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Science Finally Uncovers Coffee's Genetic Code

Scientists have finally managed to sequence the coffee bean genome, a significant technical breakthrough that, as well as giving us new insights into one of our favourite drinks, opens the door to genetic engineering.

GM Coffee

Around sixty international scientists and researchers worked on the project  to pinpoint all the genes that make up the Robusta coffee bean, the variety that makes up around 35 percent of the world’s coffee consumption. Other groups of researchers are still working on sequencing the more complex Arabica variety, which contains approximately twice the amount of genetic information as Robusta.

An unexpected discovery was made by the team in the process, however. The Robusta bean’s method of producing caffeine is completely different to the method used by the cocoa bean, implying that the two don’t have a common ancestor. It seems that pollinators like bees are more drawn to coffee plants than some other caffeine-bearing species, and it is the caffeine that draws these pollinators to keep coming back, ensuring the survival of the species. All clever stuff.

So what’s the point in sequencing the Robusta genome you may be asking? One reason is that if we know how the plants produces its’ caffeine in the first place, it could be possible to create a genetically modified bean containing no caffeine. This would mean that coffee beans wouldn’t have to go through the decaffeination process at all, they could just be grown to produce no caffeine, a bit like producing seedless grapes.

Of course, the very thought of growing GM coffee beans is bound to be unpopular with some, proven by the fact that a number of GMO coffee crops designed to be pest-resistant have already been vandalised or even destroyed in South America and Hawaii. However, the opposite argument is that genetically modified coffee bean crops, together with other plant-breeding technology may be the only realistic way for us to continue producing the volumes we need. Global warming, fungus and pests are causing increasing problems in some parts of the world, and diminishing crops in some parts of the world together with an expected continuation of the growth in consumption could ultimately lead to a shortage and therefore an increase in prices.

Starbucks (SBUX), Nestle (NESN:VX) and others are already taking precautions against such an eventuality, according to a recent article in Bloomberg Business Week. They have been involved in developing hardier varieties that are more resistant to pests and climatic extremes, and are aiming to distribute over 200 million plantlets to coffee growing regions within the next 6 years.

World Coffee Research is now attempting to decode the genome of nearly 1000 Arabica samples taken in the 50s and 60s to determine which strains can be crossbred to produce the hardiest plants. The hope is that the project with lead to the production of Arabica coffee plants that are more resistant to pests, rust, worms and disease and generate a yield of quality coffee beans without the risks of a failed crop.

So the sequencing of the Robusta genetic code is the first step in this process, as it’s a more simple type of the same basic plant, and is a huge leap forward in this particular field of research. The World Coffee Research blog post stated that having just half of the Arabica bean’s genome will accelerate their progress in breeding varieties that can withstand climate change and disease better than the crops we currently rely on.

One thing is certain – without the work of our scientists and researchers, we could be running short of coffee in the not-so-distant future. Not a future that bears thinking about!

A1 Coffee

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Choosing The Right Coffee Machine

From filter coffee makers to traditional espresso machines, the range of coffee equipment available can be overwhelming. However, if you have just a little essential knowledge, you can easily navigate the world of coffee machines and get the right machine for you.

Not so long ago, making a cup of coffee was no more complicated than deciding on your favourite brand of instant coffee and boiling a kettle. How things have changed! The proliferation of coffee shops throughout the world has made us all more particular in what we choose to drink. Not content with drinking lattes and cappuccinos in our local coffee shop, an incredible 20% of UK households now own a coffee machine so we can enjoy our favourite creation at home.

So here is our easy to follow guide on how to choose the right type of coffee machine for you.

There are a number of basic ways to make coffee, and depending on your own preference, some will be more suitable to you than others. Let’s take a look at the main types of coffee machine on the market.



Without doubt the cheapest way to make ‘proper’ coffee, a cafetiere is a glass or plastic jug with a plunger mechanism built in. You simply add boiling water to the ground coffee you’ve placed in the cafetiere, allow it to brew for a short time and then press down on the plunger to push all the coffee grounds to the bottom. Easy!

