Can Coffee be TOO Fresh? The Importance of Degassing Coffee

We’ve talked about the importance of fresh coffee ad nauseum here at Fratello Coffee. It’s coffee 101 to use up your beans within 2-4 weeks of roasting. But did you know that coffee can actually be too fresh? It may sound a little contradictory, but drinking too-fresh coffee can be less than tasty. This is where degassing coffee comes in.

Probat coffee roaster

In the coffee world, degassing is crucial after roasting. Coffee straight off the roaster can taste a bit jarring. Hardcore coffee lovers find extra-fresh coffee exciting, but the average coffee drinker will be a bit offput by the flavour.

Whether you make filter coffee at home or work in the coffee business, degassing coffee is key to making tasty coffee. Let’s take a look at the composition of fresh coffee and explore why it’s so important to give coffee a rest.

Why degassing coffee is necessary

When coffee beans are being roasted, the beans produce and trap carbon dioxide. Most of the CO2 dissipates from the coffee while it’s being roasted, but the coffee will retain a significant amount of it. CO2 is a natural byproduct of roasted coffee, but in large amounts, it can make the coffee taste bad. Extra fresh coffee will have a sour, vegetal, even carbonated taste. This can distract from the desirable flavour notes of the bean. 

After roasting, experts in the coffee industry recommend you rest, or “age”, your coffee for a few days before brewing. Lighter roasted beans are denser, and therefore retain a lot more CO2 than darker roasts. The lighter the roast, the longer it needs to rest.

There will still be CO2 in coffee even after the coffee has rested, but in smaller amounts. Have you ever wondered why pour over recipes tell you to “bloom” your coffee? It's because pouring a bit of hot water on the grinds allows the gasses to dissipate, improving the flavour of the coffee.

Slayer Espresso

Does aged coffee make a better espresso?

While degassing is important no matter what method you’re using, it’s particularly important for espresso. Because espresso introduces pressure, it’s a lot easier for those gasses to end up in the shot, altering the flavour. And, because third-wave espresso bars tend to serve light and medium roast espresso, aging is crucial.

Giving the coffee time to degas will let you taste the true characteristics of the coffee. You won’t have that overpowering CO2 flavour distracting your taste buds.

It’s important to realize that the “crema” layer (the caramel-coloured layer on top of the espresso) is overrated. While it may look delicious and make stunning latte art, it can make a bitter tasting drink. An ultra-thick crema layer indicates right away that your beans are still too fresh. Aging the coffee will make for a thinner crema layer, but the flavour will be much better.

How to degas coffee after roasting

Degassing coffee is simply a question of resting the coffee and leaving it alone for a few days. There’s no special technique–just let it sit undisturbed with minimal exposure to light, heat, and moisture. It should be left in an opaque container with a clearly-marked roast date so you know when to start using it.

espresso shot

How long should I degas the coffee?

How long you age your coffee depends on two things: the brew method you’re using, and the roast level.

When it comes to drip or filter coffee, it’s a good idea to rest your coffee for 2-8 days before using it. Lighter roasts can rest for 4-8 days, and darker roasts can rest for 2-4 days.

When it comes to espresso, you’ll want to wait longer. If you’re using a light roast, you’ll want to rest the coffee for 10 days. If you’re using a medium roast, rest it for 8-10 days. If you’re using a dark roast for your espresso, it should only rest for about 2 days. Dark roast coffees are porous, and you should be more concerned about using them up before they go stale. 

For further information on coffee storage, please refer to our blog post: 5 Ways to Keep your Beans Fresh

How can I degas coffee quickly?

We don’t recommend trying to speed up the degassing process. If you try to prematurely degas the coffee by exposing it to air and light, you’ll only damage it and make it go stale. Have patience!

If you run an espresso bar and you want to serve perfectly aged coffee at all times, do a bit of planning. It’s a good idea to have extra stock of your most popular espresso blend so you don’t have to wait for it to degas. 

espresso shot

What’s the point of the degassing valve?

On most coffee bags, you’ll see a circle with holes. That’s the degassing valve. While most people think that’s some kind of gadget for smelling the coffee, it actually serves a very important, practical purpose. It stops the bag of beans from exploding!

Freshly roasted beans contain enough CO2 to puff, and even explode, the bag. The valve is a one-way channel, letting CO2 exit without allowing outside air to enter the bag.

The purpose of degassing valves became abundantly clear after a 2019 incident with a popular California roaster. The renowned Blue Bottle Coffee had to recall their coffee, which was packed in airtight tins, after 13 people were injured. 

coffee beans

Fresh to death

Degassing your coffee is a great tool to have in your back pocket if you run an espresso bar. It’s a system you can implement early on to take your espresso from good to great. When it comes to making great coffee, there’s no one single recipe for perfection. Making great coffee requires curiosity, and it’s a journey of learning as you go.

