How Fresh is Fresh?

If you’re making coffee with an Etkin Dripper, you likely appreciate a fresh cup of coffee. But what does freshness mean for coffee? It turns out there are multiple aspects. Here’s how to have the freshest cup of coffee possible. 

Fresh Crop  

Coffee, like any other fruit, is a seasonal product. Thankfully, there are enough different countries in the world producing coffee there’s pretty much always some coffee in season. 

When at all possible, you’ll want to drink fresh crop coffee— i.e. coffee that has been harvested in the last 12 months. 

Coffee that isn’t fresh crop will likely tasty flat and woody. This happens as the volatile flavor compounds start to degrade. Really bad examples might even taste “baggy” as the oils in the green coffee absorb aromas from its ambient environment. 

Fresh Roast 

Coffee needs to “degas” the first few days after roasting as carbon dioxide trapped inside of the beans slowly escapes.  But after a few days of resting, coffee should be consumed as close to roasting as possible.

We find the peak window is 4-14 days after roasting. Within 2 months is probably a more realistic guideline for many consumers. In a pinch, I recently brewed some coffee that had been roasted 9 months ago and it just tasted like sadness and regret. 

Beware of any coffee roaster that doesn’t put the roast date on the bag!

Fresh Ground

When I was a barista, it was common that customers would ask us to grind their whole bean coffee for them. I was happy to oblige, but it always made me sad to know that coffee would be stale before the customer could even get home. The gases that make up a coffee’s aroma are extremely volatile. Fifteen minutes after grinding little of a coffee’s fragrance will be left. 

Fresh Brewed

As tempting as it can be to use that hot plate on your batch brewer, heating your coffee will increase bitterness and create unpleasant aromatics. 

If you’re not planning on consuming all of your coffee immediately, try decanting your brew into an insulated thermos.

Most mornings I brew around 750 ml of coffee with my Etkin Dripper for my wife and I to share. We each drink about 250 ml and the other 250 ml goes into an insulated travel mug for later. 

A good thermos can keep your coffee hot for hours, but for best results, try to drink within 90 minutes. 

What about Freezing?

Special coffee luminary George Howell pioneered freezing green coffee. At first we were skeptical, but after trying a sweet, juicy Kenya several years after harvest, we were won over. 

If you want to try freezing green coffee or roasted coffee, the principles are the same. The coffee should be vacuum sealed to protect the coffee from oxidation and moisture. After defrosting it should be used as quickly as possible as it will likely degrade at a faster rate. 

But for those of without access to industrial freezers, it's probably easier to follow these simple best practices.

Best Practices

If you’re buying small amounts of coffee frequently from a local roaster, you can probably trust you’re drinking a fresh roast of fresh crop. But the grinding and brewing is on you! 

To get the best results from your Etkin Dripper we recommend investing in a good burr grinder and grinding your coffee immediately before brewing.