Part 5 of our series All About Coffee continues with the process of Packaging Freshly Roasted Coffee. Click the following links if you would like to read:
The Coffee Tree – Part 1 of “All About Coffee”
Harvesting, Milling and Storing Coffee – Part 2 of “All About Coffee”
Roasting Coffee Beans – Part 3 of “All About Coffee”
Coffee Cupping - Part 4 of "All About Coffee"
Coffee Packaging - Coffee is a highly perishable good. Once the beans have finished roasting, the staling process begins where desirable flavors and aromas escape while undesirable ones from its surroundings are being absorbed.
The shelf life of coffee will begin to diminish over time as it is exposed to oxygen, moisture, and light. The rate of staling is dependent on the state of coffee (whole bean or ground), and the amount of exposure to oxygen, moisture, and light. Thus, coffee is enjoyed best when the beans are ground and brewed immediately after roasting.
Of course not everyone have the luxury of roasting their own coffee beans before grinding and brewing a pot or a cup. Thus, packaging and storing coffee in appropriate bags and containers will help preserve and prolong the shelf life of fresh-roasted coffee.
Nitrogen-flushed, moisture-resistant bags with a one-way valve enable roasters to package coffee beans immediately after roasting to maintain its optimal freshness and quality. The one-way valve allows gases emitted from the coffee (beans) to escape the bag while preventing oxygen to enter. Without it, fresh-roasted coffee beans must rest (or “degas”) for up to several days before packaging. Otherwise, the bag will balloon up, with the possibility of exploding.
Once the bag is opened, it is wise to keep the remaining unused coffee in an air-tight container in a cool, dark, dry place. Ultimately, the goal is to limit its exposure to oxygen, moisture, and light whether or not the bag has been opened.