Here at Merlo, we spend a lot of time talking about ‘fresh espresso’. But what exactly does that mean and why does it matter?
It’s simple, really. We like making coffee that’s full of flavour. Flavour in coffee beans is created by aromatics and carried by oil.
Those aromatics are the reason for the smell that floods out the front door of every Merlo Coffee store and the oil is best recognised in the golden-brown crema on top of your cup.
So far, so good. But what difference does it make if it’s fresh?
Just like any fresh produce – nuts, seeds, fruit, oil – coffee breaks down as it ages. During the ageing process the aromatics are lost and the produce becomes stale and flavourless. In coffee this is observable in two ways – the oil inside the beans ‘sweats’ out, covering them in a glossy sheen, and the ground coffee loses that strong aroma you expect when you open your tin or bag.
This is why we’re obsessed with fresh, why we roast daily and print the roast date on all of our coffee. It’s also the thinking behind our packaging and storage. Once we have the freshly roasted coffee, we like to keep it that way for as long as possible. We like big flavours and we want them in every cup.
The four elements that cause coffee to break down and age are:
This is why we package our coffee in bags and tins with one-way valves, letting the gases created by the roasting process out (so the bags don’t blow up!) but not letting any air or moisture in.
It’s also why we recommend keeping our coffee in the fridge – if you’re somewhere temperate, feel free to keep it in a cool, dark cupboard – but if you’re dealing with an Australian summer, your coffee doesn’t like 30+ degree days any more than you do.
Fresh espresso tastes better because there’s simply more to taste. We take tremendous care in roasting it to be enjoyed within the first few weeks of roasting, and recommend buying smaller quantities regularly so that you can enjoy the full bodied flavour of fresh coffee.