NEW YORK, USA – A national survey of American millennial coffee drinkers conducted by Roasting Plant Coffee just ahead of National Coffee Day (Sept. 29) and International Coffee Day (Oct. 1) uncovered big gaps in knowledge about what makes coffee fresh, how long to keep it and where to store it.
As the only chain that roasts coffee in micro-batches in every one of its cafés, and one that grinds and prepares every cup to order, Roasting Plant takes a keen interest in what coffee lovers know and think about coffee’s freshness.
Its online survey of 1,000 coffee-drinking millennial Americans, conducted last month, uncovered surprising misunderstandings and behaviors:
- While 70% of millennial coffee drinkers said they know what makes coffee fresh, only 24% properly identified the biggest factor in freshness: how soon after roasting it’s prepared.
- Roasting Plant found that 62% of make-at-home coffee lovers store their coffee for three weeks or more, while only 12% keep it for a week or less.
- Studies by the Specialty Coffee Association and The Zurich University of Applied Science found that coffee’s taste and aromas degrade by as much as 70% within 10 days of roasting.
- 40% of those surveyed who make coffee at home store it in the freezer, despite the well-chronicled negative effects freezing and moisture have on coffee’s molecular makeup – and by extension, its flavor.
- 75% of coffee drinkers purchase ground coffee to make at home, the survey found. While that may be convenient, grinding rapidly accelerates coffee’s degradation due to CO2 loss (“off-gassing”).
- The SCA and Zurich University of Applied Sciences found that ground coffee off-gases almost completely in matter of days or even hours. Nearly 70% of the CO2 is released within one day of grinding, causing coffee’s flavor and aroma compounds to rapidly degrade within days.
- Coffee drinkers love their gear. Those surveyed have three coffee-preparation devices at home, with drip machines (48%), pod machines (46%) and grinders (41%) comprising the top three.
The Science of Coffee Freshness and Why it Matters
According to the Specialty Coffee Association and The Zurich University of Applied Science, freshness is best defined as having original unimpaired qualities. For better or for worse, freshly roasted coffee is a highly elusive product; it is rapidly and continually going through chemical and physical changes, degrading its quality and freshness over time.
These changes influence the physical behavior of coffee, and importantly, the longevity of acceptable flavor. Moreover, even in the absence of oxygen and moisture, coffee will lose its freshness since it is intrinsically an unstable product.
Many have experienced the moment when staling begins and a bright, aromatic and fruity coffee starts to age and begins to lose its dynamic and exciting flavors. It makes for a stale coffee that is dull and flat, or even has a rancid aroma. Freshly roasted coffee is marked by foam and creamy crema that provide a visual cue that it’s going to be full flavored and smooth.
The survey was conducted for Roasting Plant Coffee by Prodege, which collected data via an online survey from a random sampling of 1,000 U.S. millennials (age 26-41) who visited a specialty coffee shop or drank specialty coffee during August 2022. Scientific research was cited from The Specialty Coffee Association and Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Coffee Freshness Handbook 2018.
About Roasting Plant Coffee
Roasting Plant® Coffee started in a garage with the invention of Javabot™, an in-store roasting and brewing system that automatically roasts coffee in every Roasting Plant café, and quickly brews every custom cup to order.
Roasting Plant operates cafes in New York, Detroit, Denver, Minneapolis, San Francisco and London, and inside select The Fresh Market grocery stores. Roasting Plant is opening additional locations throughout the US and UK.