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Storing beans in a hopper not a good idea?
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DanoM
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Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 8:13am
Subject: Re: Storing beans in a hopper not a good idea?
 

I buy my coffee in at least 5 pound shipments (~2.2kg) then break it down into small, airtight, metal cans I use for coffee; remainder goes into ziplock bags with contents sized to match my tins.  All beans go to the freezer for longer storage than 2-3 days on the shelf.
Each tin holds enough espresso for 2 days or approximately 6-8 shots.  I pull out extra tins or bags as necessary, let them come to room temp before opening.

Since I live in Los Angeles where the humidity is generally low I think I could keep the beans in the hopper without too much moisture absorption which stales beans quicker.  I also don't have a humid kitchen.  
Where I grew up in Indiana I would not do the same thing.  Open a box of corn flakes cereal there and forget to close it, by the end of the day you have soft, stale corn flakes.  (Here in California I can leave cereal on the counter for a month at the right time of year and it will still have some crunch left.)

Personally, if it's in the hopper for a week I wouldn't worry unless humidity is higher in your environment.
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CoffeeNark
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Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 8:33am
Subject: Re: Storing beans in a hopper not a good idea?
 

Donovan Said:

For those who grind as needed aka single-dosing, I assume you guys store your beans in a airtight container. Let's say you pull 2-3 shots per day and you open and close that container for the same number of times. Each time you open it, fresh oxygen is gonna be introduced into your beans. Has anyone think about this or am I overreacting?

Posted January 30, 2014 link

I use an Airscape canister which has an inner lid that presses most of the air from the beans.  Nothing is perfect but I only brew coffee once or twice a day and a bag lasts over a week so I want to preserve the beans reasonably without a whole lot of effort.
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boar_d_laze
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Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 9:58am
Subject: Re: Storing beans in a hopper not a good idea?
 

Like Dan (DanoM), we also live in SoCal -- but we roast our own so have different amounts of coffee around at any given time and different strategies for storage.  

I understand that evaporation of volatile oils and not moisture is the primary cause of whole-bean staling.  Primary shmymary.  Neither is a good thing, that's for sure.  

Sir, would you prefer the iron maiden or the rack?

We notice definite staling if beans are kept in the hopper for longer than a week.  I load the hopper with ~340g (~12oz).  That's the yield from an ideal charge for my roaster, and also the amount in a standard bag of coffee.   On those days we drink espresso, we use roughly 100g a day.  So, even if we take a day or two off for brew -- we're safe.

There are effective storage canisters.  We like the Coffeevac, but there are others.

BDL
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Donovan
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Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 10:31am
Subject: Re: Storing beans in a hopper not a good idea?
 

sorry for going a little off-topic but while we're discussing about loading the hopper, do you guys top up whenever near empty or just grind through every last bean then pour in a fresh batch? I ask because I usually finish grinding through the last batch, and my last shot always run fast. I get 40+gm in 25sec instead of the usual 30gm. Also, hopper loading wastes a lot more coffee than i would've liked due to all the purging every morning.
I really want to go back to single-dosing.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
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Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 11:27am
Subject: Re: Storing beans in a hopper not a good idea?
 

If you want to single dose, by all means, single dose, there is no law one way or the other.

For me, I top off the hopper when the beans get to the diversion plate in the hopper. It's job is to assure an even feed of beans regardless of the weight of beans above it. If the level drops below it, it no longer is feeding at the desired pressure, thus the top off to keep beans above it.

My consumption of beans is about 1 1/3 pounds a week. My lots are about 12 oz, I fill about every 5 days on average.

Back to the title of the thread,  " Storing beans in a hopper not a good idea?"

I think you can see, the answer is both yes and no. It is more up to you, your consumption pattern, the age of your beans, how you store them and all of the the other little details that affect the quality of the coffee, including just what you can taste, forget what someone else may be able to taste, if YOU don't taste it, (whatever the supposed fault is) then it does not matter to you.

This is truly a YMMV case,

Wayne

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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thepilgrimsdream
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Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 1:09pm
Subject: Re: Storing beans in a hopper not a good idea?
 

I store the beans in my hopper......of my hario skerton......
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Donovan
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Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 11:38pm
Subject: Re: Storing beans in a hopper not a good idea?
 

I might explore the idea of splitting my bag into individual containers for single dosing. Maybe like test tubes with a stopper for example, and join the small group of crazy people with one arm bigger than the other.
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moosepucky
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Posted Fri Jan 31, 2014, 6:42am
Subject: Re: Storing beans in a hopper not a good idea?
 

Donovan Said:

I might explore the idea of splitting my bag into individual containers for single dosing. Maybe like test tubes with a stopper for example, and join the small group of crazy people with one arm bigger than the other.

