While forming our business model, we received a lot of questions about how shipping coffee from Colombia to the United States might affect its freshness. It’s a fair question, and we’re here to give you the answers!
What Happens After Roasting
Freshly roasted coffee goes through a natural aging process just like any other food product. For up to two weeks after roasting coffee beans, they expel CO2 gas in a process that’s referred to as “degassing.” What exactly happens during degassing?
Gas from the roasting process slowly exit the beans and make them softer, more permeable. Degassing actually aids in the extraction process when you go to brew your coffee, as sufficiently degassed beans are easier to extract from. A coffee that hasn’t been degassed will be less permeable and therefore hold a different taste upon brewing.
While it varies from coffee to coffee, degassing can take anywhere from 2 to 12 days before a coffee is primed and ready for brewing. However, experts in the coffee industry state that the optimal extraction period is anywhere from 2-4 weeks after the roasting, with minimal taste difference for up to 6 weeks.
The Effects of Degassing During Shipment
While various companies around the world import, export, and ship coffee to customers in different ways (ground, air, etc.), little research exists on the effects of shipping on the taste and quality of coffee.
While it might be assumed that the change in air pressure present during air shipping would lead to a quicker and exaggerated degassing process, there’s not much evidence to corroborate that claim. It seems that the key is in storage during the shipping process along with the right type of grind and dosage during the extraction process. Like with any coffee brew, the ultimate taste can depend on how you brew it and through which method.
How to Preserve Freshness
To preserve the freshness and flavor of your coffee, store it in a container with a one-way valve. The idea is that the CO2 can escape without letting oxygen in to affect quality and taste. All coffee exported from Colombia is required to be shipped in bags with a one-way valve, allowing it to preserve freshness during the degassing process.
Coffee freshness is also affected by air, moisture, sunlight and heat. And, as mentioned above, coffee is porous, which means it absorbs the air around it. Because of this, it’s important to store it in a dark place with a moderate temperature. That’s right, the whole “storing coffee in the fridge helps is last longer” idea is a myth. The cold environment provides too much moisture for the coffee and the aromas from other foods can seep into the coffee, affecting taste in a major way.
Roasted Tales is constantly investigating past and current research in all areas of coffee cultivation, exportation, and consumption. However, the topic of shipping coffee and the overall effects on freshness is especially important to us as we strive to provide the best quality to our customers. To let us know what you think about this topic, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d love to discuss the topic with you!