How long do you keep your coffee after its roasted?

I have found a rule of a 7 day peak and like it no older than 10 days. What's your rule of thumb?

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This has the potential of a great discussion Mike! Being a Kiwi, I am always looking back to the land of the long white cloud (New Zealand) to see what my friends in the roasting business are doing there. The NZ Coffee Assoc recommends a best enjoyed within 10 day rule for their commercial members. I think in a country where coffee consumption is solid, logistics are not an issue then this 10 day rule would be fantastic to adhere to. Sadly commercial reality where I am, a hugely spread out island nation with poor logistical support, means I must put a 3 month label on the coffee I send out from my roastery. However for coffee sold directly from our own retail outlet(s) we use the 10 day rule.
It depends on the coffee, to take the easy way out. I've found some (say, our house spro blend) really peaks around day 4-6, and by day 10, is really takin a downward spiral, while our SO spro (currently an Ethiopian Illili Daratu Harrar) doesn't peak until day 8-9, with that sweet spot window continuing through day 11. I've had some excellent origins out of a press, only to find it was a full two weeks past roast (and it was done on purpose!)
Really listen to the coffee, and let it tell you how long it wants to stay awesome.
... I would say at the very most, maybe a 12 day rule, but most likely 10 day, with a few exceptions.
Doesn't it also depend on storage conditions?
Very true, but unless you're, god forbid, freezing the beans, I would say 10 days is pretty standard.
Now, vacuum sealed, that's a different story.

Denise Smith said:
Doesn't it also depend on storage conditions?
after 10-14 days all coffee is aged and degassed and begins to oxidize and decay. it changes constantly. Treat it like fresh strawberies or tomatoes. Fresh and sexy is good.

we dont pour any espresso sooner than 5 days after roast.
Depending on the coffee, we say 2 to 3 weeks. I won't sell one older than 2 weeks (we brew it like crazy till its gone). Most are useless to me after the 3 week mark.

Ideally, I'd love to have nothing over a week old on the retail shelf. We're there for about half of our stuff... which is really, really good for our area and makes me happy for now. Maybe next year we'll get the rest of the way there.

I try to never miss an opportunity to trash the idea of a "best by" date... that date is a lie unless it is a week to 10 days after roast. It WAS its best at that point and everything else is downhill. Put a roasted on date on the bag and let your customers decide based on that.


BTW, does everyone support the idea that you can go longer with vacuum-sealing? Not challenging the idea, just honestly curious. I'd always heard that oxidation was only part of the story and that the other "fading" aspects of aging happened even in a vacuum, but have never really gathered data to figure out what that means from a drinkability standpoint. Thoughts?
At the shop I work at we have bags with the one way valve. Having had coffee from plain paper with lining as well I feel the valve helps even in the first week. I don't believe after the bag is opened it does anything. Honestly I think we all would agree I'd love to get, even at home, coffee right after it's roasted and get to enjoy it before the ten day mark. If this core value can transfer to our customers I believe they could come to want the same thing. Like good bread or produce we should buy often!
Brady said:
Depending on the coffee, we say 2 to 3 weeks. I won't sell one older than 2 weeks (we brew it like crazy till its gone). Most are useless to me after the 3 week mark.

Ideally, I'd love to have nothing over a week old on the retail shelf. We're there for about half of our stuff... which is really, really good for our area and makes me happy for now. Maybe next year we'll get the rest of the way there.

I try to never miss an opportunity to trash the idea of a "best by" date... that date is a lie unless it is a week to 10 days after roast. It WAS its best at that point and everything else is downhill. Put a roasted on date on the bag and let your customers decide based on that.


BTW, does everyone support the idea that you can go longer with vacuum-sealing? Not challenging the idea, just honestly curious. I'd always heard that oxidation was only part of the story and that the other "fading" aspects of aging happened even in a vacuum, but have never really gathered data to figure out what that means from a drinkability standpoint. Thoughts?
Hmmm... I have both kind of bags at the store and a fresh delivery Wednesday. Sounds like time for yet another science experiment.

The folks are gonna flip - we just got all the white plastic bags worked out of the system. From a visual perspective we decided that the white plastic bags didn't look "coffeehouse" enough. Oh well - to quote our roaster "freshness rules".
10 days to 2 weeks. As a general rule, it's usually on the shorter end for coffee and the longer end for espresso.

I don't think vacuum packaging helps slow any internal degradation of the coffee,
but I do think storage for the few weeks you use coffee does matter.

Whatever the case, old coffee bites.
We go by the 2 week rule. We also don't recommend grinding in the first 24 hours to allow for proper degassing. For most of our local accts, we actually deliver the day after roasting to cut down on this.

I don't buy into the vacuum packaging.

I heard several years ago Illy poured a lot of money into a tin design that would supposedly "freeze" the bean from degrading by creating some equilibrium environment and promised a fresh bean even a year after roast date. I don't have experience with it, but i heard that it worked okay for the first pot, but once opened the bean degraded almost instantly. Does anyone have experience with this or know what I'm talking about?
Michael Sivetz who is a chemist by trade says 3-6 days at room temp coffee has lost 90% of its flavor and aroma. If it is frozen IMMEDIATELY after roasting will keep up to 6-9 weeks in a airtight container. He gave this talk with documents and charts to back it up at a SCAA convention I believe Miami but I cannot say for sure You can contact him to verify this.
I have roasted several million pounds of coffee and have done tests with Illy, Sivetz, and many more. To vacuum pack you have to let the coffee degas, hence loosing flavor and aroma. Coffee starts drawing in oxygen after fully degassed . So if you stop the degassing process by freezing it will start again only when you take it out of freezer. and then it starts the 48 hour degassing even if it has been frozen for weeks. But it has to be put in the freezer right out of the roaster not hours or days later.
Some people new to the industry disagree with this but roast some and try it. Don't take the older roastmasters words for it. You have to roast it yourself do not depend on the roaster on the corner to tell you it is fresh.


Benza Lance said:
Very true, but unless you're, god forbid, freezing the beans, I would say 10 days is pretty standard.
Now, vacuum sealed, that's a different story.

Denise Smith said:
Doesn't it also depend on storage conditions?

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