Of beans and balls

Old coffee tastes bad.

di- and trihydroxybenzenes, and in particular hydroxyhydroquinone, react with FFT and other odor-active thiols such as methanethiol that are present in freshly brewed coffee. The reactions form conjugates, including 4-[(2-furylmethyl)sulfanyl]hydroxyhydroquinone. This oxidative coupling begins right after coffee is brewed and continues when the beverage is kept hot or processed into canned, instant, or concentrated liquid coffee.

There you have it, now it's been scientifically proven that fresh coffee tastes fresh because it is fresh, and you can't preserve the taste and odor, at least not yet. "Tweaking Coffee's Flavor Chemistry" is also available at Sweet Maria's. The article also states that

the fast, high-temperature process formed considerably more aldehydes and diketones as well as 4-vinylguaiacol, N-methylpyrrole, and 3-mercapto-3-methylbutyl formate.

which means that coffee cannot be roasted more quickly than it is done today, unless you want to significantly compromise the taste. Isn't it nice when science proves that your nose knows better. The article however does have one notion of freshness that I don't really believe based on my experience as a coffee-roasting hobbyist. As far as espresso goes, the roasted coffee beans do no remain fresh for as long as the author claims. For whole beans two weeks is already stretching it and ground beans do not form crema after an hour. That's a far cry from stating that roasted beans stay fresh for several months, but ground coffee is best used within two weeks of grinding.

And what about those balls then, you might ask. I've started a new hobby-project this year and it's freakishly addictive. When everything goes well it is incredibly rewarding, and if you get distracted at the wrong moment, you'll suffer at the consequences of slicing or hooking. But after a session you are still more likely to be happy about those couple of successes, at least as a beginner. It's a far better scottish invention than haggis, on par with the best single malt whiskeys you might ever taste: golf.