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The East London

Coffee Company

Coffee, packaging and storage, how and why does packaging effect the quality of your coffee.

Step 1: Beans

Green beans, after drying and packaging, can last a long time. This is provided that they are stored properly, kept dry and not exposed to moisture and high humidity levels. Green beans are packed in burlap (jute) or Hessian sacks, usually 60 - 70 kg. Coffee is sometimes vacuum packed or hermetically sealed but this is unusual.

Step 2: Roasted beans

Once beans are roasted, the beans are cooled and gases are released. The beans should ideally be packed within 12 - 24 hours of roasting. It is from this point that the flavour and aroma starts degrading. Some ‘experts’ argue that the taste improves over the first 48 hours and that degrading only starts at this point - be this as it may, roasted beans are ideally consumed within one to two weeks of roasting and certainly within the first four weeks.

Step 3: Packaging options and logistics.

Many attempts have been, and are being made to seal in the flavour of fresh coffee - these include vacuum packaging; freezing; nitrogen packaging; de-oxygenated or pressurised containers; valve packs and others. Packaging options combine with logistical delays such as the distance between green-bean and roaster; roaster and supermarket; wholesaler and coffee-shop; shipping methods and handling, to cause delays and the inevitable flavour loss.

Unfortunately for coffee lovers, most of the beans that are readily available to the coffee lover have been sitting in a logistical holding pattern or on a shop shelf for too long and are well passed their best by the time your favourite brew hits your lips.

Step 4: Artisan or specialist roasters

One of the many advantages in buying from artisan or specialist coffee roasters is that beans are generally roasted to order. In addition therefore to being assured of fresh coffee, you can also be assured that the roaster is selecting only the best coffee, coffee that he roasts for his own enjoyment ands coffee that satisfies his own passion.

Learn about the history of coffee

The term ‘specialist coffee’ refers to those roasters and others in the coffee industry who are dedicated to  make quality their highest priority when it comes to the coffee cycle. A commitment to the highest standards from the farmyard to the cup.

The team at the EL Coffee Company subscribe to this principal.

Home storage

1. It’s not really necessary but, if you are stuck with a lot of stock which you are not about to use soon , beans or ground coffee can be stored in the freezer provided the pack has not been opened. Once open, they should be sealed in an airtight container and stored in a dark cupboard. Try and use within 1-6 weeks of purchase (sooner as far as ground coffee goes) and do not refrigerate or expose the beans to harsh light or damp conditions.

2. Ground. It is preferable to buy beans and to grind these yourself just before use. If you have no option but to buy ground, buy smaller quantities and try and use within a week or so of purchase. Our roaster says: “I am always concerned when we sell ground coffee. While we vacuum pack this immediately after grinding, as soon as ground coffee is exposed to normal air, flavour loss is accelerated.”

Buy freshly roasted speciality coffee and have this delivered to your door within a few days of being roasted.

Tired of stale coffee off a shop shelf?

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