Archive for March, 2009

Why is coffee storage so important?

Coffee beans part of a living plant, and as such, have a limited shelf life. Like most organic products, you can increase coffee beans life by storing them properly. More importantly – at least to most coffee enthusiasts – proper coffee storage preserves the flavor of the coffee. Coffee beans contain volatile oils – chemicals that give coffee its characteristic flavor. Those oils are released by the roasting process, and decay quickly once the coffee beans have been roasted. Grinding the coffee beans speeds up the flavor loss expedentialy. Because of the difference in the way that those oils behave, there are different methods of coffee storage that are best for coffee at the different times in its life.

To get the absolute best flavor from your coffee, it should be brewed within two weeks after roasting, and immediately after grinding. In fact, coffee beans are at there peak flavor about 48 hours after being roasted. This gives the oils time to come to the surface of the coffee beans. If you buy your coffee as fresh whole roasted coffee beans, you can make a point of looking for the date that the coffee was roasted – but you’ll seldom find it (at http://www.sonocoffeebeans.com we only roast your coffee the day we ship it to you so when you recieve it the coffee beans are at there peak freshness).

Coffee Beans Storage

Coffee roasters frequently are asked questions about coffee storage. Should coffee beans be stored in the The freezer? Away from sunlight? In a sealed container?

The truth is that there are many myths about coffee storage, some of them repeated often enough that they’ve been percieved as truth. The truths about coffee storage may surprise you.

Common Myths about Coffee Storage

What do you do with that two pounds of coffee that you just bought? If you ask that question most groups of people and usually at least one person will talk about storing your coffee in the freezer. Another will tell you to leave it in the vacuum stored bag it was bought in. A third will probably tell you to keep it in a glass container, and a fourth is sure to tell you that it really doesn’t matter at all. The truth is that each of these methods of coffee storage is the right answer – in certain conditions. Here are some tips on coffee buying and coffee storage from sono coffee and other coffee experts that will help you get a great tasting, fresh cup of coffee every time.

Coffee Buying Tips

The first rules of proper coffee storage have nothing to do with containers or temperatures. They have to do with how you buy your coffee.

1. If you can, buy from a local roaster who will tell you when the coffee was roasted. Then you know that you’re starting with fresh coffee.

2. Buy coffee in vacuum sealed bags or cans. Those lovely self serve coffee bean displays with a dozen different varieties of coffee beans are pretty to look at – but the bins allow air to attack the coffee beans, and you have no idea how long the beans have stood there.

3. Buy only a two week supply of coffee beans at a time if possible. After two weeks, even freshly roasted coffee will begin to lose its flavor, but will still be pretty good for 30 days.

Coffee Storage Tips

When considering coffee storage, keep in mind the two main enemies of fresh coffee flavor – air and moisture. Your coffee storage solutions should prevent either from getting at your coffee beans.

1. Don’t store ground coffee. Buy your whole coffee beans, and grind it when you’re ready to brew. If you do buy ground coffee for the convenience, store it at room temperature in an airtight container after it’s been opened. A ceramic canister with a vacuum seal is a good choice – but avoid clear glass. Sunlight and heat are not good for your coffee. If you store your coffee in a bag make sure it has a one way degassing valve because fresh coffee will degass and cause the bag to blow up and possible burst.

2. Store up to a one week supply of whole coffee beans in an airtight canister at room temperature. You can use those pretty ceramic canisters, but they’re really not necessary. Any canister that you can seal with an airtight seal is fine, including the can that you bought it in.

3. If you find yourself with more coffee than you’ll use in one week, you can store up to another week’s supply in the freezer – but you should take some precautions to keep the air and moisture away from it first. Here’s how to store coffee safely in your freezer:

– Put the beans in an airtight canister.
– Or – put the beans in a zippered plastic storage back. Whoosh out all the extra air, or use a straw to suck it out. Then wrap the bag in one or two layers of plastic wrap and finish up with a layer of aluminum foil.

– Either way, once you take the canister or package out of the freezer, don’t put it back in. Refreezing your coffee will only dehydrate it and hasten the flavor decay.

