What Is the Aged Coffee Trend?
If you’re a caffeine enthusiast, you’ve likely already heard about the aged coffee trend. After all, if aged wine and whiskey tastes good, the same must be true for our favorite morning brew.
Unfortunately, while it sounds exciting, it’s necessarily accurate. While it can produce some astonishing tastes and impressive aromas, it’s also tricky and time-consuming. Even so, aged coffee has become increasingly popular, and many have jumped on the bandwagon.
In this article, we’ll give you the history, hype, and painful truth.
A Brief History
Coffee first made its way to Europe in the 1600s and was later brought to America as well. It had to undergo a very long sea voyage to get to its destination since most countries had to import their beans from Yemen, Indonesia, and India. As a result, the coffee was aged naturally by the salty sea air.
When the Suez Canal opened, fresher beans started making their way throughout the world. Unsurprisingly, the Europeans didn’t meet the new flavor with approval. Eventually, ports started storing the coffee in open-sided warehouses, mimicking the old aging process.
In time, we all got used to drinking fresh beans. At least, that was before the aged coffee trend resurfaced.
The Hype: A Delicious New Treat
Once considered a thing of the past, aged coffee is back on the trendy top as producers revive the “art” of maturing beans. These creators are claiming that, like wine and whiskey, coffee needs a significant amount of time before achieving its full flavorful, aromatic potential.
Several producers even state that all coffee ages well, and older means better. However, some of these claims aren’t just debatable; they’re blatantly false. The truth is quite a different story.
The Truth: Not Everything Ages Well
Not all wines age well, and the same is true for coffee. Although some beans can benefit from and improve with aging, many will just become stale.
It all depends on the type of coffee and how long the aging process is. The bean must have good oil retention and, according to the experts, it shouldn’t be matured for more than 1 – 3 years. In fact, the maximum recommended shelf-life is five years.
It’s a tricky process, and most producers have yet to master the art. Those who have done so take great pride in creating unique flavors and aromas. Things like bourbon and wine barrels and burlap can be used to alter the taste.
If a producer is offering to sell you coffee that’s six or eight years old, we wouldn’t recommend buying it. It’s likely just stale coffee repackaged and rebranded as a specialty item. Attempt to drink it, and you’ll be swallowing expensive, bitter, and flavorless brown water.
Aged vs. Stale Coffee
Aged and old coffee isn’t the same thing. Why is it so tricky to age the beans properly?
Unfortunately, unroasted beans are prone to moisture damage and mold. However, you can’t roast them first, either. According to Owly Choice, coffee starts losing its freshness as soon as it’s roasted. Trying to age them will only result in dry, tasteless beans.
Before you buy aged coffee, do some research regarding the seller. You don’t want to end up with rebranded stale beans instead of a uniquely delicious brew.
Aged coffee is rising in popularity, and many roasters and producers are taking advantage of the hype. Brands are selling everything, from barrel-matured to beans that are older than ten years. While some of these results in delicious blends, others are simply repackaged stale coffee that’ll leave your palette little to enjoy.
If you’re a coffee-lover, you should absolutely give the unique, richly flavored matured beans a try. However, before hopping on the hype-bus, make sure you’re getting your goodies from a trusted producer. After all, you’re looking for a killer brew, not a brew that kills. Enjoy!