Freshest beans? Is Home Coffee Roasting for You?


The Importance of Fresh Coffee Beans . . .

Is Home Coffee Roasting for You?

Green and brown decaf unroasted and black roasted coffee beans as background.

Green beans will make the transformation to freshly roasted coffee beans in our cup!


Ah, if you are a coffee lover there is nothing like fresh coffee beans in your cup!
Since the critical top priority in making a full and flavorful cup of coffee is in the freshness of the beans, let’s get to the bottom of it.  You can sometimes find a source of freshly roasted beans close by your home through various coffee stores or specialty shops, or possibly through mail subscription, or you can decide to roast the green coffee beans at home yourself.  More about home coffee roasting later.
When you look around the local grocery store where you shop you probably assume that the beans on the shelf are fresh, but this often just not the case.

By the time coffee beans are actually roasted, allowed to cool, then packaged for market it may be weeks or months since the beans were actually roasted.
It is said that coffee beans lose their flavor right after they come out of the roaster.

One of the solutions to this dilemma could be to try to find a local coffee roaster, or a coffee retailer where they can verify their actual roasting date, which should be no more than a week before sale.

It’s best to see that the retailer is relatively busy and that their stock turns over frequently.   Watch for if they store the coffee in containers that are exposed to the air, such beans will stale more rapidly than those stored in airtight containers. Some “gourmet” specialty shops store their roasted beans in large, open containers holding twenty pounds each or more. Unless they’re selling a huge volume amount of coffee, much of it is likely pretty stale.

This is probably done for the aroma of the coffee being released into the shopping environment more than any other reason, but certainly not for coffee freshness. Freshly roasted coffee beans let off carbon dioxide gas emissions up to two weeks after roasting.  If this coffee is stored in coffee specialty bags they should have one way coffee bag valves.
If a supermarket has an in-store roaster, look for the roasting date not an expiration date.  Avoid coffee packaged in plastic bags, foil or Mylar. The pre-ground, canned coffees sold in supermarkets are automatically stale (though many people believe that Illy canned coffee, which is packed under pressure, not vacuum, is an exception to this rule). As mentioned above, coffee packaged in soft containers with a one way air valve is helpful in maintaining freshness.  Ideally, coffee is best the day after it’s roasted.  Only buy what you can use up in about 2 weeks. Coffee beans are best stored in air tight containers. 

Grind the coffee at home right before you plan to use it. Once the coffee is ground it will become stale by the end of the day.

Is Home Coffee Roasting for You?

Until the mid-1850’s in America coffee roasting was performed on a wood burning stove in a lightly oiled cast iron pan while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Coffee often makes a loud cracking-popping noise while roasting that is loud and startling. A chaff is produced that still needs to be separated from the roasting coffee beans. This took a lot of practice and the ultimate flavor of the coffee was quite variable and sometimes not very good.

In more modern times people have even used popcorn poppers to try to roast coffee at home!

Now there are a currently variety of coffee roasters for those who prefer to buy green coffee beans and roast at home.

Home coffee roasting is as fun and fairly easy or as technical as you want to make it. According to the Sweet Maria Home website, you can roast green coffee beans in your oven, use a cast iron skillet, or even today some still use certain types of popcorn poppers! There are also a variety of specialized and elite modern coffee roasting appliances available.

Whatever method you decide to use, you will be on your way to drinking much better and fresher tasting coffee!

“The basic process is simple: use heat to turn green unroasted coffee into brown roasted coffee. Roasting times vary, depending on the method and batch size but you can expect the process to last about 10 minutes for smaller batches and about 16 minutes for larger batches.” –Sweet Maria’s Home

Go here to learn more detail about coffee roasting at home.

Click here to buy green coffee beans for roasting on Amazon:

Buy fine international coffees on Amazon – unroasted beans up to 50 lbs:

Green, brown unroasted decaf and black coffee beans in glass jars over wooden background. See series

Green coffee beans ready for roasting!