To your best coffee experience, Josh Schrock http://www.sonocoffeeshop.com


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Fill ‘er up with an unleaded espresso?

Scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno, researching the prospect of extracting oil from used coffee grounds report that the process is not that difficult. The cheap and environmentally friendly biofuel is abundant enough to potentially manufacture several hundred million gallons a year to power cars and trucks.

The idea was formed by accident says the chief researcher. “I had left my coffee out one night, and the next morning, I noticed that there was a kind of oil around the edge of the cup,” Mano Misra, a professor of engineering said. “Every cup of coffee has it. I decided to do some tests on the oil.”

The analysis proved that the grounds contained roughly 10 to 15 percent oil by weight. The researchers then extracted the oil with standard chemistry techniques and converted it to biodiesel.

For the study, the team collected leftover grounds of espressos, cappuccinos and other coffee preparations from the Starbucks coffee chain.

Being that the process is not particularly energy intensive, the researchers estimated that biodiesel could be produced for about a dollar a gallon.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the world’s coffee production is more than 7.2 million tons per year.

The study was first reported toward the end of last year in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Fill ‘er up with an unleaded cappuccino?

The resulting coffee-based fuel –which smells like java– is more stable than traditional biodiesel due to coffee’s high antioxidant content, according to the researchers.

“We have found that biodiesel created from spent coffee bean grounds is stable over a longer period of time than other forms of biodiesel that have been created from feed stocks such as soy and corn,” Misra said. “Biodiesel from spent coffee bean grounds is a low-cost ‘green’ form of fuel that shows a significant reduction of carbon dioxide emission. It’s an excellent source for biodiesel.”

One hurdle, Dr. Misra said, is in the organized collection of the spent coffee beans. Therefore, the researchers plan on setting up a pilot operation this year using waste from a local bulk roaster.

It won’t be a complete fix for reducing America’s dependence on oil, but it can be a help while at the same time providing a nice aroma for those in the vicinity. The researchers report that the exhaust actually smells like coffee.

“It won’t solve the world’s energy problem,” Dr. Misra said of his work. “But our objective is to take waste material and convert it to fuel.”


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More About Coffee Tasting (Cupping). Coffee Cupping at Home.

Cupping is how coffee tasters evaluate a coffees characteristics. If you are serious and want to learn more about the different traits of different coffees, here is an excellent way learn.

Just the fact that you are willing to learn means you’re well on your way to becoming a true coffee aficiando! So let’s get started.

First, you will need the following:


A few kinds of fresh, whole coffee beans. These can be found on our site @ http://www.sonocoffeebeans.com

Grinder(we highly recomend a burr grinder)

Tea kettle for near boiling water


Porcelain cups (8 oz.) for each coffee

Silver cuppers spoon (not neccessary but more precise)

A cup (for spitting the coffee out)

Aroma is a major component of taste, do your cupping where there are no strong, perfume-like smells in the air.
Here are the procedures for cupping :

1. Grind each different coffee beans to a medium-course ground similar to course sand or raw sugar. Do not grind coffee too fine or it will become over-extracted and taste bitter.
2. Fill cup with 2 heaping tablespoons of the ground coffee.
3. Add 6 oz. of nearly boiling water (about 200 degrees)
4. Steep for 2-3 minutes. The coffee should form a crust or “cap” on top of the water. While steeping, check the coffee for any sour smells. Sour smells are bad and could indicate old or rancid coffee.
5. Gently break the crust with your spoon by pushing the grounds back exposing the water. You should notice a fine-celled foam. If there is no foam, the coffee may not be fresh. Again smell the coffee because much of the fragrance is trapped under this crust. Pay extra attention to the fragrance because it is so important to the taste. As you continue to break the crust, the grounds will sink to the bottom of the cup.
6. Fill your spoon with the brewed coffee avoiding the floating grounds.
7. Slurp the coffee into your mouth with some force. This will mix air with the coffee and disperse it evenly throughout your mouth.
8. Swirl the coffee around your mouth to get a good feel for the overall flavor.
9. Spit the coffee out and rinse mouth with water before tasting another.