For:  Make decent coffee from about £10 upwards, portable, no power supply needed (other than boiling water).

Against:  You can’t make espresso, latte or cappuccinos, similar to filter coffee makers.


Filter Coffee Machines

Available for both homes and businesses, all filter coffee machines work in the same way. Cold water is poured in the top, and it’s then heated and dripped through a filter paper containing your ground coffee. The finished jug of coffee sits on a hotplate, keeping it warm so you can keep coming back for refills.

For:  Easy to use, coffee can be kept hot for hours, low price of machines.

Against:  You can only make one type of coffee – no espressos, lattes or cappuccinos. Filter coffee flavoured with syrups are not to everyone’s taste.


Capsule Coffee Machines

Available from most High Street department stores, there is now a huge range of great little machines to choose from. The coffee is pre-measured and packed in foil capsules that you place into the machine, and the rest is usually done at the touch of a button. They’re normally a doddle to clean and the coffee is often very good quality, especially if you’ve gone with a branded coffee such as Lavazza.

For:  Wide range of machines, make most types of coffee from espresso to lattes, easy to clean.

Against:  You can only use your manufacturer’s pods, and so they tend to be expensive. 


Pump Espresso Machines

These are small, normally domestic, espresso machines that contain a high-pressure pump to produce an espresso which you can then use as the base for lots of other drinks including macchiatos, lattes and cappuccinos. Available in High Street stores from around £100, though at this price don’t expect a machine that will last for years.

For:  Make a wide range of espresso-based drinks, low price, not limited to a small range of coffee

Against:  Low priced machines can have short life spans, can be fiddly to clean


Traditional Espresso Machines

These are the larger commercial espresso machines you will recognise from High Street coffee houses such as Costa and Starbucks. Designed to be used all day long and give many years of service, they are expensive and bulky, making them unsuitable for domestic use. However, in recent years, some manufacturers have made smaller slimline units that could be used at home, provided your pockets are deep enough. And don’t forget you’ll need a grinder too.

For:  This is how coffee should be made, reliable and long lasting machines

Against:  Expensive, suitable for commercial use


Bean To Cup Coffee Machines

Bean to cup machines contain an integral grinder and espresso machine that are automated in such a way that you can pour your beans in the top, press a button and get an espresso straight into your cup. This means that no barista knowledge is needed and there’s no need for a separate grinder, making them space efficient too. However, having everything in one box means there’s more to go wrong, particularly in cheaper machines where some of the internal components are built down to a price.

For:  Freshly ground coffee from one piece of kit, no barista knowledge needed

Against:  More to go wrong, can be fiddly to clean, cheap machines can be unreliable



While we appreciate that there are many other ways of making coffee not covered in this article, we’ve tried to keep it simple. Some people we speak with are unaware of which type of machine best suits them, and without doubt many people have either made the wrong decision or been given poor advice, leaving them with a machine that’s not suitable for their needs.

When choosing a machine, don’t forget to also look at the ease of cleaning, the warranty cover you will get, and how easy they are to use. Review websites and online forums are a great source of opinion from people who already have the equipment you may be considering buying, so spend some time seeing what others before you have experienced.

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Coffee Cultures From Around The World

Here in the UK, we’ve developed a taste in recent years for cappuccinos, lattes, espressos and mochas that just a few decades ago, were completely absent from the High Street. As a result, many people assume this is how the rest of the world drink their coffee and some get a real shock when they travel abroad to find that their request for their favourite skinny caramel latte is met with a blank expression!

So how is coffee consumed in other countries around the world? We’ve taken some countries at random where coffee is taken seriously, and compared them to ourselves. Take a look and see how varied some of these coffee cultures are, and feel free to let us know about your own experiences when travelling overseas.

