Today’s The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) posted an article on home coffee roasting: Coffee fans toast what they roast | TheNewsTribune.com | Tacoma, WA. What I particularly liked was that they use the term I do for fresh roasted coffee: fresh baked bread.

Too often, restaurants, cafés, stores, and, well, coffee drinkers treat roasted coffee as if it were imported wine rather than fresh baked bread. (Another reason why I don’t like coffee’s wine analogy.) Nobody would think twice about buying wine shipped in from Italy, sitting on a shipping pallet for a month while it crossed multiple oceans. But their bread? Be serious. (Illy or Lavazza, anyone?)

And it matters. Most of the stuff on store shelves, even the packages in major chain cafés, has been oxidizing for weeks since it was first roasted — having its flavor leeched off over time. (And I’m just talking about whole beans. You can forget pre-ground!) I cannot forget my first home espresso making experience when I ground beans from a local roaster instead of something pre-packaged from a high-quality chain café. The crema just gushed out by comparison.

The primary reason I roast my own at home is because espresso is particularly sensitive to the age of the roast — it goes flat in just several days. I personally don’t go through enough coffee each week to warrant a full pound from a local roaster. (And as this site might suggest, I have been known to have espresso out once in a while.) Thus home roasting is ideal for frequent, small batches (and if you’re blending: the smaller the batches, the better). But there’s a good reason why a local roaster such as Blue Bottle Coffee gets all the praise: anyone who sells coffee that fresh and has the daring to print a roasting date on the package deserves what they get.