While you are tasting the coffee, here are the major characteristics you should be paying attention to:

Acidity – The sensation of dryness in the back and under the edges of your mouth. This is a desirable quality and not to be confused with sour (which is considered a bad quality of coffee). Acidity creates a lively, bright taste which without it, the coffee would taste flat.

Aroma – Without aroma, we could only taste sweet, sour, bitter and salty. This is where we get the subtle differences such as floral, nutty or fruity.

Body – The way the coffee feels in your mouth, its viscosity or heaviness. The best way to describe it is the comparison to how whole milk feels in your mouth compared to water. If you are unsure as to the level of body in the different coffees, add an equal amount of milk to each one and the one with the heavier body will retain more of its flavor when diluted.

Flavor – This is the overall perception of the three characteristics above. Flavor can be rich (full bodied), complex (multi-flavored), or balanced (no one characteristic over powers the other.

Here are some terms used to describe DESIRABLE flavor qualities:

Bright or dry – highly acidic leaving a dry aftertaste
Caramelly – caramel like or syrupy
Chocolaty – aftertaste similar to unsweetened chocolate or vanilla
Earthy – a soily-like quality (sometimes unfavorable)
Fragrant – an aroma ranging from floral to nutty to spicy, etc.
Fruity – having a citrus or berry scent
Mellow – a smooth taste lacking acidity but not flat
Nutty – similar to roasted nuts
Spicy – an exotic aroma of various spices
Sweet – a lack of harshness
Wild – a gamey flavor rarely, but sometimes considered favorable
Winy – aftertaste resembling a mature wine

Here are some terms used to describe UNDESIRABLE flavor qualities:

Bitter – aftertaste perceived on the back of the tongue
Bland – neutral in flavor
Carbony – burnt charcoal flavors
Earthy – a musty, soily-like quality
Flat – lacking aroma, acidity, and aftertaste
Grassy – aroma and taste of grass
Harsh – a caustic, raspy quality
Muddy – thick and flat
Musty – slightly stuffy smell (sometimes desirable in aged coffees)
Rubbery – a smell of burnt rubber
Sour – a tart flavor such as unripe fruit
Turpeny – a flavor resembling turpentine
Watery – a lack of body
Wild – a gamey flavor

Tasting the different coffee bean roasts

As coffee beans are roasted, they go from a sharper, more acidic taste, to a smoother more full bodied taste, and finally to a full bodied, almost charred taste. Here is a breakdown of the typical roasts followed by the flavor characteristics.


Light Roast (Light brown and dry surface): a bright, acidic taste.

Medium or Regular Roast (Milk chocolate brown with a dry surface): acidic and bright.

Full City or Dark Roast (Darker brown with a satin appearance): Slight bittersweet tang with less acidity.

French, Italian, or Espresso Roast (Dark chocolate with patches of oil): Very little acidity and noticeably bittersweet.

Dark French or Heavy (Almost black and very oily): Almost no acidity and very bittersweet.

We enjoy sharing with you. For more info visit our blog @ http://www.sonocoffeebeans.com/Blog/main.html

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Coffee is a brewed beverage prepared from roasted beans (seeds), commonly called coffee beans, of the coffee plant. Caffeinated coffee has a stimulating effect in humans. Today, coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide.

Coffee was first consumed in the ninth century, when it was discovered in the highlands of Ethiopia. From there, it spread to Egypt and Yemen, and by the 15th century, had reached Azerbaijan, Persia, Turkey, and northern Africa. From the Muslim world, coffee spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas.

Coffee berries, which contain the coffee bean, are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown species are robusta coffee beans and arabica coffee beans. These are cultivated in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The coffee beans are then roasted, undergoing several physical and chemical changes. They are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. The coffee beans are then ground and brewed to create the drink we call coffee. Coffee can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways.

Coffee has played an important role in many societies throughout modern history. In Africa and Yemen, it was used in religious ceremonies. As a result, the Ethiopian Church banned its secular consumption until the reign of Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia. It was banned in Ottoman Turkey in the 17th century for political reasons, and was associated with rebellious political activities in Europe.

