Try This Bag Trick To Check If Your Coffee Beans Are Still Fresh

For many, a freshly brewed cup of coffee is the highlight of the morning. Many brewing methods can achieve delicious results, but regardless of the equipment you use, it all starts with the beans. Of course, the coffee's source and subsequent roasting are crucial characteristics. However, like with other foods and beverages, it's necessary to check for freshness, too.

You'll want to look for the roast date when buying your next bag of coffee. This lets you know how long the product has been on the shelves. Note that you don't want to consume it right after roasting, but rather give it at least a couple of days. This is due to carbon dioxide gas that is trapped inside the beans during roasting. It'll need some time to dissipate, or else the extraction won't be consistent. However, wait too long, and all the carbon dioxide will escape, the coffee will oxidize and lose flavor. 

The timeline of this process differs based on the exact bean and roast you select, so we suggest using a simple bag trick to check the freshness of any coffee. All that's necessary is to place half a cup of beans into a sealed bag and rest the beans overnight. If the container inflates, there's still carbon dioxide, meaning the coffee will be tasty to drink.

Check coffee for carbon dioxide to guarantee freshness

Brewing a cup of joe with stale beans isn't the end of the world; the coffee will still be good to drink, it'll just have a flat flavor. In fact, many of the mega-coffee retailers distribute stale coffee and accordingly don't release their roast date.

So, if you're just after convenience, there's no need to reach for such a freshness trick. Pinpointing the coffee's gas state — both too much and too little — is more critical for serious enthusiasts. An abundance of gas buildup is especially pertinent for those with an espresso machine, as excess carbon dioxide will affect the shot pull. You'll also notice it when crafting a pour-over; releasing the gas is called blooming, which impacts the flavor.

Conversely, some leftover carbon dioxide is advantageous, an indicator of freshness. It's the reason coffee tastes better freshly ground and should be stored inside an airtight container. So, to ensure the beans haven't gone bad, employ this simple bag trick.