minute green coffee has been dried and made ready for export it starts to age,
and then to deteriorate. If the coffee has not been dried to the correct
percentage–which is hard to do in humid climates–or properly dried, it will
deteriorate rapidly and within weeks to a few months lose everything. First to
go are any fresh floral aromatics, and then sweet, clean fruit flavors fade into
baggy (from absorbing the smell and taste of jute bags) and sour woody flavors
and aromas, as the oils within the bean turn rancid.
All coffees are measured for correct moisture content before purchase by Terroir ™. Next, all Terroir™ coffees, upon arrival at our warehouse, are immediately taken out of their traditional jute bags and repacked into metal-foil vacuum bags. This dramatically slows down the aging of the coffee while preventing evaporation of aromatic oils from the green beans. (The one exception is Daterra, which packages this way at source, as noted in the previous article.) We know of no other roasters doing this packaging. But we go much further than this.
Many of the greatest coffees are harvested just once a year. Central American and East African coffees are in this category and are harvested during our winter season. The best Kenyans, for instance, are picked in late November. They are auctioned in Nairobi from late February to late May and may not arrive in the US until August or September. By December the deterioration process has set in. Central American coffees can start deteriorating between August and November. Terroir™ green coffees are carefully monitored and, when the time is right, are placed in a freezer at minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, stopping any change in its tracks. I remember how, during the months of January and February at The Coffee Connection, I couldn’t wait for the newly harvested Central American coffees to come in. Once they did, we would get phone calls from customers who suddenly noticed the strong change in the aroma, liveliness and flavor of the coffees. No longer! Terroir™ coffees are great year-round. We do not treat our raw coffees as commodities kept in sacks.