HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Using CO2 to preserve freshness? (33 msgs / 752 lines)
1) From: Dan
I have a small CO2 duster (for photographic use) which I was going to use for blowing out my grinder. However, for the grinder, I found a bulb type blower that works much better.
I've been adding a squirt of CO2 to my Mason jars of roasted beans, but I really don't know if that is of any help in slowing staling. Does anyone have any experience/proof that this is beneficial or a waste of time? I do know when making wine we use a large CO2 tank to 'top' off the fermenting grapes and that is supposed to be beneficial.
I do think that when removing the beans, if one pours them, the CO2 will spill out. Maybe I'll put a match in a jar and see if it is extinguished or perhaps a canary.
Thanks
dan
PS
In my last post, (Sunbeam pot cooling via ice cubes) a reply wanted to get into whether ice is the same temperature, etc etc. I'm not interested in lectures/debates on physics; just want to get some practical information if there is any to be had and share information if there is any to share.
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2) From: David Martin
I think this topic has come up before. If I recall correctly, a common
point of view is that if you're consuming the beans within a couple of
weeks anyway, it probably doesn't make a difference.
It would be interesting to experiment with it though. You could seal a
jar w/ co2, and one without, leave for 2 weeks, then
brew/drink/compare. Then if no difference, repeat the experiment with
a 3 week period, etc.
-Dave
On Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 10:38 AM, Dan  wrote:
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3) From: Ryan M. Ward
"PS
In my last post, (Sunbeam pot cooling via ice cubes) a reply wanted to get into whether ice is the same temperature, etc etc. I'm not interested in lectures/debates on physics; just want to get some practical information if there is any to be had and share information if there is any to share."
Do you mean: "If you pick up two different ice cube and measure their temperatures, will they have the same reading"?
 
The answer is no. The melting point of ice is 0 degrees Celsius(the role pressure plays on freezing is small, compared with vaporization, so we can for the most part ignore it). But ice cubes can take on any temperature below 0 degrees Celsius all the way down to approaching absolute zero (-273.15 degrees Celsius, the theoretically lowest temperature possible in the universe).
Does this address the question?
-- 
Ryan M. Ward
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4) From: Yakster
I ran across an oxygen absorber packet (like a desiccant packet for
moisture) in a can of wasabi peas that sequesters oxygen using iron in the
package and from the investigation I did some if not all packets would also
absorb CO2.  They reduce the pressure inside the sealed container.  They've
become common for storing emergency supplies for periods up to five years.
It made me curious what effect it would have on coffee beans, but probably
not useful for storing beans for just a couple of weeks.
-Chris
On Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 4:50 PM, David Martin wrote:
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5) From: Sam49
On 4/14/2010 8:53 PM, Ryan M. Ward wrote:
<Snip>
Actually, the answer is not a definitive "NO."  The answer is "not 
necessarily, they could be different or the same depending on the 
source."  If the two ice cubes come out of the same freezer, or if you 
get two pieces of ice from your yard after a freezing rain, the 
temperatures of the pieces from the same source are almost certainly 
going to be close to identical, if not identical.  It would be a safe 
bet that every piece of ice in my freezer is currently the same 
temperature as it has not been opened in over 18 hours.  But if it is 
much colder outside than in your freezer, then the ice from outside 
would be colder.  It all depends on the temperature of the place from 
where you retrieved the ice.
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6) From: Phil Palmintere
<Snip>
Two ice cubes that come out of the same freezer AT THE SAME TIME are likely
to have the same or almost the same temperature.  I agree.  It is a
probabilistic argument, not empirical.  The issue is repeatability from one
day to the next; there I respectfully disagree.
However, one ice cube taken from the freezer on Monday and one taken from
the freezer on Friday are very likely to have substantially different
temperatures, even if the freezer door had remained closed the prior 24
hours. Most modern freezers are frost-free.  The mechanism for making the
freezer frost free is that every 6 hours or so (it is on a timer that you
cannot adjust) the freezer actually heats up to above 32 degrees F, melting
the "frost" in the "frost free" freezer.  So one day the ice cube might be,
say, 28 degrees F and the next day it might be -10 degrees F.  It all
depends on when you got to the ice relative to its freeze/thaw cycle.  Of
course, if you do not have a frost-free freezer, the above argument doesn't
apply.
But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter.  The energy absorbed by the
state change from solid to liquid swamps the energy absorbed from a variable
starting point up to 32 degrees F.
Again, these are probabilistic arguments rather than empirical ones, and I
prefer empirical ones.
Actually, I prefer my coffee this morning.  Brazil Cerrado DP Fazenda Aurea,
roasted past 1st but not into yet into 2nd crack.
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7) From: John Borella
 The timer triggers a heat cycle that heats wires in the cooling unit 
removing frost. If the entire freezer heated to above 32* every 6 hours or 
even once your food would be ruined in no time. I have two Frost Free 
freezers running, both with thermometers inside so I can monitor the temp. 
Temp is set to -5*F & whenever I open the door the temp is always between 
0*F & -5*F.
John B.

