Freshly roasted coffee is the best right? I think we can all agree on that one. While we should all strive to brew our coffee within two to three weeks of roast date, things happen. Coffee certainly doesn't go bad after three weeks, but the vitality of the roast fades dramatically as the coffee ages past the three week target.
So the big question is, what should you do with your old coffee? You can brew it regularly, but the coffee just won't have that same punch that it had before. Drinkable, yes....beautiful, maybe not.
One easy thing to do with your older coffee is to make a cold brew. To make a solid cold brew, start by grinding the coffee to a medium-fine grind. This will ensure you get a solid extraction during the full-immersion brewing process. Next, pour the grinds into whatever vessel you like (a mason jar, pitcher, whatever you like) and add water to a 1:4 ratio for concentrated cold brew, or 1:8 for a brew that won't require adding water or milk. Regarding ratios, 8oz of ground coffee to 36oz of water is a great starting point.
When the coffee has been ground, add the water and stir until the grounds are completely saturated. Cover the jar or pitcher and either leave it on your countertop or place the vessel in your refrigerator. We prefer the fridge. Let the coffee brew for 12 hours, then stir the grounds again and brew for another 12 hours. At the end of the full 24 hours, filter the grounds through a fine sieve. You can also use a Chemex filter or regular coffee filter, depending on your current setup. When the grounds have been removed, your coffee is ready to drink! A little sweetener goes a long way with cold brew, and milk or simple syrup can make a delicious cup perfect on a warm day.
Another way to get some extra life out of your older coffee is use it for cooking. There are countless recipes on the web that provide lots of ideas for how to use your older coffee in cakes, dry rubs, and our personal favorite: beef jerky!
To learn more about cooking with coffee, check out this great article from Food & Wine. Every great coffee deserves a second life, so get out there and start exploring!