Let's stay fresh.
Now that we have great water, the next important component for a great cup of coffee is of course the coffee itself. Here are some tips to have the freshest coffee beans to brew:
First, buy your coffee whole and grind just what you need right before brewing. I know this is a pain, but if you really want the freshest cup of coffee, this is the way to go. I'll discuss grinders and other equipment in a later post. And when you grind your coffee, only use that grinder for coffee, not spices or even flavored coffee, if that's what you're into (though I'd recommend flavored creamers instead of flavored coffee, but that's for another blog post at another time).
Second, you'll want to know when the coffee was roasted. Roasted coffee, if kept sealed can last for a month or more. But once oxygen gets to it, then it's all downhill from there. This doesn't mean that you can brew coffee as soon as it comes off of the roaster, if you're lucky to have a coffee roaster nearby :) The coffee bean needs time to release carbon dioxide, rapidly over the first few days, then more gradually over the remainder of what's called the degassing period. But you should be good to go within 24-48 hours of roasting. Also, when you buy a bag of coffee beans, make sure they have a little plastic valve on the front or the back of the bag. This is a one-way valve that lets out the carbon dioxide but doesn't let in oxygen. This is an easy way for roasters to cut corners on cost, but it's an important one, especially if you plan to buy coffee off the shelf at the store - you should know how long it's been sitting there and if steps were taken to prevent the beans from going stale quickly.
Finally, you'll want to store the coffee in an airtight container. You could keep it in the bag you purchased them in, but unless it has a really good seal (a ziplock on the bag is fine, but not great) you'll want to find another vessel to keep them in. I like the OXO containers with the pump or Airscape containers with the plunger to remove the air when storing. Do not put them in your freezer. Coffee beans need a cool (not cold), low humidity location.
Now that you have the cleanest water and the freshest coffee, the next step is making sure you have the right coffee grind and the right proportions of each of these to brew the best cup of coffee. Stay tuned for our next blog posts with tips on this important step. If you haven't already, sign up for our email list on our home page and make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!