By Traffic Coffee

"The age of coffee" - Resting coffee & why we do it.

Roast dates. Freshness. Staleness. Freezer. Fridge. Cupboard.

All these things are spoken of when talking about coffee & how to enjoy & preserve the beans you spend your hard earned money on. Rightly so! Coffee is a luxury & we should take care of the nice things we buy.

That said, through all my years in the food & beverage industry...just in the coffee world, there are many ideas, some good, some bad, & I think we have to go through them & make some things a little clearer. After all, coffee should be about pleasure. The last thing we need is for it to become a pain.

Roast Dates!

How many times have you or someone you know pick up a bag of coffee & look at the roast date only to scoff & put it back with the comment "Pff, it's from (INSERT LENGTH OF TIME HERE) (2 weeks ago, 3 weeks ago, etc.) Happens all the time, right?

Well, what if we told you that concept & irrational fear is keeping you from the best cups you've had & with the most clarity & sweetness? They are.

Roast dates are ESSENTIAL when it comes to packaging coffee. I would strongly dissuade you from buying any coffee that DOESN'T have a roast date on it. It's like wine that has no year on it, weird right? (we've known many bottles like this, they were all trash save for some champagnes.)

With this said, the DATE matters, but just like wine, knowing WHEN to drink it is another thing completely.


Whether it's just your crappytire coffee maker, chemex, aeropress, v60, siphon, or any other method you enjoy making coffee with, you want the best results every time. WE won't touch on grinders and all the rest of it here, we're ONLY talking about the AGE of your beans, so look for another post regarding that.

When it comes to making coffee by way of the above mentioned methods, you're looking to let those beans rest, by many coffee pros standards, AT LEAST 7 DAYS but ideally, in my opinion, a minimum of 9.

In the first days it will smell a lot smokier, more intense, which could be attractive to your olfactory sensation because there's so much chemical activity still occuring even though the coffee is just sitting there. About 2-3 days after roast some coffees smell SO good but, trust us, it's a trap.

Although each coffee has its own sweet spot, generally speaking 9 -14 day minimum is the generally agreed up timeline where coffee has enough time to release all those unwanted "yuckies" and you're left with just pure deliciousness.

Our view on drip coffee tasting amazing is that, within a 2 month period, you're getting the very BEST of the beans you choose to buy. There are coffees that taste amazing as a drip coffee up until a solid 3 months, but we personally try to drink our drip things between months 1 and 2 for prime enjoyment!


Ideally, if you're making espresso, you need the coffee to rest for a WHILE. Fresh coffee still has hundreds of volatiles in it that will translate into really terrible smokey, bitter, and acrid flavors. You'll see TONS of crema if you try to pull super fresh coffee. That crema is NOT going to enhance your coffee experience from a flavour perspective.

That crema that occurs in the wee days after roast is part of the chemical changes and reactions that continue to occur during rest. You do not want to be drinking this. It's bitter, acrid, dry, & honestly, gross. Crema is a part of espresso extraction, it always will be, but it's important to understand what is normal, & what will ultimately hinder your drinking experience.

Any coffee being used as espresso MUST rest for at least 14 days before trying to extract, if you're attempting to get the very best out of your coffee. On the far end of the spectrum, lighter coffees being used as espresso, for example, like at SEY in Brooklyn, are generally aged well over a month. The last time I had a super juicy espresso at SEY, the roast date went back to 3 months.

Coffee can turn into incredible espresso even at the 3 month mark. Even after! Surprised? Don't be! Even if it has passed the 3 month mark, don't let that scare you, a week or 2, heck even a month after shouldn't make too much of a difference. In general, a good rule to remember is, lighter coffees will need MORE rest time in order to make your best espresso & darker coffees, which have had more structural impairment due to roasting, will need less. In both cases, brewing espresso requires way more patience than any other form of brewing when talking about rest times. Without resting your coffee properly, you will NEVER enjoy your coffee you paid good money for, to the fullest extent.

It's a crazy thing, all this information. I know it may contradict what you've heard... what you were taught...maybe what the person you trust most with your coffee has told you. I get it. As with all information like this, this is partly based in science, & partly based in preference. It's what I have found useful when it comes to getting the most out of my coffee & I invite you to experiment with your coffees, as countless other coffee novices, aficionados, & pros have. Have fun with it. That's the point of enjoying coffee, & ultimately, enjoying life.

- Jesse