Coffee Beans - Packaging

Coffee Beans - Packaging
Category: Barista Skills and Techniques
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We all know that great tasting coffee starts with freshly roasted coffee beans. But how can you tell the coffee you're buying in a store is fresh and kept fresh? The key is looking at the packaging and checking the roasting date.

Freshly roasted coffee beans give off a great deal of carbon dioxide CO2, for several hours after roasting. To prevent this "de-gassing" from bursting their bags, coffee roasters use bags with either one-way air valves or punch a hole into the coffee bags.

Coffee can be packed immediately without off-gassing worries. A bag with one way valves tells you that your supplier is interested in providing a good product, and that your coffee is as fresh as possible. Bags with just a tiny hole punched into them should not be purchased. They are OK if the coffee is used immediately for high volume roast-to-brew applications.

How can I tell if the coffee bag features a one way valve?

Look for a one-way de-gasing valve on the coffee bag which looks similar to the picture on the left.

Manufacturers of Coffee bags and raosters claim the coffee packaged with one way valves can keep coffee fresh for up to 2 years. So, when you find coffee in a store with an expiry date of up to 2 years, is this coffee really fresh? Look for the roasting date instead. Unfortunately many roasters will not provide this information on the packaging.

Generally, if coffee is consumed within 1 year from roasting date, you're OK. But, nothing beats the taste of fresh coffee, roasted just weeks before. Most of our own coffees are locally roasted and are fresh. Order coffee more frequently but in lower quantities. We package all our own coffee with one way valves and print the roasting date on the coffee bags.

Now that you bought freshly roasted coffee, readu our article about coffee storage:

Coffee Bean Storage

Another consideration might be: How was the coffee transported from the roaster to the store? Has the coffee been left in the heat of the sun (container/truck/ship) for a long period of time ?

How does a one-way de-gasing valve work: This picture, by Thomas Vandenberg (source Pacific Bag) is a cross section of a coffee bag with a one-way valve in the
open/release mode. When pressure inside a sealed package increases beyond the “valve opening pressure,” the seal between the rubber disc and the valve body is momentarily interrupted and pressure can escape out of the package. When the internal pressure drops, the valve closes and prevents oxygen from entering the coffee bag.

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