Q: When people talk about acidity in a coffee being a positive attribute - what do they mean?
A: Oftentimes 'acidity' is related to objective pH level (think lemons and grapefruit). Coffee is low in this type of acidity. When we talk of acidity in the coffee cup we refer to the vibrancy, liveliness and fruity brightness, which is characteristic of high grown, high quality arabica beans.
Q: Quite often I'll go into a café and receive a really bitter coffee. Why is this?
A: Bitterness is often the result of 2 things:
- Dark roasting (this may be intentional to create a roasty smokiness that some drinkers enjoy - oftentimes it is unintentional!) OR
- Over extraction by the barista in creating the cup - the grind of the coffee may be too fine for the brewing method resulting in too little water running through too much coffee
Q: I hear so many differing opinions about how I should store my coffee beans at home - should I be storing my beans in the fridge or freezer?
A: Contrary to popular belief, coffee should never be stored in either fridge or freezer! The four main enemies of the coffee bean are oxygen, heat, moisture, and light. Once the beans are taken out of the fridge or freezer, the coffee will absorb the condensation when the ice-crystals have thawed. Always store your beans in a cool, dark, dry place like the pantry. Remember, coffee absorbs smells so store your beans in an airtight vacuum container.
Q: Quite often I will see coffee on shelves with use by dates 2 years out - does coffee really last this long?
A: Although 2 year old coffee may technically still 'drinkable' it is no longer fresh. Coffee is a perishable good - you must think of coffee the same way you think of your fruit and vegetables, which no doubt you probably buy on a weekly basis. Coffee reaches its peak potential between 3 to 12 days after roasting, after which the coffee beans begin to deteriorate quite quickly. To truly enjoy a fresh cup of coffee, you need to be buying coffee fresh from the roaster in small lots. Keep an eye out for one-way valves on the packaging, and store in a cool, dark, dry place. Try to consume ground coffee within a week of grinding, while whole beans should be consumed within 3 weeks of roast date.