We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: freshness matters. That’s true whether you’re buying Folger’s at the supermarket, whole beans at your local Starbucks, buying K-Cups or Nespresso capsules, or buying from your favorite Third Wave roaster (though we’re partial to that last option, for obvious reasons). The fresher your coffee is, the better it’s going to taste.
That can actually pose a problem when you’re buying K-Cups and Nespresso pods. To figure out why, let’s review why freshness matters:
Yes, Coffee Can Go Bad: The sage wisdom of the Rolling Stones aside, when it comes to coffee, time is not on your side. Neither are environmental factors like heat, light, air, and humidity. Over time, the many components of coffee beans — including lipids (fats), carbohydrates, sugars and proteins — break down or go stale. Your old coffee may be perfectly safe to drink, but it certainly won’t wow your tastebuds.
Fresher Coffee Has More Health Benefits: It sometimes seems as though science is finding new health benefits for coffee on a nearly daily basis. Its proteins, amino acids, and antioxidants have been proven to help fight the effects of aging, Alzheimers, diabetes, certain cancers, and quite a bit else besides. But there’s a catch. Many of those beneficial compounds, like the coffee itself, have a shelf life. The longer your coffee sits, the fewer benefits you reap.
Better: If you’re still not convinced by your coffee’s ability to spoil, or by losing its healthful properties, consider this: old coffee tastes lousy. Smell a bag of coffee you’ve just purchased, and then smell one that’s been open for a few weeks. The difference can be stark. Your sense of smell is a major component of how things taste, so those flat-smelling beans are going to make some very flat-tasting coffee.
Single-serve coffee pods like the ones made for your Keurig and Nespresso have, on one hand, been carefully engineered to keep out some of your coffee’s biggest enemies. When they’re manufactured correctly and stored properly, the air and moisture that degrade the coffee inside are locked out, and the exposure to heat and light can be minimized. There’s one thing that those cups, nifty though they are, can’t do; they can’t halt the passage of time, unless your kitchen has a TARDIS (in which case, can we come over? We’ll bring coffee). As you’ll find out in the next post, most single-serve coffee is pre-aged to begin with, then it sits in a warehouse, followed by more sitting on a supermarket shelf, and then even more sitting in your kitchen cabinets. If it spent any more time sitting, you’d be vacuuming potato chip crumbs out of its bellybutton.
Luckily for you, there’s a solution: buy pods for Keurig and Nespresso that are roasted, packed, and shipped fresh. That’s what we do, and we’re confident you can taste the difference.