While choosing a specialty coffee , we should always make sure that the coffee is as fresh as possible .

There is a myth that says freshly roasted coffee is best, but if we pay close attention we realise that isn’t entirely true. Coffee needs to be rested after roasting at least for a few days to allow the gas trapped ( degassing or off gassing ) inside the beans to escape, this gas is mainly carbon dioxide which has a bitter taste ans surely will not enhance the coffee quality.
At the same time, coffee after a few weeks will start to lose its freshness, so as you can see it is not that easy to brew a great cup of coffee when it’s at its peak.
But let’s explore a bit more in detail about this interesting topic! Coffee freshness !
Ever wonder why freshness matters so much in your daily cup ?

It’s not just about taste – from the moment coffee beans are picked to when they’re brewed, they go through a lot of changes. Every step in this journey, from farm to cup, involves a team effort to give you that perfect sip. Specialty coffee is all about making sure we apply our very best knowledge at every step to ensure a quality product. 

But keeping coffee fresh isn’t just about quality – it’s about saving money too. For coffee companies worldwide, it can mean the difference between a great cup and a so-so one, and between profit and waste.

In this article , we’ll explore why freshness is key, how coffee ages, and what we know about keeping it fresh. Join us as we uncover the secrets of freshness, making your coffee experience even better.

From a historical perspective we can start to talk about coffee packaging from the 18th century onwards. Initially, the function of packaging was to transport green coffee (e.g., jute bag), but soon the purpose of the packaging was to primarily protect the roasted coffee. The very first versions of this were greased leather bags treated with beeswax on the outside.

It was in 1812 the first coffee canning production was set up by Bryan Donkin and John Hall in England. Initially, the target customers for canned roasted coffee tins were sailors.  

Only 1863 canned coffee was sold directly to consumers and became mainstream, with iconic branded coffee tins that soon became fashionable. 

The tins at the time were designed to protect the aroma loss but did not protect the coffee from oxidation.

Since then, preserving freshness has become a central feature in coffee packaging. By the 20th century onward substantial innovation started to appear, for example; one of the greatest breakthroughs in packaging was the inclusion of a  one-way valve in the coffee packaging (patented by an Italian company Goglio). Prior to that manufacturers would puncture a small hole into packaging to let the coffee degas.

Bryan Donkin
What makes coffee lose its freshness?

These are the main “enemies” that will trigger your coffee to go stale and oxidised. Oxigen, Temperature, Moisture, Light and Space 

Oxygen : keep your coffee always in an  airtight container or bag, and avoid exposing it to the air, as oxygen makes coffee oil oxidise, producing rancid aromas.

Temperature : keep your coffee in a cool place avoiding temperatures beyond 30 C .

Temperature impacts coffee ageing both chemically and physically. Since temperature is directly linked to the kinetics of chemical reactions (e.g., those governed by the Arrhenius equation), it accelerates the processes leading to coffee staling. 

Moisture  keep your coffee in a dry environment 

Moisture tends to enhance staling reactions by competing with aroma molecules for sorption onto the coffee matrix. Studies have shown that higher moisture levels are associated with quicker loss of coffee aroma.

Time :  for the best flavour experience, it’s recommended to consume your coffee within one week of roasting, and ideally within the following 4 to 6 weeks.The chemical and physical characteristics of roasted coffee gradually alter over time as volatile aromatic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide degrade and dissipate.

Space: open your packet only at the extremely necessary time. 

The storage environment significantly influences aroma loss during coffee ageing. Given available space, aroma molecules migrate to areas lacking aroma. For instance, the  aroma experienced when opening a fresh coffee bag or during grinding is lost and doesn’t contribute to the beverage’s flavor.

Light: avoid exposing coffee beans or powder to direct sunlight. 

Coffee preserves much better in darker places or opaque packing. 

So, as you can see, keeping your coffee in optimal conditions to produce a specialty coffee cup is not an easy task. 

Our recommendation

At Marc’s is to buy the amount of coffee you intend to drink per month. If for example your monthly consumption is one kilo, the best option will be to get 4 packets of 250 grams each, keep the 3 packs in a dark and cool place, and use one packet for your weekly needs. 

  • This simple action will certainly improve your daily cup rather than buying one kilo packets, as every time you open the pack a huge amount of coffee aromas will be lost forever!
  • Another tip, we can share, in case you cannot buy the favourite coffee for a while, you can delay the ageing of the coffee if you keep it in the freezer.
  • Vacuum packing also has become a very good technology to keep not only green coffee for a longer time, but roasted coffee too.

Write to us if you have further questions, and May the coffee spirit be with you!