Sunday, 31 July 2016

The Secret to Storing Coffee Beans

How to Store whole Coffee Beans and get the best from them.

Is it the same for you? Do you have to have a cup of good coffee first thing in the morning? When you're walking into a coffee shop, does the smell of freshly ground coffee momentarily stop you in your tracks? Well I am one of those people and I really love coffee. Is there anything nicer than enjoying a relaxed breakfast with your family while savouring the taste of  a decent cup of coffee.

Now lets be clear, I'm not trained as a barista or (as of yet) have a fancy coffee machine, I do have a stove top Moka pot and a French press which are used very regularly, I like to buy beans that have a nutty flavour and my favourite caffeine hit is an Americano or strong black coffee in my French Press.

I recently bought an electric coffee/spice grinder, which is small enough to fit in my overfilled "gadget" drawer in the kitchen but powerful enough to ground up tough spices as well as full coffee beans. I use it mostly at weekends to grind beans and make fresh coffee, it hasn't got a big brand name on it but it does the job for me.

Initially when I bought the grinder I was somewhat at a loss to know how I should best store the beans and how fine should I grind them etc.

After some looking around I summoned up the courage to ask someone who I thought would be able to answer these question for me, I wrote to an Irish company based in Dundalk -not that far from me - called GreenBean Coffee Roasters to see if anyone there would be kind enough to answer these mundane but useful questions.

Meanwhile I was curious about what this Irish company did, I did a little research and lo and behold they have a series of YouTube videos, granted they are mainly for a professional kitchen but I did find this one video interesting. Sourcing and buying coffee beans.

As it happened, when I received a reply two days later, it came from none other than The Master Roaster himself , Mr. Pat Grant!

I was really excited to have a reply so quickly, he answered the questions that I really needed to know. Those ones you feel too silly to ask but are very relevant -How do I store unused beans? Would ready ground be better than the whole beans themselves? - Pat answered them all and more.   

How to Store whole Coffee Beans and get the best from them.

There are a few of Pat Grant's “Golden Rules” that, if followed, will guarantee you get the very best out of coffee at home;

1. Never ever buy coffee pre-ground. Oxygen will attack the vastly greater surface area of ground coffee than is available to it in bean form. Buy whole beans only (if you haven’t got a grinder, Gaggia burr grinders won’t break the bank and can be easily sourced on-line).

2. Never buy coffee with a “best before” date approx one year in advance. To be palatable at this time the coffee is most probably vacuum packed and then Nitrogen flushed. GREENBEAN coffee has a “best before” date no longer than 3-months hence for this very reason.

3. Never store opened coffee bags in the fridge or freezer. Taking the bag in and out will promote condensation which is very bad for it. Store opened bags folded over in a dark cupboard (or an air tight storage jar).

4. The French Press makes a very sweet and strong tasting cup of coffee which is equally good black or with milk. However there are a few things to remember;

a. Use PLENTY of ground coffee. Typically one heaped dessert spoon per person

b. Use only a coarse grind.

c. Play around with blends until you get one that you like and don’t forget to try a medium as against a dark roast.

d. Pre-heat your cups and only pour water that is “off the boil” onto your coffee. Water at 100 degrees will burn the coffee.

So there it is, I was making the mistake of keeping my unground beans in the freezer. I thought that it was the best way to keep them fresh! Who knew that the best way of all was just in the cupboard with a scrappy peg on top! I will admit that no small appliance in my house has the word Gaggia embossed on it but perhaps in the future I will splash out on clever and expensive coffee machine :)

How to Store whole Coffee Beans and get the best from them.

This is not a sponsored post but I did actively seek the advice of GreenBean Roasters because they are an Irish Company and I feel that it is important to support a homegrown Irish company - also they responded really quickly - it was only fair that I should credit them for their advice :) Thanks Pat.

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