1.   France Café au Lait

This famous drink (simply coffee served with hot milk in a mug or large cup) made it to the shores of the UK some time ago. This is consumed at breakfast time, and is traditionally served in a cup wide enough to allow a croissant to be dunked in. Available pretty much anywhere and about as basic as a coffee recipe can be (except for the croissant of course). They have joined the rest of the world in recent years, with the familiar Starbucks outlets in every major town.

2.   Italy Cappuccino, Latte, Mocha, Ristretto, Macchiato

It’s fair to say that the Italians know a bit about coffee, and are responsible for many of the Italian-sounding concoctions you’ll see in any branch of Costa. Not that you’ll find a branch of Costa in Italy though, they don’t do chains of coffee shops, preferring family run bars and cafes instead. They don’t actually drink latte (which literally just means ‘milk’) and rarely add syrups, whipped cream and other such flavourings, preferring instead to drink mostly espressos.

Most of the best known brands of coffee beans are Italian, such as Lavazza, Segafredo and Illy.

Italy Coffee

And don’t order a cappuccino after midday unless you want the barista to roll his eyes or just point-blank refuse – it’s considered to be something only drunk at breakfast time, usually with a sweet croissant or pastry. After midday, it’s espresso or macchiato unless you’re a tourist. Italians drinks around 14 billion espressos each year!

3.   Turkey

Turkish coffee is rarely seen in the UK, mainly because it’s so far removed from what we here would call a cup of coffee. It’s usually served from a long-handled copperpot in small cups about the size of an espresso, and is thick, black and extremely sweet. Turkish citizens who come here to live or work in the UK won’t find any coffee widely available that will remind them of home, and so they often drink espresso or ristretto with lots of sugar, or simply make traditional Turkish coffee themselves at home.

4.   Cuba

Another nation that prefers its coffee thick and strong is Cuba. Here though, it’s very much a social event consumed in a similar way to alcoholic shots, but in no way limited to the evenings. Many Cubans enjoy their coffee first thing in the morning, throughout the day and particularly after meals. It’s not quite as strong as the Turkish brew however, and is quite acceptable to Europeans palates.

5.   Ethiopia

The Ethiopians should know a bit about coffee – their country is the birthplace of the stuff. They do take it pretty seriously too, with the traditional brewing process of ‘Buna’ as it’s known, taking anything up to 2 hours. It’s a social thing here, drunk with guests and friends and served with salt or butter instead of milk (which isn’t always available).

Many other countries drink their coffee in forms that would seem strange to us here in the UK. In Japan for instance, coffee in cans is extremely popular and has been for decades. It’s available from vending machines in both hot and cold forms, allowing busy commuters the chance to grab one on the go.

In Saudi Arabia and other Arabic cultures, coffee ceremonies follow many rules of etiquette, including always serving the elders first. It is also a common custom to serve this a cardamom-spiced coffee with dried fruit such as dates, partly to compensate for the bitterness of the coffee.

In Mexico, Café de olla is a spiced coffee brewed with cinnamon sticks in earthenware pots. Not to everyone’s taste, the Mexicans say it brings out the taste of the coffee. Each to their own of course!

Mexican Coffee

In Vietnam, they have been drinking iced coffee for years. Unlike us, however, they like theirs made with very dark roasted beans and sweetened using condensed milk.   

Australia. Ever since an influx of Italian immigrants after World War 2, Australians have been drinking coffee like the Italians and enjoying a real café culture of their own. The now world famous flat white originated here (see our article on how to make one), though don’t mention this if you are visiting New Zealand – they also claim to have invented it!

Last but not least, our cousins in the US are prolific coffee drinkers thanks to chains such as Starbucks. While the menu in a US branch of Starbucks is little different to one here, they do like filter coffee more than we do, and take their frappes and iced drinks with far more cream, sugar and chocolate sauce than many European countries.

