Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Proper Coffee Storage

Roasted coffee beans are the seeds of the fruit (cherry) of the coffea tree. Regardless of its variety, growing conditions, preparation process, roasting, grinding and brewing, the determining factor of quality and taste is its freshness! Thus, the proper storage of roasted coffee beans will be the ultimate determinant of an excellent cup.

In the case of Ospina Coffee, the cherries have been harvested and handpicked at their peak of ripeness. These cherries are then processed by the “wet method”, by which the cherries are washed, peeled, depulped, fermented, washed again and finally sundried. At this stage they are in their “parchment” form and look like pistachio nuts in their shells.

Once the parchment coffee beans have been sundried (about three weeks), they are ready for storage. When the time comes to ship them to the roaster, they are taken to the curing mill where the parchment or shells are removed by hulling. The outcome of this process is the "green" coffee beans. They will then go through a screening process for quality control, classification and grading. Eventually these green beans will be roasted and, that is how most consumers get to know coffee beans.

Coffee beans, and specially roasted beans, are very delicate and sensitive to environmental conditions and elements. There are three main elements that will corrupt the quality of the beans: air (oxygen), humidity and sunlight (ultraviolet rays).

Thus, to properly store roasted coffee beans, one must keep them away from these three elements. The best way to do so is by keeping the beans: 1) in an airtight container, such as a porcelain canister, glass jar or plastic ziplock bag; 2) in a dry and cool place; and 3) away from sunlight. The best place to store your roasted coffee beans will be the pantry.

Never store your coffee beans in the refrigerator, and never, never, in the freezer. This will dehydrate the beans and the natural oils will congeal, permanently corrupting the coffee. Roasted beans should preserve their natural oils for an optimum brew. I hope this storage tips are helpful. Cheers to an excellent cup of coffee!

Yours most truly,

Mariano Ospina

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