company - education - coffee

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Why we don't pre grind coffee

The basic tenets of good coffee are the 4 F's:
Fresh crop
Fresh roast
Fresh grind
Fresh brew
As a quality focused roaster, we strive to adhere to these core ideals as they are the fundamental building blocks to a great coffee experience.  Some of these items are much less complicated than you may think.  Fresh crop can be either a date off harvest or it can be about packaging the the unroasted coffee better than the traditional jute bags of old.  Protecting the coffee in Grainpro or vacuum sealing it in some cases can preserve the life of a coffee substantially.  Packaging can protect the coffee from cross contamination, prevent rapid aging, humidity contamination, and many other issues that may affect flavor.  What temperature unroasted coffees are stored at can also play a role in how a coffee ages and how fresh it is.  A warehouse in the summer heat and humidity of the deep south will fare much worse than a temperature controlled (cool) and dry storage site.

We take pride in fresh roast being the only area roaster to place our roast dates so prominently on the front of every bag.  We feel like the roast date is a badge of quality.  Where other roasters may hide their roast dates or place arbitrary best by dates months out to make inventory easier to sell, we know many coffee connoisseurs value knowing when it was roasted and we aim to serve them.

Fresh ground is the one where we often get into a tricky situation.  We are the only roaster in the area that sells wholesale but doesn't ship preground coffee to accounts or retail consumers.  For many reasons beyond the obvious staling of preground coffee, we made it a policy not to grind.  We do lose some wholesale clients on this, namely many restaurants, but feel it's essential.  We feel it can be a serious disconnect to expect a wholesale/retail customer to pay for premium coffees and then brew/serve a less than premium cup.   We also have a policy in store not to grind bags for customers (and don't have a bulk grinder for this) based on the same idea.  Fresh is better, but paying $18/12oz bag of preground coffee that obviously won't taste like an $18/12oz bag of coffee should if ground fresh probably isn't a good value.

Fresh brewed is the easy one that everyone gets.  Brewing fresh is the final aspect full of caveats and variant methods.   We like to offer and suggest per cup or on demand brewing as much as possible because it makes a difference.   The coffee always just tastes better when brewed in smaller and fresher batches, what's smaller and fresher than a cup at a time?  We have many brew guides on the blog and even some helpful bits of barista info in shop you can pick up when you drop by, so don't hesitate to ask. 

We might also be the only roaster in the area with an all per cup bar as well but the biggest contrast is definitely the preground issue.  The reasons laid out are why it isn't an option on our online site nor in store, we hope you understand and look forward to your continued support.