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Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans

Really good coffees always have one thing in common: they're fresh!

Although you can store your whole roasted coffee beans for a month or more, they are best within three days of roasting, and about a week later they have lost most of their flavor. To avoid brewing from flavorless beans, buy fresh-roasted coffee beans in smaller quantities more often rather than buying in bulk. Store beans in airtight containers away from moisture and light. If you buy coffee beans in bags that are lined with foil, store them in the original bags, pushing out as much air as you can each time you reseal a bag.

Also, roasted coffee beans "breathe" out carbon dioxide for a few days after being roasted, so you'll need to let any gas out of the container. Just open the lid quickly and reseal it.

You can put coffee beans in the freezer, too, if you place them in an airtight container first. But don't put them BACK in the freezer after you've defrosted them—moisture will condense on the beans and ruin the flavor.

Do not refrigerate beans—it makes them stale.

Grinding your coffee beans:

  • Grind only as many beans as you need each time you make coffee.
  • For filter pots (including automatic coffeemakers), grind beans as fine as possible.
  • For percolators, a coarse grind is best.
  • For cafetieres (French press), use a medium grind.
  • Keep your grinder spotless, brushing out any stray bits of bean after each use.
  • While electric grinders do the fastest job, old-fashioned metal or heavy ceramic mortars and pestles still gives the finest grind and will never break down or wear out. (Be prepared to work hard; the process is slow and tedious.)
  • Don't try grinding coffee beans in your blender or food processor; you'll dull the blades and possibly stall or burn out the motor.
  • When you have beans and no grinder, wrap the beans in a clean old cloth (one that can be thrown away—it probably will be unusable afterwards), and then pound them with a mallet or heavy weight.

Use your grinds as soon as you can after grinding them.

 

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