Posted January 30, 2014 link

There are inexpensive scales that are a "single dosing must have" for around $20 (+/- US) that should make your single dosing go a lot easier and allow you to keep your beans in a single container.

moosepucky: 10g_espresso.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Sat Feb 1, 2014, 5:37pm
Subject: Re: Storing beans in a hopper not a good idea?
 

So . . . .

Have you realized now there really is more than one way to skin the proverbial cat -- uh, pull the proverbial shot?

What really comes into play here is the second of Babbie's rules:

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Babbie's Rule* of Fifteens:
-- Green (unroasted) coffee beans should be roasted within 15 months, or they go stale.
==> Roasted coffee beans should be ground within 15 days, or they go stale.  <==
-- Ground coffee should be used within 15 minutes, or it goes stale.

Posted February 15, 2011 link

In other words, IT DOESN'T MATTER if you store beans in your hopper, or if you store them in light-proof, air-tight jars, as long as you use them up within (approx.) 15 days of their roast date, unless . . . you freeze them!

Like many others here, I order 5-6 pounds at a time, and seal them in air-tight jars which hold about 8 ounces each . . . in they go to the hopper as needed.  When the hopper is almost empty, I take another jar out of the freezer before going to bed and toss it into the hopper in the morning.

That is to say, unlike many others here, I do not "single-dose."

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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boar_d_laze
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Posted Sun Feb 2, 2014, 9:00am
Subject: Re: Storing beans in a hopper not a good idea?
 

Babbie's Rules of Fifteens

Quoted endlessly, but...  

First Part
The first part, "beans should be roasted within fifteen months..." is incomplete.  "Within fifteen months" of what?  Within fifteen months of picking?  Drying?  Bagging?  Shipping?  When you buy them?  I think a better rule is that beans held for more than six months beyond the subsequent harvest are likely damaged.  

Second Part
"Fifteen days" is probably better understood as a rough rule of thumb, rather than a commandment inscribed by a fiery finger on a stone tablet.  I disagree with the following re-formulation:

In other words, IT DOESN'T MATTER if you store beans in your hopper, or if you store them in light-proof, air-tight jars, as long as you use them up within (approx.) 15 days of their roast date, unless . . . you freeze them!

Better storage is better.  In my experience beans just off-roast will noticeably stale within a week in a hopper; while beans from the same roast, held air-tight (air-tight doesn't mean vacuum) will still be in the resting phase.  

Some professional roaster/retailers consider beans more than 15days old to be too old for sale (if not for use).  Others go longer.  Mike Perry at Klatch, my favorite roasters, is one of those who goes longer.  Heather Perry, Klatch's training barista, isn't afraid of the sixteenth day either.  IIRC our class trained with beans about fifteen days old, which had been held in sealed, valveless, plastic bags.  

As I said earlier, we get at least 20 days post-roast for beans used for espresso.  I think the message there is that staling, as we experience it, is largely a matter of what's extracted... so extraction methods matter as well as storage methods; and more efficient extractions give you a little extra leeway with storage time.  

Finally, there's freezing and there's freezing.  Beans packed for freezing should be packed tightly, and air-tight, and stored in a non frost-free freezer (to avoid temperature cycling).  If the beans are not packed tightly, humidity in the storage container will crystallize as it freezes, so that the freezing process itself damages them; if the container is not air-tight, they will absorb all sorts of unpleasant odors in the freezer; etc.  If you use the wrong kind of freezer the temperature cycling which keeps a freezer frost-free, will damage the beans almost as quickly as holding them in a hopper would stale them.  

A (completely-filled) glass jar is good storage.  There are others just as good.    

Like everything else involving coffee, it requires attention to detail to do it right.  Also, I'm not sure ("not sure" means "not sure," and nothing more) that it's good for anything other than an emergency stash.  Some people keep libraries of older roasts by freezing them, but when I've tried beans frozen for more than a few months, they always taste just a skosh flat to me; but the grinder doesn't need a lot of adjustment and the pulls look good, so maybe I'm imagining it.

Third part
The finer the grind, the quicker the coffee goes stale after grinding.  Espresso will stale within a couple of minutes.  Coffee ground for FP or cupping will take considerably longer.

The (log progression) half-life for many of the most important volatile oils is fifteen minutes on coffee ground for drip -- and presumably that's the origin of the "fifteen minute" rule.  We notice staling at around 1/3 loss.  There are some weird exceptions, though.  I've read posts by very knowledgeable people (Scott Rao, et al) that sometimes properly packed ground coffee seems to age rather than stale.  I don't remember the particulars though.  Google is your friend.  The NSA too.

Wrap up
Finally... The storage thing is one of those YMMV situations.  I'm not calling anyone wrong, just suggesting that if you don't already have some sort of storage regimen you like, that rather than blindly adopting someone else's (even if that someone is me) you use your own palate to find what works best for you.  

BDL
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