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Aging

One of the first stages in the coffee preparation process is the aging stage.  While some may view aged coffee as old coffee, the two are actually quiet different.  Old coffee refers to a much lower quality coffee that many coffee lovers feel tastes boring and lifeless.  Aged coffee, on the other hand, is made from coffee beans that have been aged for a number of years in an effort to improve the actual natural flavor of the coffee bean.

Historically in America, coffee lovers had to become used to either drinking aged or old coffee.  This is because coffee grows best in tropical or subtropical climates and America has been one of the largest importers of coffee throughout its history.  In older times, coffee was shipped from the Indonesian island of Java to America on wooden ships, in which the acidity of the coffee bean dropped to low levels.  While this may have produced some pretty good tasting coffee beans, for the most part it produced old coffee beans that did not the greatest of flavor.

In contemporary times, the aging process of preparing a coffee bean into the drink that you enjoy at a cafe has become an art form.  It is a little known fact that certain types of coffee beans improve with age.  This is because the aging process produces a less acidic taste with a more well-balanced flavor.  For the most part, the aging process for coffee beans last between 2 and 3 years.  However, there are several specialty coffee stores that offer unroasted coffee beans that have been aged for a longer period.  One example is the famed Toko Aroma, which is located in Bandung, Indonesia, who age their unroasted beans up to 8 years.

The aging process is a difficult one and for the people that do it, there is definitely a lot of risk involved.  The coffee beans that are used in the aging process are not guaranteed to come out as hoped, regardless of care.  As a result, coffee bean producers that are aging coffee beans want to avoid any chance of ending up with a large quality of old, bad coffee.  For this reason and also due to the high cost of keeping green coffee beans for an extended period of time, the green coffee beans that are chosen for the aging process tend to be of exceptional quality.

The goal of aging coffee is to mute acidity and improve the body by allowing natural changes to occur.  It is also possible to mute defects present in the green coffee during the coffee aging process.  The best of care is taken to preserve the quality of the green beans and during this stage of coffee preparation, coffee bags are rotated to allow the coffee to breathe and evenly change.  The coffee beans that are selected tend to be high in body and low in acidity.  What the aging process does is to bring out the flavor and is not intended to create a new flavor.  Typically, aged coffee requires a longer rest after the roasting stage to fully even out.  Aged coffee tends to taste best at a dark roast, as this helps to accentuate the body.

While aged coffee tend to be of high quality, you rarely ever see aged coffee if anything else but a blend.  This is because even the best aged coffee has a taste that some feel is acquired.  However, when aged coffee is used in a light bodied blend, it is highly effective.  This is because the presence of aged coffee beans can add body without adding undue acidity.

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