The Ultimate Coffee Glossary


What is Oxidation?

Oxidation is a chemical reaction that occurs when substances come into contact with oxygen. In the context of coffee cultivation and processing, oxidation can have both positive and negative effects. For instance, during the roasting process, oxidation is necessary for the development of flavor and aroma compounds. However, when it comes to green coffee, oxidation can cause degradation of flavor and aroma. This is why it is crucial for coffee to be protected from air once it has been roasted.
During the processing stage, oxidation can occur when the coffee cherries are exposed to air. This can happen when the cherries are overripe or damaged, as the protective skin around the coffee bean is compromised. Oxidation can cause the coffee to lose freshness and develop off-flavors, ultimately resulting in lower quality coffee.
Roasters take great care to ensure that their coffee beans are protected from oxidation. This can involve using vacuum-sealed packaging to prevent air from coming into contact with the beans. In addition, some roasters use nitrogen flushing to remove oxygen from the packaging before sealing it. By protecting the coffee from oxidation, roasters can ensure that their coffee retains its optimal flavor and aroma.
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