Check the [roasted on] date!

If you've been a customer of ours for some time now, you've learned to look to the top of the back of our bags for the "Roasted On" date, that 6-digit number that tells you when the the magic happened and green coffee turned into roasted coffee. If you've learned to check the date, you've probably also noticed that it's no longer at the top. That's because we changed where we print the date to the lower "midriff" section of the bag, in a box that says "Roasted on" and "Best before." We made this change for two reasons: 1) after getting feedback from our customers that cutting the top of the bag to open it meant cutting off the date and losing that valuable information, we realized we needed a better place for it. And 2) we also got requests from customers for a "Best before" date. Hence, the new designated box.

A note about these dates: for years, we've been imprinting the "Roasted on" date in an ardent effort to get coffee consumers to start treating coffee more like head of lettuce or a loaf of bread rather than a can of tuna. Try this experiment: take a walk through the coffee section of the grocery store and look through the bags on the shelf. You'll notice that not many roasting companies post a "Roasted on" date. They usually have a "Best Before" date and it can be MONTHS away. In fact, most large grocery store chains require a 12-month "due date" from the day it's been roasted. By the time the coffee leaves the roastery, goes to a distributor's warehouse, gets ordered by a grocery store, is shipped again, arrives at the grocery store, and is stocked to the shelf, it's already traveled thousands of kilometers and been sitting in the bag for up to three months! For this reason, most of the coffee in a grocery store is already well on its way to becoming stale by the time it makes it to your kitchen table.

Fresh Coffee is just Better

Coffee tastes better when it's fresh. Once again, we like to think of it like bread: nothing beats getting it straight from the source - the aroma, the flavour, that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you take that first bite/sip...priceless. This is why we try and deliver direct to most of our wholesale clients who re-sell our coffee; avoid cross-province/country travel and long storage times at a warehouse. And no matter what kind of high-performance bag it's stored in, eventually it stales. As much as we'd love everyone to come to the roastery to grab their weekly coffee bag, getting it straight from the source isn't always possible or convenient for everyone 100% of the time. So if you buy your coffee at the grocery store, you should be able to find out when it was produced and how long you have to truly enjoy it. Now we provide that information on every bag that leaves our warehouse.

Even though the standard for the industry is a 12-month "best before" date, we've decided to slice that in half and go for 6 months instead. After doing a series of taste-tests, we found that by 7-8 months, our coffee had lost its uniqueness and tasted like...well, grocery store coffee! We chose 6 months because it seemed to be a happy medium between industry standards and our idealistic dreams. We still encourage our customers and wholesale clients to try and get through the coffee within 3 months for optimal freshness and flavour - the grocery stores where we deliver the coffee directly get a proper and regular FIFO (first in, first out) cycle by Eric, our driver and freshness police. If the fifth month rolls around and the coffee is still around, rest assured, it will still taste great. But it won't have quite the full flavour as it would if it were 2 weeks or a month from the roasted on date.

So keep a look out for the new dating on our bag! And as always, let us know your feedback. We're always up for change for the better. Write us: info@equator.ca