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I have a subscription to a roaster who mails me a 250g bag of freshly-roasted, single origin coffee beans every week. To my taste, the beans are best within the first 20 days after roasting after which the aroma declines pretty quickly.

Sometimes, when I travel for instance, I end up with bags that I wasn't able to use by the time a fresher bag arrives. The older beans are not bad by any stretch-- in fact they are still far better than 99% of the beans that are sold in supermarkets which are generally a year old-- but I'd always rather use the fresher beans to make coffee if I have the choice.

Are there any good recipes or preparations that could put these once-fresh beans to good use?

  • Would you consider other storage methods that might extend freshness (such as these questions on storing whole bean, or ground, or freezing, or even freezing already-brewed coffee)? See more tagged storage. Or bake some in a chocolate cake! There's plenty of space for more answers on this! – hoc_age Mar 27 '15 at 12:33
  • Buy yourself a vacuum sealer. They are easy to use and excellent money-savers as they preserve food for much longer periods. I recently vacuum sealed 1kg coffee into 100g packs. They can then also be frozen to preserve them even longer. – user918 Jun 10 '15 at 11:34
  • I think you're suggesting proactive preservation rather than salvaging stale beans. Vacuum-packing beans isn't generally a good idea, especially for freshly-roasted beans. Another question of yours has more information and answers on vaccum and freezing. – hoc_age Jun 11 '15 at 11:54
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One option is a somewhat obscure preparation method, but one that works best with older-ish beans: Nel drip (nel pot) preparation recommends beans that are a few weeks old; here's a Nel preparation guide from Blue Bottle. I don't know why older beans are recommended, except perhaps tradition.

See also other questions tagged including another question of mine on Nel.

3

Another option to quickly use coffee is since it requires large amounts of coffee to produce a small amount of concentrate that lasts up to a week refrigerated.

I personally use this method to "finish" an older roast so that I can start using a fresher one for my other brewing methods.

Stumptown recommendation:

12 oz coffee + 56 oz H2O for 16 hours

Blue Bottle recommendation:

16 oz coffee + 2 liters H2O for 12 hours

Serious Eats recommendation:

8 oz coffee + 36 oz H2O for 12 hours

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