Ordering five pounds (or more) keeps the shipping cost low, and freezing keeps them fresh! ;^)
And secondly . . .
First off, in Canada, you do not get great beans delivered to your door for $10/lb. You get great beans delivered to your door for around $20lb...maybe $17 on a good day. Believe me, I've tried them all from across the entire country and even ordered from the US. If anyone can point me to where I could get them for less, I would be happy to try/buy.
Yes, I was afraid of that -- that's why I kept making the distinction between the US and Canada. What works in one place may not always work in the other, and this is certainly one example of that . . .
Danger! Danger! Warning, Will Robinson -- Thread Drift Approaching!
Anyways...you are also excluding a major point...there is GREAT italian off-the-shelf espresso available....it just dies quickly once opened. This has been a topic of discussion at home-barista.com numerous times...anyone who just writes it off completely perhaps needs to experiment a bit. Reading appreciation threads on italian espsresso's is what got me started playing with them more...
FWIW, the reason I dismiss "great" Italian off-the-shelf espresso is two-fold: a) while I completely agree you can get some really nice shots immediately upon opening, I also agree it stales and dies very quickly; and b) it's too expensive, compared to freshly roasted beans I can get delivered to my door. (As I said above, Illy is $18.49 for 250g., rather than $13.99 for 454g. delivered.)
Hmmmm . . . though I confess the idea of taking Italian espresso and freezing it never would have occurred to me prior to reading this thread, I may have to try it for myself if only for the intellectual exercise.
MARIOBARBA Senior Member Joined: 26 Sep 2011 Posts: 126 Location: MONTREAL CANADA Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Ascaso DUO Prof TRONIC Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Feb 28, 2012, 4:58pm Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
That looks cool, but as someone who has a three year old and a 10 month old at home, the last thing I need is something else to put batteries in :). Instead, I have this that I have been very happy with Click Here (www.amazon.com)
My concern would be the repeated opening/vacuuming. I think that would be great for fresh-roasted as well, but "pre-aged" italian beans I don't think can stand that. They need to be used quickly after opening....ie. think coffee shop...they go through many bags in a day. I am trying to extend that paradigm to home use, while still benefiting from purchasing 1kg bags.
I experimented with a few different containers, and so far, the best results have been freezing SMALL batches of the beans. After two days, I find these "aged" beans are done...i.e. I open a container (I count that as day 1), finish the container on the next day, and all is great. If I let it go to day 3....the extraction isn't the same.
My baseline so far is adjusting my grinder based on the beans extracting perfectly immediately after the new bag is opened. If I have to do anything other than micro-adjustments for humidity etc, I know they are done. I find that two days after opening...I have to start tightening the grinder, which corresponds directly to flavor loss etc in this case.
edmonton66 Senior Member Joined: 25 Apr 2012 Posts: 10 Location: Edmonton, AB Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:17am Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
Hi Grant. I've been experimenting with different beans from London Drugs for my little Breville Cafe Roma. Their prices are great when things are on sale. I have found "Ethical Beans - Sweet Espresso" (roasted in Vancouver) enjoyable. It has more of the rich, chocolate going on then the citrus (not a big fan of the citrus) and might be worth your checking out. The bags are also resealable and that 'seems' to keep the beans pretty fresh (keeping in mind my cheap machine and entry level baratza grinder). They are in all the Edmonton Locations so I suspect they'd be in St. Albert too...just checked. They're on for $9 for 340gr until Wednesday. I'll be stocking up. So you know. The best buy date is a year after the roast date.
(waiting to find out if the Breville BES900xl I have sitting in my dining room is old stock that I need to return to the Bay and get one somewhere else. Next up, a new grinder) wheeeeeeeeeeeee....i like this ride!!
Posted Sun Aug 26, 2012, 7:57pm Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
I have never read anything that shows that vacuum packing repeatedly will preserve coffee. If you could develop enough vacuum to remove the oxygen, it will just bring more of the volatile elements to the surface of the coffee, and as soon as the container is opened the oxygen floods in and will quickly degrade the coffee. Staling is a chemical process and vacuum will not stop that. Certainly, this is my opinion, but if you find that vacuum packing keeps coffee tasting fresh, the coffee was stale to begin with and had little more to lose. The only proven thing that will slow or stop the degradation is freezing.
Being a chemical process, there are a few ways to retard the reaction. One as you mentioned is to put the coffee in the freezer. The lower temperatures will slow the reaction rate and the coffee will take longer to stale.
Another would be to limit one of the reagents, in this case oxygen. By removing as much oxygen as possible you can in fact (in theory anyway) delay the staling process by removing the thing that causes staling. The process uses the same principle as roasters who will flush their coffee with nitrogen (an inert gas that reacts with almost nothing) so as to push out any oxygen.
Posted Mon Aug 27, 2012, 6:41am Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
I doesn't take much oxygen for oxydation to occur. Even commercial vacuum seal systems are a long way from a perfect vacuumn and even getting out 99% of the air leaves enough oxygen to stale foods. A "vacuum" canister for coffee might get down to 20-30% of atmospheric pressure, but every time you open it, you're letting fresh oxygen in. Freezing is far more effective. Freezing in vacuum bags, sealed by decent vacuum equipment is even better, but that's enough equipment expense and time to do the sealing that any savings are, realistically, out the window entirely.
I roast once a week for enough coffee to last through the week. I roast indoors with a Behmor and the exhaust fan running on the stove. Works fine, my coffee's always fresh and I actually enjoy sourcing beans and experimenting with blends. As they say, YMMV.
Nothing if . . . -- you like their beans; and -- you know the beans are fresh.
I can't speak for Calgary, but often when you walk into a local roaster (in many places around the U.S.), the beans you buy are in a bin (not good), and/or the beans are stored, pre-packaged, in paper bags* (not good), and/or the the person behind the counter has no information about the date of roasting (not good).
Now let me hasten to add this is not always the case; many local roasters are far more "together" when it comes to the beans they sell. But there certainly is nothing wrong with buying beans online from a person/company who will roast the beans and ship them to you on the same day. As I said above, you can't complain about freshness when the beans are delivered to your door 48-72 hours after roasting!
* This, as opposed to sealed bags with a one-way gas valve to permit CO2 gas to escape without letting oxygen in.
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