The quality of packaging, when it comes to either whole beans or pre-ground coffee, seems to be one of the selling points of many brands. Why is this?
To understand why companies are seeking to put out better packaging, we first have to understand the search for freshness in coffee. Coffee is now the most popular beverage in the world, but that doesn’t sound all that impressive. However, look at it this way: coffee is the second most valuable traded commodity… second only to petroleum (or gas).
So you get the idea: people love coffee. And people are willing to spend more money on coffee than they would have a few years ago. This also means that people also pay close attention to the quality of the coffee they buy, precisely because of how expensive it is. All around the world, every coffee lover is looking to get the most value for their coffee as possible. And that usually means the freshest coffee that they can get.
…But how can you tell if your coffee is fresh?
It’s a tricky question. If you don’t have a lot of experience, you won’t be able to tell if your coffee is fresh or if it’s stale.
As a general rule, whole bean coffee can last anywhere from 4 months to 1 year before going stale. Pre-ground coffee can last anywhere from two weeks to three months. What makes the difference here is, you guessed it, the packaging.
A well-packaged product won’t let any air or humidity into the bag, which maximizes shelf life.
But to the naked eye (or nose), the difference between relatively fresh and completely stale is quite hard to tell. Most pre-ground coffee sold in supermarkets is probably stale or close to it. But you can’t really taste the difference unless you’re quite adept at it.
You can’t control how well the beans are kept before they are packaged. But you can control which type of packaging you want your coffee in. You can choose the type of packaging that will maximize freshness, keep your coffee in the best possible condition, and -most important of all the packaging that’s really worth your money.
So, you learn to trust packaging.