An Introduction To Coffee Chemistry and Freshness

The coffee that you make will only be as good as the ingredients that you use. This is why you choose to cook with the freshest, healthiest, and most delicious ingredients that you can find.

Your coffee has a lot of similarities to the produce and foods that you love the most – it is best enjoyed fresh. The reason, simply stated, is that roasted coffee is constantly releasing flavor. For a simple understanding of coffee and it’s freshness, let’s look at the chemistry.

The Chemistry

Raw, green coffee is made up of chemical compounds containing carbon (like all living things) called organic compounds. During the roasting process, heat causes these compounds to undergo chemical reactions resulting in hundreds of new organic compounds largely due to the decomposition of sugars resulting in antioxidants, aromas, and color changes. It is the combination of these processes and the resulting compounds that make up the aromas, fragrances, and flavors found in roasted coffee.

Many of these compounds are volatile, meaning that they readily turn into vapors and gases resulting in the aroma that you smell as soon as you open a bag of freshly roasted coffee. This is the same aroma that contributes to what you taste when you drink coffee (or eat or drink anything). Have you ever tried holding your nose while swallowing something that you disliked? As your sense of smell goes, so goes your ability to perceive flavor.

Once coffee is roasted, these volatile compounds are continually escaping as vapors and gases taking with them the essence of what gives your coffee it’s unique flavor, characteristics, life, and experience, leaving traces only of what was.

So, with this basic understanding of coffee freshness, to get the most flavor and best experience out of your coffee at home, purchase freshly roasted coffee. You’ll be able to tell the difference, and you’ll be glad that you did.