If you’re looking to improve your overall espresso game, check out our previous post about pulling a perfect shot of espresso. If you’re in the coffee business and need more support, book a consultation with us by dropping us a line at




Starting a Gratitude Journal : The Science of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a great reminder to be thankful for what we have, but science tells us that gratitude is important year-round. The act of practising gratitude is great for our overall health.  Intentionally going out of our way to bring to mind the things we’re grateful for helps us stay healthy and happy. 

Happy couple

Studies show that keeping a gratitude journal can ease depression and anxiety and actually improve your physical health. Neuroscience shows that the brain is a lot more changeable than previously thought, and carrying out practises actually creates new pathways, or “rewires” our brains. (You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!)

In today’s day and age, there are constant stressors all around us. Raising kids, full-time work, and excessive screen time can all bring our moods down and make us constantly feel stressed out. Not only does stress affect our quality of life, but studies show it actually makes us sick. Higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that upticks when we’re feeling stressed, has been linked to cancer and heart disease. Starting a gratitude journal eases a lot of this stress. 

Let’s take a look at how practising gratitude affects the brain. 

Gratitude Journal

Your brain on gratitude

The modern human is not subject to the same stressors as in the past. We no longer have to defend against bears and tigers or hunt and gather to provide food for our families. The modern human still has the fight-or-flight response, but it’s triggered by other things. Things like work stress, gridlock, and overdue bills can all get our heart racing and our cortisol flowing. 

While danger looks a little different now, humans are hard-wired to look for danger at every turn.

While this may have helped us escape real danger when we were hunter-gatherers, it doesn’t serve us anymore. Just because negative, catastrophizing thought patterns are our default, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.

Humans can inject positive thinking into their brains, achieving a state of calm and well-being. The more we introduce positive thoughts into our brains, the more we flex this positivity muscle.

Similar to mindfulness, where we practise focusing on the present to achieve calm, practising gratitude creates equally strong pathways. Check out our post about parental burnout to learn more ways to deal with anxiety and stress. 

Practising gratitude has some real benefits and changes our brains in many ways. Gratitude can decrease materialism, help us work through personal problems, fight disease and sickness, and decrease feelings of envy and resentment.

journaling

How to practise gratitude

There are various ways that you can practise gratitude, and they all involve a pen and paper. 

A common gratitude journal exercise is to name 3 things you’re grateful for. Then, elaborate on those 3 things and muse about what life would be like without them. It can be anything from a supportive spouse, to a roof over your head, to your brand new dishwasher. 

You can also pick one thing that you’re grateful for, and take time to explore why you’re grateful for it. Let’s take running water, for example. Running water keeps you hydrated, saves you the effort and time of having to fetch it from the lake, allows you to bathe and brush your teeth, and waters your flowers. 

While it may sound like child’s play, you’ll notice a shift in your thinking after a few weeks of doing this consistently.

I don’t have time to write a gratitude journal!

It can be hard to justify the practise when you’re skeptical of it in the first place. You’ll reap the most benefits if you spend about 30 minutes everyday. However, even doing it 5 minutes a day can have a profound effect. When you’re first starting out, start small so you can realistically commit to the practise everyday. Deciding when and where you’re going to complete your gratitude journal can help you stay committed, too. 

If you’re a busy parent and your life gets busy in the evening, commit to waking up 5 minutes earlier than usual to complete your journal. 

If you plan to do your journal on the train or at your office desk, write in a pocket-sized notebook that’s easy to toss in your bag. If you prefer to journal digitally, you can keep a note in your phone, or you can even use a gratitude journal app

How long do I have to carry on with this practise?

When it comes to mindset work, such as practising gratitude or mindfulness, you should never stop! Think of a gratitude journal like working out or practising an instrument. When you stop working out for a while, you quickly run out of breath when you try to get back into it. Then, you have to play catch-up to get fit again. It’s the exact same thing with practising gratitude, and you should aim to stay “fit” your whole life. 

It might sound like a drag to have to do this constantly to reap the benefits. But choosing a set time, day of the week, and place to do it will significantly increase your chances of sticking to your routine. It’s actually more beneficial to practise it in short bursts over a period of time than it is to binge-practise it for hours all at once. Consistency is key. 

You don’t have to do it every single day if you don’t want to. But if you’re giving yourself a rest, make sure you do it consistently. For example, choose Sunday as your rest day instead of randomly taking off-days as you need them. 

be thankful

The greatest gift of all

Sometimes life will present unfair, cruel circumstances. On the other hand, you can have everything you could ever want in the world, and still be unhappy and unfulfilled. Living joyfully doesn’t happen by accident or to those who can afford it; it happens to those who are intentional. You have to have the imagination and the diligence to live the life you want. 

Let this Thanksgiving be the year you start your gratitude journal, and never look back!

Looking for more health & wellness content? Check out our previous post about drinking turmeric for health benefits