Roasting Old Coffee

Hey guys,

So I know there’s been a thread about brewing coffee that’s past it’s prime as far as roast date goes, but I was wondering if anybody has ideas on how to roast green coffee that’s quite a ways off harvest.

Right now our shop is working on transitioning a lot of things on the production side, and part of that involves switching up green buying strategies and practices. This is going to be a good thing, but in the meantime, I’m stuck with a number of bags of green coffee from last years harvest. Too much was purchased, and they haven’t been moving as quickly as hoped.

I know in general it’s just encouraged to make sure you only buy enough coffee so that you are still roasting it fresh, but for now I have to make do with what we have and try to still bring out the best in these older coffees. Does anybody have ideas or insight on adjustments to the roast that can help, or just ways to make the best out of this situation. Assuming that I can’t use all of them for blend components…

higher charge time, faster ror, just do it fast sonic

How did you store the coffee? Do you have a moisture meter?
Problem with old crop is the embryo might have died. And after, regarding how you roast it you will only get wood in the cup!
But I would go more gentle.( lower charge temp or lower gas setting).

Right now we don’t have any sort of climate control or measurement capabilities for our green storage; that’s another issue that I’m hoping to tackle.

It seems like these two suggestions are at odds with each other, so I guess I’ll just have to try them out and resort to the old test and taste method. Thanks for your help, guys!

I’ve been playing with this myself for some time, and believe I’ve figured a few things out.

I sill typically charge at a lower drum temperature, typically ten or fifteen degrees lower, and use a lower manifold pressure setting in the run-up to turnaround and firsrt crack. I typically will use 70% manifold pressure for a current crop bean, start with ten percent less for a two year old bean. I’ve even taken a REALLLY ancient bean (ten years past crop… WHERE was that one hiding? It was a good one so I played with it. Not much to lose…) and, using about 55% to turnabout, then 60% to crack.

One more thing I’ve played with… I will typically use the lowest airflow setting from charge to approaching first crack with fresh beans. For old ones, two year, say, I will turn airflow OFF until at least turnabout, and often through into the first stages of the Mailliard reactions… on MY machine, about 300F. Then, normal flow… On the really old guys mentioinee above, I left airflow at zero right up to approaching first crack. I was amazed at how good those beans turned out… sure, they lacked the brightness and high notes they had way back when, but no “off” tastes, a touch baggy but barely noticable )these were from before GrainPro were used) but were very drinkable and retained a fair bit of their former glory. Would I sell these to best customers? Not at normal price and without warning… but I’ve shared them with discriminating friends who, not knowning the story, were impressed.

I’d say one to even two years past crop, slight mods to your typical roast profile (toward being more gentle up to crack) and particularly if they came in GranPro (the single best thjing to happen to green coffee transport/stoprage since the original jute bag, to my mind, you will not lose much, perhaps not signficantly more than one might find in year-on-year differences in normal production.