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Topic: To Vac or Not to Vac Week 1 (6 msgs / 372 lines)
1) From: Aaron
Ok folks, It's sunday so time for the first report on which storage 
method is best for beans.
I roasted up a batch of beans here...The Kenya 154 Peaberry and stored 
them different ways to see if it really makes a difference.
The ways I stored them are as follows.
1. Vaccuum container with the air sucked out of it
2. Sealed tight mason jar
3. Closed container, may or may not be Air tight
4. SM's valve bags that let the CO2 out and keep air from getting in
5. A container, .. a zip lock baggie, NOT airtight
I made each cup in a swiss gold filter, using 9.5 grams of beans, and 
ground them at the same grind in my  maestro classic with a grind one 
click finer than the 'espresso thingie picture' im guessing it is,  its 
pretty much towards the really fine side..
The water was heated in the microwave until it just hit boiling, by the 
time I got it to the beans it was sitting right at 205 Degrees
Each cup got one cup (8oz of water poured though the SG for the seep)
Now.... I am NOT going to give a vivid detail 'cupping' of each cup as 
an individual, but rather, will point out characterists of that cup and 
how it DIFFERS from the other cup.  Im not judging each coffee per se, 
but trying to see if one can tell any differences  between the two.
Also... I am not Tom, I do not have years and years of experience under 
my belt grading coffee, I am but a mere peasent when it comes to the 
'quality' of the judgement, so with that, some of the terms I may use to 
describe what I am tasting, might be a little 'off' from what might be 
considered 'official', but ill try to be as accurate as possible.
Let's start shall we:
 Looks:  All the beans were brown and dry, no oils were present on any 
of the bean types.
Smell in container: All of them smelled the same when the container was 
opened with the exception of the vac container and the baggie.   The 
smell was the normal semi pungent co2 present smell which died down to 
the smell of the beans
The baggie now, I smelled that all week... I stored the coffee in my 
bedroom in one of my dresser drawers to keep it safe and out of the 
light and undisturbed.  Id wake up in the morning and have a faint smell 
of fresh roasted coffee waiting for me... not too entirely unpleasant a 
way to wake up. When the bag was opened up, the smell was there to greet 
me, no biting CO2 smell as im guessing it seeped out along with the 
fresh coffee smell. I will however say it was a 'duller' smell, not as 
full bodied as the sealed units.  Probably because it had time to 
breathe all week.
The vac container, once I pushed the button and broke the seal and let 
the air suck in I opened the lid,  the smell was a bit of the CO2 smell 
but of a much lesser degree, this smell quickly dissipated and there was 
really NO smell after that, wafting the beans trying to get a smell from 
didn't result in much.  Probably because of the rarified atmosphere in 
there in the first place.
All of the beans ground up evenly, and the smell of the beans after the 
grind was the same, with the exception of the vac container and the 
baggie. The smell in the vac contanier was a bit less at first, but 
after a few minutes you could smell it VERY well.  The baggie, was a 
weaker, kind of .... older smell, not bad mind you but weaker. 
The brew:
All the coffees brewed pretty much the same, and smelled Ohh so 
wonderfully the same as they were brewing.  None of them were remarkably 
different from the other smell wise during the brewing process
Taste / Post brew oddities
I tasted the coffees at 4 Temp ranges  
165--bordering mouth burn,  kind of hard to taste much over the 'hot',  
i picked this temp because this is pretty much what i had right after 
150, not as bad,  flavors are starting to show much better now
135 nice drinkable range,  full flavors coming out now
100-105 warm to warm/hot very drinkable approaching room temp, flavors 
changing remarkably from when hot.
165 Deg - All the coffee's tasted pretty much the same, you could smell 
the 'grounds' on the coffee, hinting at an impending bitter taste but it 
wasn't so... just starting to taste the fruitiness of the coffees.
150 Deg- The fruit flavor was full in all of the coffee's now. One note, 
the vaccuum stored coffee, appeared slightly more .. richer, deeper 
flavored than the rest, not as umm light.. .. It wasn't a bad taste just 
a bit more .. pronounced in the lower tones.  The difference wasn't 
much, just a little so nothing to really get worried over i'd say.
135 Degrees -  The coffee's all took on a much fuller body now, the 
flavor has changed ... matured... now that the coffee is cooling down.   
The minor differences between the vac pack and the rest are no longer 
tasteable, however the baggie coffee,... the taste is a bit less... I 
guess the word I am looking for is, just a tiny bit .. less flavor, less 
potent?.  Again, not much at all, but just a little bit. 
100-105 Degrees - the coffee is warm now, very drinkable though most 
folks would probably like it a bit hotter.  I took it down to this temp 
because some coffees can get truly nasty tasting when they get cool/cold 
and I wanted to see how these fared.  They are all very drinkable and 
the flavor is ... thicker now... the baggie coffee, you can't really 
taste any difference anymore, and the vac pack coffee, is the same as 
the rest of them.
Finishing notes
For the record, the coffee beans that were needed, were taken out of 
their respective containers, and the containers were immediately 
resealed / re vaccumed where applicable and put back into the storage area.
It must be noted that the SM's valve baggies are NOT airtight.  Gas can 
escape from them, and at equilibrium, it can seep both ways.  I tried to 
vaccuum one to test the seal and it lost the vaccuum in about 5 
minutes.  The problem is not the valve that I am seeing but the 'zip 
lock' zipper is not designed to be airtight.  These bags were designed 
to let air out, not hold a vaccuum, there IS a difference.  For our 
puropses they do just fine, but for long term storage, I anticipate that 
they are not going to really be much better than just a regular plastic 
zip lock baggie..... we shall see in a few more weeks here.
It appears that one week is really not enough time to see any remarkable 
differences between the storage methods (if any will turn up).  The 
following weeks should prove to be a bit more interesting as we start 
approaching what we believe is the acceptable 'shelf life' of fresh 
roasted coffee.
Hopefully this gives everyone a bit of useful information and Ill report 
back in next Sunday morning after having ..cough... several... cups of 
coffee to wake up to.
Until then, take care everyone.

2) From: Brett Mason
Aaron - you get a thousand CSA points for taking it to the next level
- and because everyone else on the list has been wondering the same
things about coffee storage.
Thanks - and please keep us posted!
On 2/12/06, Aaron  wrote:
ribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings<Snip>
Brett Mason
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

3) From: Randolph Wilson
I may be wrong, but I believe these bags were designed to be "hot 
sealed", and that the zip lock was just for "consumer use" after the 
hot seal was broken.  As evidence, notice the "tear notch" between 
the top of the bag and the "zip".
Anyway, thanks for the "research".  I look forward to your future testing.

4) From: David Echelbarger
Thanks for doing this Aaron.  Very interesting.

5) From: Aaron
Randolph I will try another to check but I did indeed hot seal one of 
these bags a few weeks ago with coffee in it just to see how it held 
up.... It leaked.  Now that does not mean it can't hold a good vaccuum.  
Maybe I messed up, maybe the bag was bad or had a tiny  hole in it 
(which would be bad duuh)  Ill do a few more and give them a try..

6) From: Frank Parth
This is great information. I love it when people actually try to compare different approaches to see what works. Please keep us posted on any differences long-term (not that any coffee I've roasted lives more than 2 or 3 days).
Frank Parth

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