Revisiting gas packed coffees
A recent blog post asked about if the coffees packed with intert gasses were really not as good as fresh coffee and or frozen coffee.
I bought some Illy to try to confirm the answer. The honest truth, as much as my snobbish nature wants to deny it, the Illy coffee was reasonably good when I first opened it. It was better than average coffee, and even it was better than anything at my national chain grocery store (although not better than anything at my Whole Foods, which has coffee from places like Counter Culture and sometimes even has it fresh).
It was certainly not as good as the coffee from great micro-roasters like Velton’s, Klatch, Intelli, Paradise, Chazzanos, etc, but it was a lot better than what I am used to finding on shelves.
I think one key was that it was whole bean, but the other key was that it was the first day that I opened it. Within a four days it no longer qualified as very good coffee. It did not taste bad, it was more that it was lacking in any real taste at all.
I am a big believer in freezing coffee and feel that if you take great coffee and freeze it, it will taste just as good 4 weeks later (if you freeze it well using mason jars etc) as it did after one week, which is not true if you do not freeze it.
This did raise a few questions, though. If you picked a great coffee like Klatch and froze half of it and gassed the other half like Illy gasses their coffee, I do not know which would taste better after 4 weeks. Perhaps the gassed coffee would be just as good.
The other issue is that I do not know if frozen coffee falls off quickly in the same way that gassed coffee does. I always freeze coffee in 4-6 oz containers and use it up in a few days after thawing. If I could gas it like that I would never find out that there was a drop off after 4 days.
Illy and other companies do not sell quantities as small as I tend to freeze. Perhaps if the quantities were the same and the initial quality were the same as the very best coffees out there, the quality we drank it would be, too.
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