Starbucks Frappuccino

It seems that no two countries have exactly the same taste when it comes to coffee, and this should be considered a good thing. We have absorbed a wide variety coffee drinks from Italy, France, Australia and the USA, and if we hadn’t, we might still all be drinking instant!  



0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Lavazza Coffee Buying Guide

25 Jun 2014 13:51:38

Lavazza Coffee Guide

A1 Coffee, March 2019.

Lavazza Coffee

Shopping for espresso coffee beans can be a baffling experience unless you already know what you’re looking for. We stock a range of premium brands of coffee including Lavazza, and we are one of the leading distributors in the UK.  

We therefore decided to put together this easy-to-follow guide to help you choose the right Lavazza coffee for you. Please note this isn’t an advert or a buyers’ guide, simply an explanation of the origins, flavour and suitability of the range of Lavazza coffee beans.

To be honest, it doesn’t really matter whether you are buying coffee beans for use in your coffee shop or just to enjoy at home, the principal is the same – if it tastes good to you, it should taste good to your customers too. The only thing to factor in is the price – you may be prepared to pay that little bit more for what you drink at home, for obvious reasons.

Another point to make before we describe these great Lavazza coffees is that taste can’t be measured. We are often asked whether one blend tastes better than another, and the answer always has to be that taste is a subjective thing, what one person loves another may dislike and vice versa. We can of course use quality as a guide, but as an example, my personal favourite and the blend often recommended by Lavazza is not the most expensive in their range. We’ll therefore stick with the facts rather than try to tell you how great we think it tastes to us.

Lavazza coffee beans are broadly split into two different categories, those in red bags and those in blue bags. Lavazza red tends to be found more in cash and carries, supermarkets and high street shops. Lavazza blue is a more premium range aimed at coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and so on. We only sell the Lavazza blue range so we’ll only be talking about those in this article. There are also some newer blends which are in coloured bags, including Alteco and Brasile Arabica.

Lavazza Super Crema

Super Crema has always been our best selling coffee beans as it offers the best balance between price and quality. It’s also a bit of an all-rounder in that you can make pretty much any type of coffee with it and it will still work. Make an espresso with it and you’ll get a thick crema (as the name would suggest), but try a long latte with two sugars and a shot of caramel syrup and it will still taste of coffee, unlike some other blends that get overpowered.

Super Crema is blended from washed Brazilian coffee beans to give it depth, and other varieties from Central America and Indonesia, to give it the creamy texture it’s known for. It’s medium roasted as you’d expect, so it’s neither too mild nor burnt and bitter. If you’re looking for Lavazza coffee beans, we would always recommend this blend unless you have a specific reason to be using anything else.


Lavazza Grand Espresso

This is one of the best sellers here in the UK. It’s blended from Central American, Highland South American and Asian beans to give it a balanced flavour and is medium roasted to produce a coffee that has a stronger than average taste. There are hints of spice and chocolate, brought out by the roasting process. Like all Lavazza blue coffee beans, it’s suitable for making pretty much all espresso-based coffee drinks, but is particularly suited to straight espresso or macchiatos. 


Lavazza Tierra

Lavazza don’t have a Fairtrade coffee in their range, preferring instead to have control over where the money is going and doing it their own way. Lavazza Tierra is a sustainable development project combining product quality with improved living conditions for the three small-scale coffee growing communities involved.

What they’ve done is single out three disadvantaged coffee producing communities in Honduras, Colombia and Peru and then provides technical assistance to help make their farms sustainable. The communities are in medium to high altitude areas and produce only Arabica beans, resulting in a blend that, on paper at least, is about as good as it gets. The Tierra beans instead of being Fairtrade still have that feel-good factor thanks to this initiative, and this is reinforced by their use of 30% Rainforest Alliance certified beans in the Tierra blend.

Lavazza’s own description of this blend is that it’s composed of Central and South American Arabica mild beans with the aroma and intense, liquorish flavours of Central American coffee beans combined with the delicate acidic aroma of South American beans. Mellow and thick crema.

