Understanding Freshness in Coffee

Understanding Freshness in Coffee: A Simple Guide to Flavour and Brewing

In the world of coffee, the concept “fresh coffee” often sparks debates and misunderstandings. Many define it as coffee beans freshly roasted, assuming that the shorter the time since the roast date, the fresher the brew. However, determining the freshness of coffee beans requires a nuanced understanding that varies depending on factors such as coffee varieties, roasting levels, and other considerations. 

In this latest release of our Gateway article, we will redefine the concept of freshness in coffee to help you understand the complexity involved and identify the optimal brewing period for your coffee beans.

Coffee is not a type of product that necessarily tastes better if consumed immediately after roasting. From the roaster’s perspective, the true freshness is not just about when the coffee bean was roasted, it begins with the quality of the green beans. That’s because, even with proper storage over time, the moisture content in green beans gradually diminishes, leading to a loss of flavour. 

Freshly roasted coffee requires a period of degassing, typically lasting between 12 to 24 hours. This phase allows carbon dioxide (CO₂) produced during the roasting process to escape. While CO₂ serves as the main indicator of freshly roasted coffee, excessive amounts can hide the coffee’s true flavour profile. Conversely, insufficient degassing can result in a brew that is flat and lackluster.

At Terminal 3 Coffee Roasters, we typically suggest brewing coffee 7 to 14 days after roasting. During this period, the beans experience optimal degassing, resulting in a brew that truly captures its origin flavours. However, it's crucial to note that this timeframe can differ based on the coffee type and roasting profile. For some beans, peak flavour may be reached between 21 to 30 days post-roast. Therefore, we always advise seeking guidance from our roasters or baristas, who have dedicated time to determine the best brewing period for each coffee bean available in our store.

We also highly encourage our customers to explore and taste the brew from day 2 to day 30 after roasting. This enables them to personally experience the developing flavours, refine their sensory skills, and identify their preferred brewing time.

Happy brewing!