Roast Date vs. Best Before Date

In Germany, prepackaged food must have a best before date (MHD) since the 1980s. By definition, the manufacturer must set a date on which the product retains its specific characteristics under appropriate storage conditions and can be consumed without health risks by the same date. So the same product from different manufacturers may have different MHDs.
The end of the MHD does not however mean that the food is automatically no longer suitable for consumption.

What does that mean for coffee?
  • The longer the best before date, the fresher is the coffee?
  • No! A fresh product such as coffee should be labeled with the “date of manufacture”, in this case of the roast date, not the best before date.
  • Roasting is the transition from a longer-lasting raw coffee to a fresh product, which is only conditionally durable.
  • You can find MHD from 3 months to 2 years. So you can not calculate backwards when the beans were roasted and how fresh the coffee is.
  • Even if coffee is a dry food, it has a fat- Oil share of up to 20%.
  • Coffee aromas are very volatile, and with contact with oxygen, the fat oxidises very quickly and becomes rancid.
  • Also heat and light boost the degradation of the coffee aromas.
  • The question is therefore rather, whether the coffee after the expiration of the MHD tastes still as good as directly after the roasting. you should try it
  • At the latest, when the coffee lumps and smells odd, you really should put it in the bin!
Recommendation
  • See if a roast date is specified instead or additionally to MHD. This transparency is found in specialty coffee and speaks for the roaster.
  • Freshly roasted it tastes best.
  • Better buy coffee beans and grind freshly before brewing.
  • Do not store for more than 3 months – coffee is not whiskey 😉
  • After you opend the packaging, use within 2 weeks.
  • Prefer buying more often smaller packs that are consumed in that time.
  • Coffee is best stored in the original packaging under 20 ° C and dark – in NO case in the refrigerator, freezer or in the spice rack.
  • Packaging with pressure valve allows air to escape.
Happy shopping! For all Berliner and Hamburger here a list of roasters, otherwise a German-wide overview

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