Most opinion out there on coffee forums and social media seems to agree that it’s got a dark and high-roasted taste to it that suits drinks like macchiatos, flat whites and cortados in particular. If you’re looking for an espresso, the Super Crema will do the job just as well but at a lower price, unless of course its ethical credentials are more important to you. It’s a seriously good coffee but has split opinion amongst coffee drinkers over its taste, so we’d recommend you try it first before committing to larger quantities in case it’s not your cup of tea (apologies).  


Lavazza Pienaroma

Pienaroma is the most expensive blend of Lavazza coffee beans that we have at A1 Coffee and it’s certainly something pretty special. What they’ve done with this one is blend together just two varieties – Arabica beans from the very best high altitude Brazilian plantations, and more fragrant and mild Arabicas from the highlands of Central America. This satisfies those who only want 100% Arabica beans in their coffee, and also results in a blend that is really velvety smooth and quite mild with very low acidity.

According to our customers and to what is said on coffee forums, Lavazza Pienaroma is best suited to milky coffee drinks rather than espressos and short coffees. This is of course a matter of personal taste as we have used it to make espresso and found it to be at least as good as the Super Crema. It does work very well with milk though, so if you want to make a really outstanding latte, it’s definitely one to consider.

Lavazza Coffee

Lavazza Crema e Aroma

This is broadly similar in taste and price to Super Crema with a slightly lighter and fruitier aftertaste. Like many blends, it’s made using Robusta and Arabica beans. Unlike some other blends however, the Robusta beans are of a very high quality while the Arabicas are a mix of both washed and unwashed beans.

We’ve found this to be the nearest to Super Crema in the Lavazza range with a really classy flavour that you’d expect from a far more expensive blend. It’s got quite a heavy taste, presumably due to the presence of the Robusta, and is therefore a good choice for coffees served with flavouring syrups, and also for iced coffee. Again, this one is medium roasted.


Lavazza Gold Selection

In coffee terms, Gold Selection is something pretty special. We’ve used this many times and found it to be the best quality coffee in the Lavazza range. Common opinion out there online seems to back this up, and we know that Lavazza themselves recommend this coffee highly and with good reason. Like the Super Crema, you can do pretty much anything to it and it will still come out tasting of good coffee – even if you’re loading it with lots of milk and sugar, flavouring syrups and so on, the flavour of the coffee is never overpowered. The great balance with this one is that it also tastes good as an espresso, though it does work particularly well with milk.

The beans themselves are a mixture of natural and washed coffee beans grown on selected plantations in Brazil, Central America and Asia. These plantations have been selected for their production of sweet coffees, resulting in a rounded and well balanced flavour. Lavazza say there is a chocolaty aftertaste with this which doesn’t really do it justice – the slight taste of chocolate is there but it’s one of those that you really have to try to appreciate it. Not the most expensive in the range, but as a result, it could well be the best value.

Not such a heavy body as the Crema e Aroma or Tierra, and again, medium roasted like most Lavazza blends.


Lavazza Top Class

This one has a flavour that we’ve found to be about halfway between the Tierra and the Gold Selection, in that it has a chocolaty aftertaste along with a heavier body and stronger taste than the Super Crema. It’s what a lot of people describe as a ‘continental flavour’ (whatever that is!) and is definitely one of the strongest in the Lavazza range.

The beans are sourced from far and wide with this one, with sweeter beans coming from Asia and the milds coming from both Central America and Brazil. It’s medium roasted and seems to be best suited to shorter coffee drinks including ristretto, espresso, flat white, cortado and macchiato. We have a lot of customers who have spent time in Italy, Spain and Greece in the past who insist on Top Class as it’s nearer to the taste that they’ve become used to overseas.


Lavazza Gran Riserva

Lavazza Gran Riserva is premium blend of coffee with a consistent and velvety crema and a rich and rounded aroma. It has delicate liqueur-like notes and a sweet, intense and persistent after taste.

