It's been a month now and yes there are still some beans left.
Four weeks, this will be the true test here I bet.
Let's start perkin and a pourin but no snorin.
In recap - the containers used were
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.
It was determined around week 2 that the sealed mason jar and the closed
container are BOTH airtight, and are exhibiting almost identical
characteristics. With this, while I will still test each as an
individual, I will not comment on both each step unless there is
something different about the two.
They all looked still, pretty much the same with the zip lock baggie
showing a bit of oil sheen on the bean. 4 weeks to oil, not too bad.
Smell in storage container:
vac - the vac container, this time once i popped the seal, the smell
came back to the beans fairly quickly. Of the entire bunch, the vac was
the only one that really had much of an aroma left to them. The aroma
took on that 'beefy' smell I mentioned in the previous weeks.
sealed - had a bit of an aroma to it but it quickly dissipated once the
lid was opened. The smell that was there was subdued, and not as 'wow'
as the coffee used to be.
valve - very little aroma to speak of.
zip - had to pretty much almost stick the beans up my nose (nope didn't
go that far, not even for science!!) to smell anything in them. what
aroma there was, was stale, old grease smell hints to it.
Grind - they all ground up the same, and i will describe the smells
right after grinding.
vac - had a fairly decent smell to it still of the lot, had the most
'body' still to the smell
sealed, and valve had a bit of aroma when ground - had that beefy
overtone to it
zip - had very little aroma when ground even.
vac - Now the vac sealed still had a full bodied aroma when brewing, the
aroma is taking on the 'beefiness' of before but still is very full.
sealed - Not much aroma, kind of a 'subdued' beef, but waning, like it's
valve - same as sealed really at this point
zip - the coffee brewing didn't really smell like the flavors of the
above but the brewing smelled more like 'coffee grounds' ie bitter,
165 - Hot, duuh.... right off the swiss golds I did a small 'two blow
vac - The vac coffee suprisingly has a very good flavor yet. It is
definately hinted with the 'beef' maybe we should call it the 'beef of
ages' flavor. the coffee is also taking on that 'silky or creamy'
texture significantly that I mentioned in the previous weeks. The coffee
has a very nice full body to it as well.
sealed - the coffee has a bit of flavor, the silky has pretty much gone
away and given way to, thinner flavor, thinner body, and that 'acid' or
'tart'?? taste is starting to come in like it did last week for the zip.
valve - is nearly identical to the sealed container in taste..
zip - the coffee has a thin taste to it, and has that 'acidy', or
'old' brewed taste to it.... no silkiness to it, flavor is duller
vac - the coffee is developing a flavor now, the silkiness is almost
gone and being replaced by 'beefy' but the beef flavor is not bad,
overwhelming, and you can still taste a bit of the original flavors.
again, not too terribly bad.
sealed - the coffee has thinned down, the flavor is getting a bit of an
acid 'bite' to it, with the beefy aftertaste. there's a kind of
aftertaste developing im trying to think of how to describe.
valve - the coffee is pretty much like the sealed, except that the
flavor is a bit 'less' overall of the entire coffee, and the 'bite' is a
zip -- the coffee really does not have much flavor at all. It's smooth
on the tongue, but there is not really much flavor, but a definate
aftertaste that is not what one would consider an 'asset' to the taste
of coffee... kind of metallic like tasting....
vac - the coffee has pretty much developed into all that it is going
to be here....to be honest, i liked it when it was hotter. Normally I
like my coffee's best in this range because they are a nice 'tolerable'
temp to drink without baby sipping it, and the flavors have well
developed. The flavor is getting thinner, the creamy texture is still
there, but there is nothing really 'wow' about this coffee anymore.
It's not bitter or anything, but, just.. unexceptional.
sealed - the coffee is thin and the taste is weakening. that acid
'bite' is in the cup, and the beefy aftertaste is kind of playing tag
team with the bite.. it's almost like they are complimenting each
other.... only the combined flavor is NOT a compliment to the coffee.
valve - the same as the sealed only the flavor of 'bite' is a bit
zip - the flavor is pretty much gone from this coffee, the cup taste
like that acid indegestion stuff you will find at any local stop and rob
convenience store that serves the 'millstone' or some of the what they
consider to be 'premium blends'..... that metallic taste is very
prevalent.... it's not quite metallic but odd.. You ever bite your
tongue, or bite your lip or cheek or had a tooth that bled and you got
that coppery sort of after taste in your mouth from the blood after you
rinsed it out? Not trying to gross anyone out but that aftertaste, that
coppery like taste is what the aftertaste of this coffee is sort of like.
vac - the cup of coffee is nearly at room temp now.... it's warm...it
has a silky texture, the 'beef bite' has suprisingly disappeared, there
is a bit of flavor in the cup, but it is more full bodied (thicker
tasting if that makes sense), and actually, not bad. The hints at a
'bite' at the end are all but gone. Oddly enough, by my peasant's
tastes, this cup has improved with cooling at this stage..... it's
actually not bad again...
sealed, and valve - the coffee is thin tasting, and the beef taste is
there with the 'bite' in it... it isn't picking up the 'coppery' taste
as the ziplock baggy has but has definately degraded in flavor. the
'texture' smoothed out a bit which is helping make this 'bite' in the
cup a bit more tolerable and less intrusive to the tonsils (sorry, had
to throw in a cheap metaphor there :) There's a hint of possibly the
start of 'old oil or ransid starting up. Not a lot but there are
hints starting to show.
zip - the flavor has not changed much from above.... umm, in search
of a word here..... cooling kind of .. '' thickened'' the aftertaste??