8) From: Mike Koenig
Dan,
Don't bother with the CO2 duster..  If you want to purge all the oxygen out
of a mason jar, you will need a LOT of purging, and will probably require
the entire volume of your duster (or more).  The only way to totally exclude
oxygen is to pull a high vacuum on the jar, and then fill it with your
desired gas (even this will take several purge and fill cycles to remove all
oxygen).
I know I've ranted on this topic before (so apologies to the list if you are
sick of it), but gases are funny things, and because we generally can't see
them, it's hard to visualize their behavior.  They don't behave the way
liquids do.  Two gases will rapidly mix together (even if one is heavier
than the other).  You will never get the "oil and water" situation by mixing
two gases in a container,  and even if you have a jar COMPLETELY purged of
oxygen (which is impossible without a vacuum pump), the first time you open
it, no matter how careful you are, you WILL introduce oxygen.  The effort to
maintain a low-oxygen environment for storing coffee would far exceed the
efforts we expend roasting, for little benefit. (in my not-so-humble
opinion)
If you don't believe my logic, then consider that if it were not true, you
would not be alive, because all the heavier gases in the atmosphere would
collect at ground level (CO2, Argon, etc, and the oxygen would go up to
higher altitudes.
Bottom line--drink your coffee within two weeks, and don't worry about it.
(I also have a theory that oxygen is a necessary part of the "resting"
process, and that staling and resting are just the progression of similar
reactions,  but I've never wanted to waste coffee trying this out. If anyone
has done any experiments comparing coffee rested in a nearly oxygen free
environment, with coffee rested the normal way, I'd be curious)
--mike
On Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 1:38 PM, Dan  wrote:
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9) From: Joseph Robertson
I have the same theory Mike but I'm too busy drinkin and enjoying to do
anymore than think about it. So I'm thinking while grinding and dreaming of
my first taste. In fact so is my first taste bud, he has tipped off all the
rest and now I'm joanzing bad. I can't even spell jonzing right.
Joe
On Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 6:56 AM, Mike Koenig  wrote:
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10) From: raymanowen
Your arguments beg credulity in the following respects, sir:
   - The return on effort of purging is great, although you assume purging
   is the optimal procedure. There is no necessity of excluding every O2
   molecule from the vicinity of the HC coffee beans, Some were already engaged
   in assignation with the beans and oils of your coffee before purging.
          The effect of the 20% atmospheric concentration of O2 molecules
proportionally reduces O2 by the purge, however ineffective it may be.
Better than no reduction at all.
   - The O2 displacement by the more dense CO2 molecules in a closed
   environment further reduces oxidation, unless the jar has built-in jet
   streams or meteorological convection currents like the planet has.  Same
   magic runs windmills...
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
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11) From: Mike Koenig
 Best to stay out of your basement then... no wind to disrupt the CO2 you
exhale, so it will all slide down into your basement, and you may have some
trouble breathing down there.
All theory aside,  I'm getting more and more curious about this, and I'm
thinking of an experiment (not that I'm motivated enough to run it).  I'm
thinking that putting some coffee in a jar with a nice size chunk of dry
ice, and pulling a vacuum will result in a jar that's nearly oxygen free.
Using the same batch of coffee, comparing an open container, a jar that's
been capped loosely, a jar like I just described with dry ice after a
certain period of rest, would put this issue to bed.
Anyone have a setup that can pull a vacuum on mason jars?
--mike
  - The O2 displacement by the more dense CO2 molecules in a closed
  environment further reduces oxidation, unless the jar has built-in jet
  streams or meteorological convection currents like the planet has.  Same
  magic runs windmills...
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12) From: Barry Luterman
How would you keep the beans from freezing?
On Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 10:21 AM, Mike Koenig  wrote:
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13) From: Wally Merrin
On Apr 17, 2010, at 1:21 PM, Mike Koenig wrote:
<Snip>
Yes, they are a standard attachment for Food Saver style vacuum  
sealers.  They are a cap sort of thing that fits over the jar lid/jar  
and pulls the vacuum.  I believe at least one person on this list has  
mentioned storing green beans this way.
There's another way; I believe someone on the list mentioned it awhile  
back.  Oxygen absorber packets are readily available; they are used in  
packing food for long-term storage and will pull a partial vacuum  
reasonably quickly.  These packets use up most, if not all, of the  
free oxygen in a container by oxidizing the material in the packet.   
Typically, it rusts an iron compound, which removes the O2 from the  
container atmosphere.  This leaves a reduced pressure, mostly inert,  
mostly nitrogen atmosphere.
Wally
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14) From: Yakster
Putting dry ice in a sealed container is a recipe for disaster.  A popular
trick is to put a chunk of dry ice in a 1 liter pop (PET) bottle and when
the dry ice sublimates, the bottle explodes.  This could be disastrous in
glass.
As for sealing mason jars, I picked up one of those foodsaver attachments
and pull a vacuum on my greens stored in jars, real handy.  I'd though of
trying the oxygen absorber packets I mentioned earlier, they actually pull a
vacuum too, but I normally use my roasted within 14 days and am currently
pinching pennies, but if you try this, let us know.
-Chris
On Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 1:21 PM, Mike Koenig  wrote:
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15) From: Ed Needham
I'm curious why it is such an issue for preserving the beans?  We are 
homeroasters.  We have absolutely the freshest beans in the world.  We can 
roast any time we want.  There's no need to preserve our beans. 
Roast--use--repeat.  On that rare occasion where you have more beans than 
you can use in two weeks, freeze them in a sealed glass jar or a thick mylar 
zip-loc coffee bag.  They will be as good as when you put them in there 
several weeks from when you froze them.
*********************
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