Gran Riserva has been expertly blended using Brazilian beans from the Cerrado, Mogiana and South Minas regions, plus washed beans from Colombia and Guatemala. The addition of Indian Cru Kaapi Royale completes the blend and gives this amazing coffee a complex and distinctive flavour. 

  • Composition: 80% Arabica - 20% Robusta
  • Prevalent notes: liqueur-like with roasted notes
  • Body: ★★★★☆
  • Aroma: ★★★★★
  • Roasting: Medium-dark


Lavazza Dek Beans

Always left until last in any list of coffee descriptions, this is a little unfair in the case of Lavazza Dek as, despite being a decaf and brushed aside by coffee enthusiasts, is a genuinely great coffee in its’ own right.

Lavazza Dek is a water-processed decaffeinated coffee, meaning it’s not been through a decaf process that uses nasty chemicals, and it’s therefore not got the unpleasant aftertaste that used to give decaf such a bad name. It’s also made using 100% Arabica coffee beans, so it produces a good crema and has the aroma and taste that goes with a premium brand coffee. The Arabica content means it’s particularly well suited for espresso-based drinks with a high milk content such as lattes and cappuccino, and also works well with flavouring syrups.


We hope this list of descriptions goes some way to helping you choose the right Lavazza coffee beans for you. Remember you can always call us if you want more information, and feel free to read this in conjunction with other guides published online to help you build us a balanced picture. We hope you’ll soon be enjoying Lavazza coffee!

If you haven't decided whether Lavazza is right for you, don't forget that we also stock other brands including Planet Java which is our very own in house range of coffees offering the perfect balance of quality and price.  

David Huggett

March 2019


0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Top 10 Uses For Coffee Grounds

1 May 2014 11:46:55

Uses For Coffee Grounds

Uses For Coffee Grounds

As I work in a coffee company surrounded by coffee all day, it stands to reason that I drink a lot of coffee. At home, I drink espresso and so I often have coffee grounds going in the bin. Not any more though.

Are there many uses for coffee grounds? Most people already know they’re good for plants, while some of these other uses might surprise you!  We’ve compiled some great information from trusted sites and sources so you can get the most out of them. The first few are gardening-related as you would expect, and then there’s some more unusual ones….

A1 Coffee’s Top 10 Uses For Your Coffee Grounds

1.       Add coffee grounds to your compost. Coffee grounds can accelerate the decomposing process in compost. Just add a teaspoon of lime for every 3 kilos of coffee grounds and keep the size of your compost heap quite small.

2.       Add coffee grounds to plants that need a pH of 3.0 to 5.0. Adding coffee grounds to blueberries, cranberries and most citrus fruits, works wonders. Other plants that love coffee are camellias, gardenias and rhododendrons.

3.       Use coffee grounds to make a liquid plant feed. Add a handful of coffee grounds to a bucket of fresh water and leave for a couple of days until you have a lovely amber-colored liquid feed. Apply to your plants as required.

Uses For Coffee Grounds

4.       Use coffee grounds to deter garden pests.  Snails and slugs hate coffee grounds sprinkled around plants, making it perfect for deterring them while feeding your soil at the same time.

5.       Make a body scrub.  Simply add some coffee grounds to coconut oil and a little brown sugar and you have a cheap and effective body scrub for use in the bath or shower.

Uses For Coffee Grounds

6.       Get rid of smells.  Scrubbing your hands with coffee grounds is a really effective way of removing the smell of onions and garlic from your hands after preparing food.

7.       Fireplaces.  If you’re lucky enough to have an open fire, sprinkling wet coffee grounds over your ashes before sweeping them up ensures you don’t end up with ash on your carpet or going into the air.

