[Originally from the Flying Five Coffee blog from 2004-2009]

It seems to be fairly popular along the front range for coffee shops and supermarkets to have roasted coffee bean bins where shoppers can scoop out their coffee and bag it themselves. It”s a nice experience: you can directly see the beans you”re buying, and even sometimes smell the beans when you scoop them out. Plus, rows of coffee beans are look good.

The only trouble is the taste.

While these open air bins are romantic, they can”t provide the best tasting beans. The trouble is oxygen – when beans are in direct contact with oxygen, that enables the primary staling reaction for coffee. So, when people open the bins to scoop out coffee, a fresh set of oxygen is let into the bin so that more staling can occur. I”ve done side-by-side tests and can taste this staling in only a day or so.

So, to get the best taste, always buy your coffee in pre-packaged bags that were packaged immediately after roasting. And, of course, also know when they were roasted so that you know when you”re getting fresh coffee!