Coffee, like human beings, has a personality. When the beans have just been roasted, the coffee is like a new born baby that develops into an athlete over time.
In the beginning the coffee is incredibly fresh, but still needs time to develop and reach its full potential.
As the coffee matures, like humans, it goes through many changes. Some of these can be volatile and unpredictable, like a teenager trying to come to terms with their physical growth and change.
After the pain of teenage years the coffee reaches a stable point where it performs very well which will be at the height of its potential.
Finally, after some time, age starts to take its toll and the flavour of the coffee fades.
To prove this theory, we selected one of our signature blends and tasted it daily for a month to track its Volatility (or Craziness) vs Tastiness. Here’s what we found.
The Tasty Vs. Crazy Scale:
This graph is a simple representation of what we observed. It demonstrates that there is a definite trade-off between “Tastiness” and “Craziness”.
The Crazy line (red) represents the volatility of the coffee as it ages from the date it was roasted. This was observed as gassiness and thickness in the crema, wild variances in extraction as well as unbalanced/immature flavours. The coffee started out at a craziness level of 10!
In the first 2 days after roasting the coffee was letting out loads of Carbon Dioxide and other volatile gasses which makes the coffee really tricky to dial into the grinder. Further, because the coffee is changing from hour to hour, a barista will need to keep making adjustments to the grinder settings to keep the coffee within the ideal extraction parameters. The coffee plays games with you and can feel like you are chasing your tail trying to keep the extractions consistent and tasty.
While it is not impossible to achieve a delicious coffee at this point, it is difficult to maintain it, especially if being used in a busy café or restaurant.
During days 2-6 after the roast date, the coffee is losing some of its volatility and starting to settle down a little. It still requires some attention from the barista to maintain the coffee in the ideal extraction zone. Taste starts to develop more depth and character.
The coffee starts to become more user friendly from days 5-6 onwards. Less volatility is noticed as well as a marked improvement in flavour. The coffee is by no means stable yet and still requires a keen eye from the barista to spot when the coffee grinder requires adjustment.
Days 8-14 from the roast date are where the coffee really shines. The trade-off is a little Craziness for bags of flavour!
From day 14 onwards the Craziness continues to decline, however, the flavour of the coffee starts to fade a little. The vigour of youth is fading away and age is starting to take its toll. This happens slowly at first, but after day 21 this really starts to show. The flavour retains complexity but starts to lack vibrancy. A little bit of ‘roastiness’ starts to creep in.
So what can we take away from our little experiment?
• The golden time window to use coffee is 8-14 days from the roast date.
• Experiment with your grinder and extraction settings depending on the age of your coffee.
• Consider how much Craziness you are willing to handle if you want to use coffee beans that have been recently roasted.
• Consider how much Tastiness you are willing to trade-off for less Craziness being present in your coffee.
Be sure to check the roast date of your coffee and get the most out of your extraction.