HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Aging Beans (15 msgs / 341 lines)
1) From: Me Myself and I
Does anybody know any specifics about aging beans? 
Relative humidity, temperature, time?
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2) From: dewardh
<Snip>
Relative humidity, temperature, time?
Humidity high, but not so high as to get condensation with temperature change .
. . around 80% (or higher).  Beans that "dry out" will not "age".
Temperature (relatively) high, around 90F (+), and constant enough to avoid
condensation.
Traditional aging takes from six months to several years . . . I find no reports
of "accelerated" aging (perhaps at higher temperature?), though surely someone
has tried .
"Aging", as opposed to "getting old", involves specific chemical changes in the
beans that are in some ways like "slow roasting".  Much of the browning of aged
beans comes from the same Maillard reaction that occurs during roasting (except
that in aging it's enzyme catalyzed instead of thermally initiated).
Lots of things can go wrong, though . . . most particularly moulds and
"unintended" fermentations.  Rapidly changing temperatures bring disaster . . .
cool beans and hot, humid air guarantee condensation, which then guarantees
mould.  In traditional aging the sacks are turned frequently, even daily, to
insure uniformity and prevent mould.
Deward

3) From: jim gundlach
On Saturday, July 19, 2003, at 02:05  AM, dewardh wrote:
<Snip>
Or more precisely, beans that have dried out too much will not "age".  
The odds are that any beans we get have already crossed the dried out 
threshold and any attempt to "age" them will simply produce old beans.
I love aged coffee and have looked into trying to do it but I have 
concluded that the only way to do it is to move to a coffee growing 
area.
Jim Gundlach

4) From: Oaxaca Charlie
 Aren't the beans aged in parchment?
 C
--- dewardh  wrote:
<Snip>http://www.sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html=====
Brick Oven Roasting in British Columbia
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5) From: dewardh
Charlie:
<Snip>
That's a surprisingly difficult question to answer (from the literature).
"aged" and "aging" are not even indexed in "All About Coffee", although there is
a brief mention of the process in the "Sumatra" section.  I find no hint
anywhere of "post aging processing", and so have to assume that the parchment is
removed prior to aging.
Deward

6) From: Oaxaca Charlie
--- dewardh  wrote:
<Snip>
 
Well, I wonder. I've seen green beans turn white within weeks
when stored in a hot, humid place, but when kept in the same
location in parchment they pass through the rainy season and
months more, then shell out beautifull, even better than if
milled freshly dried. I'm almost sure that the Indian monsooned
coffee is kept in parchment, but the other aged coffees I
haven't found any info on at all. There definately should be
some post aging processing in any case, just grading out
stinkers and such.
  Charlie
=====
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7) From: Barry Jarrett
7/19/03 4:17:08 PM, "dewardh"  wrote:
 >Charlie:
 >
 >> Aren't the beans aged in parchment?
 >
 >That's a surprisingly difficult question to answer (from the literature).
 >"aged" and "aging" are not even indexed in "All About Coffee", although there is
 >a brief mention of the process in the "Sumatra" section.  I find no hint
 >anywhere of "post aging processing", and so have to assume that the parchment is
 >removed prior to aging.
parchment is a very good bean protector, and much coffee is held in parchment until just prior to final sort & shipment.  my 
assumption would be that aged coffee *is* aged in pergamino.

8) From: dewardh
Barry:
<Snip>
You may well be correct . . . I have found some references (one below) on the
web that suggest so.  But I also found two that say that the coffee is aged
without parchment.  I find nothing in any of the coffee books that I have that
say, one way or the other.  
This article discusses spoilage issues and implies leaving the parchment on:http://ceventura.ucdavis.edu/Agriculture265/Coffee.htmAnd this one is quite explicit (see item 7) that the aging is done *after* the">http://www.coffee.20m.com/MICROBL3.htmWhile this one says after removal:http://ceventura.ucdavis.edu/Agriculture265/Coffee.htmAnd this one is quite explicit (see item 7) that the aging is done *after* the
parchment is milled:http://www.badgettcoffee.com/issue12.htmlIt may well be done *both* ways, depending on who and where.  If you'll pay the
air fare I'll go to Sumatra and see  . . .
Deward