8.      Keep your fridge fresh. Strange as it may sound, coffee grounds act the same as baking soda in the refrigerator. Put a cup of old grounds in the back of your fridge to keep it fresh.
9.       Fishing bait. If you are a keen angler, you may already have heard of this one. Keeping your worms in coffee grounds keeps them fresh for longer.
10.   Dog flea repellent. Adding coffee grounds to the bath water when you’re bathing your dog is said to help repel fleas.

We’ve collated this list from a number of different sources, and as you’ll appreciate, we haven’t been able to verify all of them. Bathing a dog in the office isn’t the most practical thing in the world! So please don’t rub coffee grounds in your eyes based on anything we’ve said. I did that once by accident and it wasn’t much fun……

Read more coffee stories at

A1 Coffee - May 2014

Uses For Coffee Grounds

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Amazing Latte Art

23 Apr 2014 11:42:35

Some Incredible Latte Art Pictures

We just had to share some of these pictures with you. Anyone who has tried latte art will know how difficult it is, so these are truly impressive. Imagine being served some of these....

Latte ArtLatte ArtLatte ArtLatte ArtLatte ArtLatte Art

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Can Coffee Go Bad?

3 Apr 2014 12:55:01

Does Coffee Go 'Off'?

By David Huggett • April 2014

It’s not very often that we get asked this question, so having spoken with a number of customers this week who brought this subject up, I felt it was time to put pen to paper (figuratively speaking) and explain what we've experienced on the subject.

Sell-by and best before (BBE) dates have been in the news earlier this year, with consumers and retailers alike complaining to the Food Standards Agency that the current UK system of food labelling results in a mountain of wasted food every year, and costs businesses a small fortune.

 Coffee BBE Date

The first thing to say is that the crucial stage in coffee going stale is, of course, when it's opened and exposed to the air. Until this point, coffee does store surpringly well and normally has a long shelf life, depending on the blend. As a rule of thumb, the darker the roast, the longer it lasts. Manufacturers go to quite a lot of trouble to keep coffee fresh, using packaging with one-way valves for example, so the coffee can still discharge gas without splitting the bags open. Our Planet Java bags were developed with this in mind.

 Planet Java Coffee

Filter coffee doesn’t need to have one-way valves and is therefore normally packed either in individual pre-measured sachets, or in ‘brick packs’ where the air has been sucked out during the packing process to reduce the amount of oxygen that is present to react with the coffee. This also has the added benefit of making the product more space-efficient when being shipped or stocked on shelves. Most of the big name brands like Lavazza use these packs, though they can't be resealed.

Here's the important point – so long as you store your unopened pack of coffee somewhere cool and dry, and preferably somewhere dark too, it can last anything up to two years before it starts to become noticeable to the taste. This is why BBE dates are particularly frustrating – they give you an indication of what’s inside the packaging, but if not stored correctly, the coffee can already be rubbish before the date expires, and what good is that to anyone?

 Coffee Storage Jars

Much better is to look at the roasting date, if it's present on the packaging. If there's no date displayed (most coffee doesn't show this), then use your discretion. It’s not going to poison you the day after the BBE date has come around, and quite honestly, properly stored coffee will taste no different on that day than the day it was packed. It’s a guide, and nothing more.

As soon as you open the packaging, the clock is ticking. However, this really depends again how you’ve stored it. Leave a kilo of coffee beans in your grinder hopper for a few days and you’ll be drinking bitter and flat coffee all day. Keep it in a container somewhere cool and you’ll be able to use it for a couple of weeks. Basically, the elements that cause coffee to go stale are air, water and heat. Keeping it cold, dry and air-tight will mean you don’t have to throw away the coffee you haven’t used. You don’t need to store it in a refrigerator though, just somewhere cool will do the job.

Having said all of this, the best guide is your own taste buds. If your coffee deteriorates to the point where you can taste the difference, then it's time to empty your bean hopper and open another bag, simple as that. If it still tastes fresh, then carry on!

Fresh coffee beans and filter coffee can be purchased online at

April 2014, A1 Coffee

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett
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