The moment coffee is roasted it comes to life! The roasting process is truly remarkable – it takes a green inert coffee seed, which has practically no flavour beyond a quite unpleasant vegetal taste, and transforms it into an amazingly aromatic and flavourful bean.
Just like freshly baked bread, coffee is at the peak of its freshness, flavour and aroma the moment it’s roasted. At the same time, this is when the staling process begins, and over the coming days the flavour and aroma fades.
So when is roasted coffee at its best?
Yes, you guessed it, straight out of the roaster!
Ancient coffee drinking cultures, such as in Ethiopia and the Middle East, have always consumed their coffee fresh from roasting. Households store raw green coffee seeds and regularly roast fresh coffee in a pan over charcoal or fire. They then grind the freshly roasted beans and immediately brew and enjoy the amazing flavours and life-giving forces. These cultures have long recognised the importance of consuming freshly roasted coffee. This is when coffee is still alive and full of vitality and life-giving benefits.
So how long does coffee stay fresh and potent? Depending on humidity, light and storage, 1 – 2 weeks is the optimal window. Stale coffee is lifeless and tastes woody and dull – it has lost all its benefits.
The modern world has commercialised coffee, and with that, lost the potent life-giving forces that freshly roasted coffee bestows. As the second most traded commodity in the world after oil, companies have processed coffee into all sorts of lifeless instant formulations or pods, or simply packed coffee into bags with a 12 month use by date, all in order to sell more to the masses. This type of commercial coffee has none of the energizing, life-giving benefits that freshly roasted coffee possesses.
Next time you drink a cup of coffee, check to see when it was roasted, and try to imagine coffee the same way you perceive bread or fruit – fresh is so much better!