16) From: Mike Koenig
Actually, my proposed experiment has little to do with preserving coffee
(though it has the side effect of putting to bed the debate of whether
various storage methods are worth their effort) and more to do with
developing an understanding of what goes on during the rest period.  My (as
yet untested) hypothesis is that oxygen is necessary for some of the flavor
development that goes on during the rest, and that taking steps to exclude
oxygen may delay staling, but also slow the flavor development process that
most of us observe during the "rest" period.
--mike
On Sun, Apr 18, 2010 at 11:02 PM, Ed Needham  wrote:
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17) From: miKe mcKoffee
In the context of "does oxygen need to be present for flavor development
during rest" this has indeed been tested. Tested and discussed many times!
Search the Homeroast List archives. Specifically vac' sealing in mason jars
with dome lids directly after cooling. Also heat sealing mylar valve bag
then vac sealing. Also vac sealing in Foodsaver bag. Oxygen need not be
present for flavor development. At least not present in any substantial
amount since vac sealing does not evacuated 100% of the oxygen.
O2 scrubbers also tested for prolonging freshness longevity, total bust. 
For years all my home roasts went directly into mason jars and vac sealed.
Also quit the practice years ago. Ed nailed the why. The only time I now vac
seal a roast is if it's some special bean that's no longer available I want
to have around for a goodly time. Then it's vac sealed and frozen after
resting 5 to 7 days. Still drinking quite excellent Panama Esmeralda now and
then from my last roast Dec '09, said roast of greens that had been vac
sealed and frozen a good 6 months. 
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18) From: Ed Needham
For the record, coffee sealed in an airtight or loosely tight container will 
be much worse at 30+ days than coffee beans left to the open air.  Those 
stored will have rancid smell and nasty taste, where those left to open air 
will be stale and lifeless, but the taste will be tolerable.  Definitely not 
a goal for homeroasters, but interesting on it's own.
*********************
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

19) From: Joseph Robertson
Ed,
Do you think that is because of so much contact with Co2 compared to no time
with gas contact?
Joe
On Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 5:31 AM, Ed Needham  wrote:
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20) From: Ed Needham
Although CO2 and oxygen are both involved in the staling process of roasted 
coffee, there are also many other reactions, too numerous to detail, and 
many that are undocumented, that enter into the process.  Suffice to say, 
roasted coffee changes over time.  Some of those changes are regarded as 
positive by some, and negative for others.  I like coffee fresh from the 
roaster.  Others like to rest beans for weeks.  Whatever you call it, it is 
a staling process that includes oxidation, vaporization of volatile oils, 
evaporation of flavonoids and aromas, chemical leeching, probably acids and 
bases combining, oils turning rancid, and  who knows what else.
Removing oxygen by replacing it with nitrogen or CO2 only removes one part 
of the staling process.  Roasted beans have been shipped in nitrogen flushed 
Mylar bags since the '70's.  I know this to be true because White Coffee 
Company in Long Island City shipped beans to my coffeehouse business in the 
late '70's in Mylar bags flushed with nitrogen. I really believe that the 
most complete way to delay the staling process is to freeze the roasted 
beans at 0F or colder.
*********************
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

