Pacing Your Coffee Buying For Peak Freshness
The holiday season is upon us which usually means making those in your life happy with thoughtful, meaningful gifts.
The holidays also see many companies offering specials, discounts, free shipping etc (Including us…Greenwell Farms free shipping special ends on Dec 5th).
These specials bring up an issue that is close to my heart and one I’d like to address today in as delicate of a way as I can. This issue is pacing your coffee buying for peak freshness.
The Coffee ROI Dilemma
A famous coffee dilemma related to the topic we are about to discuss is the buying of coffee in a café.
An often-quoted statistic that millennials spend $2,000+ at cafes each year, which is more than they put in their 401ks, demonstrates a luxury expense that money gurus like Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary and best-selling money author, David Bach, claim are big wastes of dollars that could be working for you.
Millennials argue that without that coffee they are not as productive and that the $2,000 a year is an investment in self-growth and motivation.
Whichever side you choose in this debate, money-conscious individuals will eventually find that if they were to make their own coffee at home, they can have their cup of gourmet joe, and reduce their yearly coffee bill by 75%.
Now the disadvantages for many are that you have to become good at making coffee, know where to get good coffee, and then spend the time every morning making it.
If you are the type of person that can embrace that joyfully, there are a lot of rewards in learning about roast levels and single-origin coffees, as well as the various methods of extraction and the pride in creating your own coffee drink as good as any café.
How much to buy?
Having come to the conclusion that you want to be your own barista, how much coffee should you be buying?
Here again, we see the trend has moved toward enjoying the coffee at the peak of its freshness, which means three main things:
1) Learning to store the coffee well. (See Previous Blog that Covered this topic)
2) Don’t buy more coffee than you can consume in 3-4 weeks. (Today’s topic)
3) Have a plan for where your next bag of fresh roast is coming from.
To unpack #2 a little bit further, we need to look at our coffee consumption habits. How many people are drinking coffee and how many cups? What is the size of your cup?
One Pound of coffee beans can make 48 six-ounce cups or 36 eight-ounce cups. Many people however are using 16-to-20-ounce cups.
All of this leads up to the question, how fast does my household consume a pound of coffee? If it is the holidays and you know guests are coming, consumption may rise for a specific time of the year and that will also have to be considered.
Can you answer that basic question? How long does it take your household to consume a pound of coffee?
At our farm, we roast our coffee 2-3 times per week. When we send out a bag, we know it is as fresh as can be and that is how we hope consumers will enjoy it.
When we started to offer the free shipping special during the holidays, it was with the intention that fans of our coffee could now share it with their friends and family without having to cover the shipping cost.
Many customers do that and continue to share Greenwell Farms coffee with their loved ones every holiday season. We thank you.
The problem (which is only a problem if you are after the freshest possible coffee) is that some take this free-shipping special to mean buy a year’s supply of coffee every December.
Although I get the sentiment, I just want you to know that coffee degrades over time no matter what you do. Freezer? A Seal-a-Meal? Don’t open the bag? Doesn’t matter. No matter what you do, 4-8 weeks after roasting, oils in the coffee will start to degrade, sugars will begin to break down, and the natural acidity in the beans will turn harsh.
Now, this doesn’t happen all at once, and many people enjoy their coffee 2-3 months after roasting with no problem. But it will never be as good as during the first 3 weeks after roasting.
If you are a bulk buyer of coffee, I’d like you to do an experiment with me. Take 20 grams of coffee, seal it up as air-tight as you can and put it in dark, dry storage until next year. When next year comes and you get a new bag of fresh roast, I’d like you to make 2 cups of coffee (from the old and the new) and see if you can tell the difference.
I personally have done this on a 3-month, 6-month, and one-year cycle and have been extremely surprised by how the coffee changes over time.
At Greenwell, we also offer our Coffee Club subscription that can help you pace this out as well!
We wish you the happiest of Holidays!
Matt Carter is a retired teacher (1989-2018), part-time musician, farmer, and currently manages Greenwell Farm’s Tour and Retail Store Operations.