Can Roasted Coffee Be Too Fresh?

I just bought 5 pounds of Sumatran coffee from Paradise Roasters. This is currently one hot roaster. They  seem to get all A’s from Coffee Review’s editor, Kenneth Davids. This particular coffee is rated a 94. Frankly, I’m undecided about grades – after all, I was a pretty lowly student in high school.

Yesterday, after the coffee arrived, I couldn’t wait to brew some. I fired up a water kettle and ground 35 grams, which is the right amount for a half-batch in my Chemex and fills exactly four small cups of coffee. I’ll skip the details, but it was a disappointing cup of coffee. Before you say I’m criticizing Paradise, I’m not. That is, I’m not sure what was wrong. I brewed another batch when we finished dinner. My friend Father Tom Corbino was over, a great coffee drinker. He was polite but I could tell he wasn’t blown away by the coffee. He hardly mentioned it. That time I used a Technivorm ,full bore and 60 grams of grounds. Lackluster, if I do say so.

This morning  I tried again, using the Chemex again. I adjusted the grind, coarsening it up just a notch, but to no avail. After lunch, I made a small batch in my four-cup Kitchen Aid brewer. It was wonderful!

What happened? Well, I’ve found the Kitchen Aid to be one of my favorite coffee brewers. It is delightfully consistent. While it errs on brewing at just under industry standards, reaching only about 195 at peak during the brewing cycle, it does do a terrific job at getting all the grounds equally wet. In this way it is the best automatic drip machine I’ve yet tested. I use 34 grams of ground coffee for 4 cups.

But, I suspect it is more than this wonderful brewer. The coffee is now three days old. I’m convinced that many coffees need an adequate rest period before their flavors mellow out to the balanced cup we desire. This is not a subtle taste difference.

I intend to test using the Chemex and other brewers and report my findings, but while the vast percentage of coffee beans are brewed too late, I think too early can be disappointing as well. Think of unripe fruit.

Copyright 2010 Kevin Sinnott  All Rights Reserved


About coffeekevin

Kevin Sinnott, host of the how-to video “Coffee Brewing Secrets”, author of The Art and Craft of Coffee and curator of website is America’s foremost consumer coffee authority. His groundsbreaking newsletter THE COFFEE COMPANION was the first-ever consumer publication about finding and brewing the world’s best coffee. The COFFEE COMPANION, which achieved a readership of more than 10,000 coffee lovers, offered Sinnott’s unbiased evaluations of what he calls “hardware” – all the equipment necessary to brew great tasting coffee, from water filters to coffee bean grinders to brewers. Since then, he’s made more than 100 media appearances, in USA TODAY and The Chicago Tribune, OPRAH WINFREY, 20/20, and The FOOD NETWORK and has done countless talk radio shows. Kevin Sinnott lives with his wife and three sons in Warrenville, Illinois.
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3 Responses to Can Roasted Coffee Be Too Fresh?

  1. coffeekevin says:

    Sunday, day 4, I brewed a batch in my 4-cup Kitchen Aid. What a difference! The spice of a good Sumatran coffee was all there. The under-ripeness went completely away. I don’t know which is more amazing, the suddenness of the improvement or the amount.

  2. I think this is among the most significant info for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The web site style is ideal, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

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