21) From: Ed Needham
Vac sealing and freezing at 0F or below will preserve roasted beans for 
quite some time.  Spot on, Mike.
*********************
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

22) From: Joseph Robertson
Ed,
do you know of any staling tests regarding the removal of all gasses? True
Vacume (bad speller) packed? I guess that is not possible because of the
gassing off process? Did I already answer my own question?
I know miKe M. likes to vacume pack then freeze his greens in special cases.
Joe
On Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 9:49 PM, Ed Needham  wrote:
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23) From: Ryan M. Ward
Anybody consider trying to use Helium instead of CO2? Helium is a noble gas and wont react with the chemicals in the coffee.
-- 
Ryan M. Ward
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24) From: raymanowen
"...coffee sealed in an airtight or loosely tight container will be much
worse at 30+ days than coffee beans left to the open air."
I know a little more about coffee after its birth in a roaster- finding it,
anywhere, more than two weeks later is unlikely.  Except some Africans, that
really "wake up" about that time.
Why fresh roast then seek ways to archive the beans and reinvent the wheel
to see if you can outsmart Foulgers? One of the misteaks not made by the *$
bar hacks is to find out if excess roasting can be offset by excess storage.
(Offsetting Double Negatives?)
Why a nasty term like 'bar hacks?' For the same reason I'm still looking for
the 3rd Black Jack sour on this planet to equal the first one, at the
Coconut Grove at Clark Air Base, about '69. I sure haven't found any flavor
advantage in the stuff served by the Schei Meisters serving espresso.
After my experiences, I couldn't believe anybody seriously enjoyed
espresso.  Rong!
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
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25) From: Ed Needham
...but it makes the beans talk funny when you brew.
*********************
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

26) From: raymanowen
"...use Helium instead of CO2?
Helium is a noble gas and wont react"
It wouldn't have a chance- the evolving CO2 molecules would displace the
light He2 molecules to the penthouse.
As everybody has probably figured out by now, the CO2 concentration does not
increase in lower levels of a home, for the reason that the place is either
heated or cooled, depending on the season.  The air mass is never stagnant
The very dense Radon gas (Rn) does accumulate in the bottom levels of
"green" sealed homes. Requires expensive mitigation, but people in the lower
levels of modern green buildings appreciate the efforts. The radium (Ra)
daughters have very short half-lives, <4 days for the Rn-222 isotope.
Rn gas is not reactive, but the disintegration produces ionizing radiation.
Could be a preservative, but would produce radioactive coffee!
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
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27) From: Joseph Robertson
Thanks for that RayO,
My Chemistry and especially my gas education did not get much past O2,Co2,
and the exhaust from my '57 chev.
Roasting coffee has sparked my interest immensely.
JoeR
On Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 11:25 PM,  wrote:
<Snip>
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28) From: Allon Stern
On Apr 21, 2010, at 1:11 AM, Ryan M. Ward wrote:
<Snip>
This is true, but
1) as Ray pointed out, the evolving CO2 will displace the helium
2) It isn't just the chemicals in the coffee reacting with the ambient oxygen that stales the coffee - it's the chemicals in the coffee reacting with the OTHER chemicals in the coffee.
Your best bet is slowing down those reactions; you can't practically separate out all the chemicals from each other without filing tons of patents, and using the technology to extract coffee flavors, then reconstitute them, and produce a dreadful product that you could probably sell to the masses and make millions on.
-
allon
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29) From: Joseph Robertson
This is exactly why I spend more time drinking it than I do trying to figure
out how to keep it longer or slow anything down. All this research has been
done for us years ago. Now I roast only enough to cover my fix for the short
term.
JR
On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 3:11 AM, Allon Stern  wrote:
<Snip>
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30) From: Ryan M. Ward
Ah, I see. Well it was a fun idea while it lasted.
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Ryan M. Ward
*Note: This email was sent from a computer running Ubuntu Linux 9.10 (Karmic Koala)http://www.ubuntu.com**Note: This signature was placed here by me and is not automatically-generated-annoying-end-of-email-spam placed here by anyone other than myself. I am a Linux nut and am doing my part to support open source software and the Linux and Ubuntu communities by getting the word out with each email I send, I encourage you to do the same.
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31) From: Ryan M. Ward
Hey, roasting is fun. Chemistry is fun too, but personally, I would rather roast every couple of days. 
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32) From: Joseph Robertson
I'm on your Page with this Ryan.
Joe
On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 2:16 PM, Ryan M. Ward
wrote:
<Snip>
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33) From: raymanowen
Error- at STP, " the light He2 molecules" don't exist. Only the lighter He
atoms. Tough to proofread your own errors. -ro
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Persist in old ways; expect new results - suborn Insanity...
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