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Understanding Coffee Roast Dates and Freshness

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Understanding Coffee Roast Dates and Freshness

23 August 2023

Step into the world of specialty coffee, and you’ll quickly notice a term that holds significance when brewing a consistent cup of joy: the “roasted on” date. At Fish River Roasters, this date serves as a guidepost for aging your coffee beans to suit your taste. In this article, we’ll explore the nuances of coffee roast dates and the magic of freshness.

Decoding the “Roasted On” date:

A distinguishing feature of specialty coffee roasters, including Fish River Roasters, is the emphasis on the “roasted on” date rather than the conventional “best before” date. This preference allows coffee enthusiasts to understand precisely when their beans were roasted and to gauge the optimal aging period that aligns with their taste preferences.

The dance of freshness:

Fresh(ish) is best when it comes to coffee. Within one to three weeks from the roast date, coffee beans are at their prime. After roasting, coffee beans release carbon dioxide (CO2) for about a week, a process aptly called degassing. To facilitate this release of CO2, each of our bags has a round, one-way valve for CO2 to exit without inviting oxygen in.

If you use coffee beans that are a few days out of the roaster, the flavours in your cup of coffee will be a little less intense. For espresso brewers, the CO2 in the coffee beans also makes extraction more difficult.

Higher-altitude coffees, like the treasures hailing from Kenya and Ethiopia, undergo a more gradual degassing process compared to their counterparts from lower altitudes, such as Brazil.

Experimenting with coffee roast dates at home:

Harnessing the “roasted on” date as your compass, you can work out when you think the coffee is at its peak. For example, one of our customers has done extensive testing on the Tiger Snake blend and swears that 20 days from the roast date is when it is at its best. As with all things coffee, let your taste buds be your ultimate guide!

For more barista tips for making consistent coffee at home & in your cafe, visit our blog here.


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