Ever wonder why coffee always seems to taste better at the coffee shop than at your home? You probably think it’s a combination of that “coffee shop ambiance”, that fancy, shiny (and noisy) equipment, and maybe even Mumford and his sons singing in the background.
To a degree, the coffee shop feel and that polished espresso machine do matter, and that can’t be helped. But the coffee itself, well, that can be helped. Here are a few ways you can up your home coffee game to experience almost as good as cup without breaking the piggy bank.
Don’t buy old coffee. Buy fresh roasted
Chances are, your favorite coffee shop uses fresh, locally roasted coffee beans to give that cup the flavor and aroma you so covet.
We’re here to tell you, that freshness is what part of what makes their coffee so good! Freshness really matters! You see, coffee beans start losing their flavor two weeks after roasting. While you can probably still get a decent cup up to a month after the roast date, depending on the variety and how you store your coffee (more on that in a bit), that year old coffee is dead coffee. Carcass coffee. Don’t even bother. Buy fresh and it’ll make all the difference.
Our advice? If you want a better cup at home, buy your coffee beans from your local roaster, or even your local coffee shop if they sell it. Guaranteed it well taste better than any big box beans.
Bonus tip: Whenever you buy coffee, check the bag for a roast date. If you don’t see one, that coffee could very likely be a year or older. Most of the coffee you’ll find in your local big box store will be like this. At your local roaster and coffee shop, they’ll display the roast date and be proud of how fresh it is.
Don’t buy your coffee ground. Buy it whole bean
Unless you’ll be using your coffee right away, buy your coffee whole bean. Why? Ever notice how good coffee smells when you grind it? That’s because when you grind your coffee, you’re opening up the bean to expose maximum surface area to allow for optimal flavor extraction. The coffee particles producing that at wonderful smell in your nostrils are the same particles that will make your taste buds sing. That’s a good thing.
But if this ground coffee remains unused, the flavors you smelled when you first ground it will continue to leach out until your coffee is largely spent, leaving little for water to extract when you brew and little to impress your taste buds.
Bonus tip: Once your grind your coffee, you only have about three days before the flavor starts to dwindle. Our advice? Grind your coffee only as you need it.
Store your coffee cool, dark and airtight
Even with the precautions taken above, three forces of nature wage war against your coffee: heat, light and air. Just like how heat is used in water to extract flavor while brewing, heat, even in the air, will cause flavor to leach from your coffee beans at an accelerated rate, even if just from the fridge or the toaster oven. To preserve your coffee for longer, keep it away from heat sources and store it where it’s cool.
In the same vein, as heat robs coffee of its flavor, so does light. For this reason, it’s best to keep your coffee away from windows and other light sources and store it an opaque container.
Lastly, keep your coffee sealed and airtight. The more air that is exposed to your coffee the more flavor will be lost to the air and the more stale it will become, just like with chips and cereal.
It is for these latter two points we sell our freshly roasted coffee in opaque, resealable coffee bags — all to preserve freshness and flavor for your enjoyment.
Bonus tip: Be wary of storing your coffee in the refrigerator or freezer. Every time you bring the coffee out of a super-cooled environment into warm, moist air where most humans live, and open the bag, that moist air will condense on the beans. This will also affect freshness. We recommend just keeping the coffee at a stable temperature to preserve its goodness.
Hopefully now you know how to enjoy a better (if not most excellent) cup of coffee brewed at home. Buy your coffee fresh. Buy it whole. Store it dark, cool and sealed.
… And when you do brew it, take a deep whiff from above your filled cup, turn on some Mumford & Sons or some other coffeeshop music (if that’s your thing), take a sip and enjoy.
Grounds 4 Compassion is an Oklahoma City-based company focused on providing freshly roasted quality coffee for our customers and investing back into our community. Our goal is ultimately to help improve our community and our world as we endeavor to make a good cup of coffee.
Click here to learn more about or to shop Grounds 4 Compassion.