9) From: Me Myself and I
I work in a bakery, okay, okay, I work in a Cinnamon
Roll place.  They've got a nice piece of equipment
known as a proofer, or a proof box.  It's used to
accelerate the rising process of the dough.  At any
rate it has adjustable temperature and humidity.  The
one I use has a digital readout for temp, none for RH.
 Although I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find that
option.  One could always fiddle with the knobs to get
the highest setting possible without causing
condensation, although being able to control each
variable at differant stages through the process may
yield some benefit.  Unfortunately my passion far
exceeds my budget, and if I had a few extra grand I
would upgrade some of my other systems first.  As for
undried greens... Aloha!
Doug S.
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10) From: Barry Jarrett
At 07:27 PM 7/19/03 -0700, you wrote:
 >And this one is quite explicit (see item 7) that the aging is done
*after* the
 >parchment is milled:
 >
 >http://www.badgettcoffee.com/issue12.htmlbadgett's can be a fun read, but i wouldn't quote it as an authority....

11) From: Barry Jarrett
At 08:44 PM 7/19/03 -0700, you wrote:
<Snip>
i've got an oven/proofer combo in my basement that's available for not much
$$.

12) From: dewardh
Barry:
<Snip>
Well, who is?  And in any case badgett credits "Armeno Coffee Roasters Ltd." for
the article in question, wherever *they* stand in the "authority" hierarchy.
I've no idea where the UC Davis paper stands, either, since there are no
citations, and the author is clearly more concerned with botany than with
processing.
And Calvert (where does he fit in the "authority" hierarchy?) notes "the only
way to preserve [green] coffee for as long as possible is to keep it in
parchment form.   Once coffee is hulled and more particularly polished,  the
aging process . . . is inevitable".  But if the *goal* is to "age" the coffee,
and if "time is money", then aging after milling *may* be a way to get there
faster . . .  
Do *you* know?  Got "authoritative" sources?
Deward

13) From: David Westebbe
<Snip>
I can vouch for the quality of their beans and their skill at roasting, but
I have no opinion as to their research skills.

14) From: Barry Jarrett
At 12:47 AM 7/20/03 -0700, you wrote:
 >And Calvert (where does he fit in the "authority" hierarchy?) notes "the
only
 >way to preserve [green] coffee for as long as possible is to keep it in
 >parchment form.   Once coffee is hulled and more particularly polished,  the
 >aging process . . . is inevitable".  But if the *goal* is to "age" the
coffee,
 >and if "time is money", then aging after milling *may* be a way to get there
 >faster . . .  
i think you're talking two different definitions of "aging" in this
paragraph.  i'm not sure the aging you're after can be hurried along, as it
involves a fair amount of internal changes.  as such, it would seem storage
in parchment would be better overall.
 >Do *you* know? 
nope.

15) From: dewardh
Barry:
<Snip>
i'm not sure the aging you're after can be hurried along, as it involves a fair
amount of internal changes.
There is certainly ample ambiguity in all the discussion of aging that I have
found.  Some things do *seem* clear (or at least commonly agreed upon).
1) coffee stored at 70F or below and at or below 12% moisture content does not
"age", it only "gets old";
2) "beneficial aging" is accomplished at temperatures around 90F or above and
where bean moisture content is at least 12%, or above (a high atmospheric
humidity is necessary to keep the beans from over-drying);
3) there may be a "fermentation" (bacterial or fungal) component to the aging
process, which might differ from local to local (the constant stirring often
referenced in discussion of rapid (single season) aging, as in "monsooning", not
only keeps bean temperature and humidity more uniform, but insures uniform
inoculation of all the bean mass);
4) these processes may be slowed, for better or for worse, by leaving the beans
"in parchment".
The aged beans that I have bought from SweetMaria's have a "rough" look about
them that I have difficulty associating with recent milling.  On the other hand,
the aging process (including the constant turning) itself might sufficiently
loosen the parchment that it could be removed in a simple air separator, if it
was present at the start of aging.  If there is post-aging milling done to the
beans so far no-one is copping to it .  And apart from obviously white or
obviously black beans I don't know exactly what to look for when picking out
"stinkers" . . . almost none of the beans in an aged batch would pass if you
mixed them with a fresh-crop Kona .
The time involved, and all the uncertainties of process, suggests to me that
"home coffee aging" is *not* the "next big thing" in this "hobby" .
Deward


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