The key to getting a good cup from gourmet roasted coffee beans is to ensure that the skin of the coffee bean is unbroken. When the skin is broken, your end result is unknown and all bets are off. Oils underneath the skin and inside the bean will deteriorate unless frozen, in which case the brew will never be first rate.

I think that the jury is still out when it comes to freezing your beans. I prefer to figure out how much the beans you drink every day weigh. Multiply that quantity by 12. I know you are asking, why 12? There are days when I don’t have coffee because I don’t have time in the morning or because I don’t want any or whatever and I usually buy my fresh roasted beans on Saturday morning, when I go to town. So there is Sunday through Saturday the first week, which is seven days, and then Sunday through Thursday. That’s five days for a total of twelve days. Even then, sometimes I have coffee left over. And then there are times when I run out on Monday of the second week.

I used to get 8 ounces or 1/2 pound of fresh roasted coffee beans, when I first started out. But as I said, I usually had coffee left over so now I get a little less – about five ounces. I buy a whole pound and have them give me five ounces on the first visit, then five ounces on the second visit and six ounces on the last visit. The clerk knows I am kind of quirky and we laugh about “my bean counting system”.

So I buy a pound of roasted beans, but when I buy, I have it arranged that I will only take five ounces of the pound on the first visit, and will come back for the rest. Then on the second visit, I show the clerk my receipt where it has been marked “took 5 ounces – 11 ounces left”. On my second visit, I take another 5 ounces and the clerk crosses out the top note and writes, “took five ounces – 6 ounces left”. On my last visit, I take the last six ounces and they keep the receipt.

When storing beans, be sure to use an airtight container. Maybe you saw my article at the end of April, Specialty Colorado Coffee Freshness Tips on containers. A glass jar of the type used for instant tea grounds is tempting, but inadequate – there is still too much leakage around the lid. A good glass jar with a rubber seal is best. Many online vendors sell just the ticket. Be sure to store the jar in a cool, dark place since not only air, but also heat and light can contribute to spoiling beans.

Even better, but more expensive, are containers which flush air with an inert gas, then inject the coffee beans, which then give off CO2, providing natural protection against spoilage. Beans stored in this way can keep their freshness for several weeks. But I prefer the twelve day method for the best brew for me.

The next best thing to home roasting, and an option open even to those with less than stellar cooking skills, is grinding at home. I’ll cover grinders in more detail later because I feel that it is an important topic.

Good grinders are available at moderate prices, are generally easy to use and are not difficult to clean. Many are automated to the point that with very minor experimentation, it’s possible to arrive at consistently good grinds.

Since grinding necessarily breaks the bean skin the same “oil spoilage” problem can arise if the grind isn’t used within a few days. Like roasted beans, only more so, any grounds not consumed within a day should be packed in a desiccating canister. Those canisters contain a drying agent, usually beneath a mesh at the bottom that keeps moisture from introducing mold or excess oxygen into the grounds.

If not stored in a desiccating canister, grounds will start to lose flavor within a few hours. Oils will evaporate and, exposed to the air and moisture within the jar, the grounds will deteriorate.

For a superior cup, grind only what you intend to brew and drink everything brewed within an hour. With modern, moderate cost grinding machines there’s no longer any reason to suffer second-rate coffee.

The weather is unsettled here lately. They are talking about snow or rain over the weekend. Good coffee drinking weather. If you have any questions, leave me a comment. I will answer you back. I hope you are enjoying a nice brew of coffee. Java Girl