High-end coffee roasters like to tout how fresh their beans are. Meanwhile, many lower-end coffee brands could start talking about how long their beans have been aged – sometimes as long as nine years. Not that it’s a good thing – most coffee beans don’t age like fine wine – but apparently it’s true.
According to the Wall Street Journal, wild fluctuations in the Arabica bean market over the past half-decade have led to stockpiling and now an unloading of these higher quality beans. Typically, companies making lower quality coffee gravitate towards the cheaper and less flavorful Robusta beans, but as prices on Arabica have come down, especially for beans that have been deteriorating while sitting in storage, makers of inexpensive coffee are seeing an opportunity to bolster quality by adding Arabica to their blends. “Nine-year-old coffee is discounted by $1.55 a pound, which would make it essentially free,” the WSJ writes, “as Arabica coffee for July delivery on Tuesday closed at $1.35 a pound.” Sound like these bean suppliers might be paying you to take them off their hands.