Coffee beans are an important export commodity. In 2004, coffee was the top agricultural export for 12 countries, and in 2005, it was the world’s seventh-largest legal agricultural export by value.

Some controversy is associated with coffee cultivation and its impact on the environment. Many studies have examined the relationship between coffee consumption and certain medical conditions; whether the overall effects of coffee are positive or negative is still disputed.

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This is the story of how the humble coffee becomes a world celebrity. It’s not about the Labrador named Coffee Beans attached to the Sheriff’s Department sniffing drugs and bombs. It’s about “the” coffee beanswe are familiar with. It’s about the fragrant aroma that stimulates our senses in the morning. The tingling sensation we get when we take the first sip in the morning. How we manage to get an extra boost of energy whenever we feel tired and sleepy. Let us take some time to ponder the processes the coffee beans have to go through before it can be marketed.

Processing The Coffee Beans

After the coffee berries have been harvested, it needs to undergo a process where the flesh of the coffee berries is removed. The coffee berries are placed in special machines separating the flesh from the seed. This coffee seed is commonly called “coffee beans”. The coffee beans will now undergo a fermentation process for a period of time. This process is done in order to remove the slimy mucilage coating the coffee beans.

After the coffee beans have undergone the mandatory fermentation, they are thoroughly flushed with clean water. This process is to remove the foul smelling residue due to the fermentation process and the waste water is a main cause of pollutant.

The coffee beans are then dried under the sun or by machines, until the moisture level is about 10% before they can be packed for storage.

Another method of getting to the coffee beans without undergoing the fermentation process is to dry the whole berry in the sun. It normally takes about 10 to 14 days to complete the process with constant raking of the coffee beans to prevent mildew from forming. This method is popular and widely used by coffee producers where water is scarce. The dried flesh is then physically removed leaving only the coffee beans.

The dried coffee beans is then sorted and graded before they can be stored or shipped to buyers. At this stage, the coffee bean is called green coffee beans.

Sometimes the coffee beans will undergo an additional aging process. The reason for this is because when coffee was first introduced into Europe, the coffee beans have undergone a journey of about six months. Europeans have already developed a preference for this taste and therefore to simulate the taste, the coffee beans are further aged.

Roasting The Coffee Beans

Roasting is the final process the coffee beans have to undergo before they are commercially marketed. It is also possible to purchase un-roasted coffee beans that you can personally roast them yourself.

When the coffee beans are subjected to heat, there’s a chemical reaction happening within the coffee beans where the sugar and acid will begin to react releasing its aroma. The coffee beans will turn darker due to caramelized sucrose. When this happens, the coffee beans are quickly cooled to prevent damage to the coffee beans.

When roasting the green coffee beans, a lot of carbon dioxide is released as a by-product. The carbon dioxide helps to “seal” the coffee beans from loosing its flavor and aroma. Depending on how the coffee beans are stored, it may take some time before the optimum peak flavor. After reaching its peak, it will start loosing its flavor again.

If you are trying to roast your own coffee beans at home, be aware that you may not be successful during the first few times. You might over-burn your coffee beans during your first few tries. Never be discouraged, but try until you get the taste and flavor that appeals to you. Remember to process in small amounts to maintain freshness of your coffee.

Grinding The Coffee Beans

Before the roasted coffee beans can be used, you need to grind the coffee beans first. The coarseness of your coffee depends on your preference and the type of coffee-brewing method. It can range from coarse to very fine as in the Turkish grind. For example, if you’re using a percolator, a course coffee powder is suitable but if you are using an Espresso machines, an extra fine coffee powder is required.


The coffee beans have to undergo a string of processes before it can be consumed. The final flavor of the coffee depends on the journey the coffee beans take in order to reach its final form. Different methods and different techniques will give rise to a varied coffee flavor. This is the reason why there are so many flavors to the simple coffee bean.

Many flavored and origin coffee beans are available @ Sono Coffee. We might be bias but we think our coffee beans are the best.


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