TIP #1 - Buy your coffee beans in one-way valve coffee bags.

The roasting process causes the coffee beans to release carbon dioxide for several days after roasting.

The one-way valve coffee bag enables the Coffee Roaster to pack the coffee beans immediately after roasting.

The coffee beans can degas inside the bag because the one-way valve lets the carbon dioxide escape without letting air and moisture in.

On the other hand, the coffee beans degas before being packed in vacuum sealed coffee bags. This means that for a few days the coffee beans are exposed to their worst enemies: air, light, heat and moisture.

Vacuum-packaging is used by coffee suppliers who sell long shelf- life coffee. The ‘brick’ look coffee packs are easily stackable to be transported globally and stored for many months.

Contrary to common belief, fresh is not synonym with vacuum packed coffee bags.

The quality of the coffee bag is also important. Thin paper bags, clear plastic bags and window coffee bags will shorten the shelf life of your coffee beans.

For freshly roasted and packed coffee beans, look for thick lined coffee bags with a button-like one-way valve at the top of bag.

TIP # 3 - Buy coffee beans WHOLE, not ground

Experts in the coffee industry believe that whole coffee beans are at their peak for only three to four weeks.

But once ground, coffee beans will only keep fresh for a few days because more coffee bean surface is exposed to air.

So, buy whole coffee beans and grind just before making your coffee.

Let’s recap… Fresh is best!

Buy your freshly roasted and packed coffee beans
– In one-way valve coffee bags
– From your local Coffee Roaster and
– In quantity that you’ll consume within 3 to 4 weeks.
and taste the difference.

TIP #2 - Buy coffee beans that are locally roasted.

The freshness of coffee beans is determined by the time elapsed once the coffee beans are roasted, not from when they were harvested.

Green beans can be stored for months. But once roasted the coffee oils that give the distinct coffee flavor are brought to the surface and fast become rancid.

So avoid imported roasted coffee beans.

Travel-time from overseas destinations in large cargos and warehousing shorten the ‘best before date’ of your coffee beans.

Let’s be honest, Italian coffee is best drank in Italy. By the time, it has reached our shelves; it’s usually stale before you buy it.

Buy coffee beans directly from your local coffee roaster.

TIP # 4 - Buy in quantity that you will consume within 3 weeks.

Bulk buying can be false economy if you have to drink stale coffee.

With a kilo of coffee beans, you can make 111 to 142 single shots of espresso depending if you use 7 or 9 grams of coffee per shot.

So for the sake of a few Rands per kilo or a few cents per cup, you could be denying yourself the pleasure of many well-deserved flavoursome cups of coffee.

Don’t buy coffee by the carton if you can’t drink it all within a month.

Life is really too short to drink stale coffee.

TIP #5 - Choose your coffee supplier carefully.

Buying coffee beans from open sacks or tubs looks like, a good first-hand bulk-purchasing opportunity but in these cases, the coffee is exposed to light, heat, air, moisture and you have no idea, how long since the coffee beans have been roasted.

Fresh roasted coffee beans in gourmet shops or convenient stores do not always sell quickly. The fancy coffee beans could be stale before you buy them.

Assess how often the shelves are replenished and if possible, check the use by date on coffee bags. A long expiry date should ring alarm bells!