Butterworth & Son's Robert Butterworth and Lauren Small share their expertise to create the best cup of coffee
Having worked in the coffee industry nearly all my life, a term often bandied about in the industry is ‘freshly roasted coffee’ and we at Butterworths sometimes are asked ‘is your coffee roasted to order’ or words to that effect. This is a little confusing and I feel it needs to be addressed. Lauren’s experience as a barista certainly will help explain this topic.
The coffee bean is a complex thing, it goes through a series of changes from its cherry form before it creates the perfect cup. One of these changes is extremely important for a consistent brew, and it only takes place after the coffee has been roasted – Robert Butterworth
Freshly roasted coffee may smell amazing, but it can be incredibly erratic and you won’t experience the full range of tasting notes and mouth feel you would once you have allowed your beans to ‘rest’.
Resting is when you leave your coffee to sit in the open air for a number of days, this allows the CO² that has built up from the roasting process to escape, and ultimately enhances every flavour to create the ideal coffee. So allowing your beans to de-gas will ensure that you have consistent quality when brewing. It is generally recommended to wait 7-10 days from the date of roasting before you brew with it if the coffee has been cooled, bagged and sealed in an airtight bag – Lauren Small
It is important to note, that at the highest levels in coffee, national and international competitions, of which we have had the experience to roast for, coffee will not be used by experienced/winning competitors if the coffee is literally fresh from roast. When Howard Barwick used our Peru Tunki coffee to achieve third place at the UK Barista Championships he would only use coffee that was at least 10 days from roast date to ensure maximum flavour development in the bean. Our highest level outlets, like FOLK, will also ensure they have stock that is rested and developed before using and to unlock the flavours? Grind your coffee when (and only when) needed.
So, buy beans in a sealed bag with a roast date on and try to open and begin using from 10 days up to three months from roast date. Once opened, reseal between uses and try to buy weekly for maximum flavour.
Rob owns Butterworth & Son coffee roasters and tea smiths, based on Moreton Hall
His job takes him around the world visiting coffee farms to source great coffees