I poured the beans into the grinder at home, sure they were a little more glossy than usual, but they smelt okay - sure, it wasnt the immediate blast of aroma that I am use to, I expected the flavour to be down a little -but a fair compromise for fresh roasted coffee beans I convinced myself, in my time of need.
Grinding these coffee beans produced a little more clumping than usual, so I adjusted the grinder a touch to accommodate, loaded up the coffee portafilter basket and started the extraction. What happened next I was not prepared for - the usual volume of crema was gone - in fact, there was almost no crema, and what crema there was dissipated pretty fast. After steaming the milk to a nice texture, there was no surprise that the coffee looked flat, and there was almost no contrast when combined with the milk. My coffee was pretty boring, not awful, but definitely not exceptional.
I learned something new today - fresh coffee beans make all the difference! My coffee making skills are pretty good and I find my coffees to be consistent, but these less than fresh beans changed everything - no longer was I enjoying spectacular coffee, but 'average', 'okay' coffee - that's just not good enough I thought!
So, I decided to take some time out, roast up a new batch of coffee beans and the difference was amazing.