At this point, the coffee while is not horrid like certain 'canned'
stuff we could buy, isn't much above the par of the 'special' stuff one
could get at the places that sell the 'good stuff'...... It taste stale
and overbrewed, like it sat on a burner for several hours to stay hot..
there is a bitterness, kind of like a coffee ground flavoring that is
getting stronger as well..
post brew oddities.
All of the coffee's 'plumed' in the cup when I put them through the
swiss gold, however the ziplock was barely noticeable, and with the
exception of the vac coffee, the plumes were less bodied.
Interestingly enough, the Vac stored coffee, retained the most flavor
out of the batch, yet I was almost half a gram short when I brewed it up
because I ran out of beans. I was expecting it to be a bit 'weaker'
than the rest because of the small deficiency in the amount of beans but
it turned out exactly the opposite. This leads me to think that it
might be possible, with some of the other stored types, to bring back
some of the missing 'flavors'... if you want to call them that, by
brewing it a little stronger with more grounds than normal as it ages.
That might compensate possibly, I honestly do not know though as I
haven't tried that.
Things I learned:
First thing I learned is. 4 to 5 cups of coffee on an empty stomach
first thing in the morning is a GREAT motivator to do the things you
need to do around the place... things like, dishes, laundry, cleaning
etc etc... the lizards got their weekly 'splash in the bath tub' so
enjoyed the coffee experimentation as well.
All coffees WILL age, and as we have seen through the various methods,
while we may be able to slow the process down, we will not really
significantly alter or change it. Actually as I dig through my old
notes and all, it seems that the coffees all pretty much went through
the same stages - phases as they aged, and all we did was just lengthen
the time it took to get to 'that certain stage'.
It appears that Vaccum sealing the beans is the method that works best
for prolonging the coffee's 'shelf life'. Is this for everyone? Does
this mean that folks should run right out and buy a $100+ dollar vaccum
sealer now? No, not really. If you drink enough coffee that it only
lasts a week or so in your residence, then why spend all the extra money
to 'put it up' to last 4 weeks when it will be gone in 1? The flip side
to this might be for example, If you have a favorite coffee that tastes
it's absolute best if it is drank within 4 days of roasting, but the way
you roast .vs. your consumption, it lasts a week and 4 days, then you
might want to consider a vac sealer to help prolong the time the coffee
stays at that 'sweet spot'. Of course if your coffee's sit around a few
weeks before being all gone, a vac sealer might benefit you as well.
After Vac sealing, we find that Mason Jars or any container that you can
get an airtight lid on work second best. These will keep the coffee for
up to 2 - 3 weeks before it significantly changes in flavor. This is
probably the most economical and feasable method to keep your coffee
One point that was brought up in week two I think it was is.. Is there a
difference between storing the coffee in a glass container (mason jar)
and a plastic sealable (tupperware, rubbermaid etc). I think one of the
concerns was about the oils, and /or the plastic affecting the taste. I
did a little side experiment a few weeks ago which I just finished
today. I roasted up a batch of coffee a bit on the dark side, so that
it would oil, and stored it in a glass mason jar and a plastic container
that was sealable. After two weeks I did not notice any noticeable
difference in the taste of the coffee's in each container. Both
containers were then soaked in nice hot soapy water for about an hour
and washed / scrubbed out like I would do with any other eating
utensil. At this point I dried both of them and sealed them back up and
let them set for 24 hours. I did this so that if there were any
residual oils left (ie did the oil react with or soak into the plastic)
I would hopefully smell some 'coffee' in the thing when I opened it back
up. I did not notice any adverse affects on the plastic. With this I
will have to say, I don't really think there is a difference in which
method you choose to store your coffee as long as it is sealed. The
only thing I can think of that might sway use of one over the other is
safety. You drop plastic it bounces, you drop a mason jar you
potentially have a mess to clean up now.
Coming in 3rd was the valve lock bags such as the ones that Sweet
Maria's sells. These bags are NOT airtight. The 'theory' behind them
is, you can squeeze air out of them, but it won't let the air back in.
In other words they are good for gassing out. These bags seemed good
for about 1 to 2 weeks for storing beans before the flavor was
significantly affected. After playing with these and just a zip lock
baggie, and comparing the differences between these two, and then a
mason jar. I am going to take a shot and say that 'air' or 'oxidation'
of the beans plays a major role in their 'aging process'. If we can
keep the air out / or at least 'new fresh' air out, then the process
slows down. Valve baggies will let some air back in, but they won't '
breathe' like a ziplock will. The main failing of these bags is, you
guessed it, the ziplock zipper on top of it. The plastic walls of this
bag is much thicker than your standard ziplock bag so it wont allow air
in that way but the zipper is not airtight. There is airflow through
one of these but it is much less than with a normal run of the mill
ziplock baggie. The valve lock just makes it easier to 'burp out' the
bag when resealing it.... I would safely assume that if ziplock made
bags that were of the same plastic and thickness of the walls, it'd do a
similar job.. just squeezing the air out of it when sealing it would be
a bit more tedious.
Coming in last was the ziplock baggie. These were good for about a week
before the coffee started to alter significantly. The air got to the
beans, and while it made the place 'smell good' with a wonderful roasted
coffee smell... one has to remember that if the smell can get out... so
can the freshness.
Well this about wraps up this little experiment as to which storage
method is best. Each has it's own advantages and disadvantages, and
while one method might be better for some, might be overkill for others.
Overall though, this is just a rough guideline, with no 'real'
scientific background to it. I tried to control as many variables as
possible to keep the results as realistic as I could but ultimately, the
best judge to any experimentation with coffee is you. Does it taste
good to you, if so then it was a success. Face it, some people actually
like stale coffee.