maximum potential, air is the enemy of fresh coffee. The roasted beans are full of oils, compounds, and acids, and when exposed to air, the oxidation process begins, which degrades the oils and compounds that contribute to flavor. This oxidation process is why old coffee has a stale, flat, bitter, lifeless taste — and why all Spiritus coffee is shipped in a stay-fresh, heat-sealed bag with a one-way valve to let the gas out without letting the air in.
How Does That Compare?
In comparison, when you buy a bag of coffee or a tin from a large, chain grocery store, 80% of the time that coffee was roasted 6+ months ago… so, all of the gas has long since escaped, along with all of the flavor.
Learn More About Coffee
We’ve loved everything we’ve had the opportunity to learn about the world of coffee, and there is so much more to know. Check out our Facebook and Instagram to follow us on our Spiritus Coffee journey!