Fishy, rotten smelling Folgers beans


New member
Feb 13, 2005
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Hi All,

The last two bags of Folgers whole beans 100% Columbian have a fishy, rotten smell to them. Was wondering if anyone else has experienced this recently and if you know what causes it? The coffee these beans make smells so bad it nearly makes me throw up.

I'm grinding at home and using a French press.

Thanks for your help.



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Aug 14, 2003
Boca Raton
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I suggest you don't buy from foldgers from a local roaster or an online company that can get it to you within days of roasting.


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Mar 7, 2003
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Besides the don't buy foldgers ...
Make sure you are storing your coffee in a 'scent safe' or airtight container, the coffee will absorb the other flavors in your cabinets, freezer, etc..
Folgers has a few things working against it. First, the beans. They are most likely cheap arabias (70 percent of the world crop is arabia and only the top 10 percent is specialty coffee) and/or robusta. Robusta is like the name suggests a hardier plan, resistant to disease and able to be grown at lower altitudes. They tend to have a much higher moisture content then high grown coffee, so it will taste thinner.

As far as the aroma, here is one of those spoilers. If you don't want to feel like you did after you found out there was no tooth fairy or Santa Claus, then by all means stop reading now.

When coffee is vacuum packed (all canned coffee and those brick-like bags) all the aroma is sucked out of the coffee. So where does the coffee smell come from? They inject it. Yup. The coffee smell was extracted from the coffee, concentrated and then shot back in. They manipulate smell like the Marlboro Man dicks with nicotine.

Sometimes they get it wrong.

So stick with people who start with great green coffee, roast it and package it fresh without a vacuum process. Either fresh packed or nitrogen flushed will produce the same result. If you're compelled to shop for coffee in a supermarket, look for one of those button filters, usually on the front of the bag. Squeeze it and check out the smell. Ground coffee will put off a better aroma because there are more surfaces of the coffee exposed to give off aroma.

I know there are purists who poo-poo bagged coffee, but they've got a commercial axe to grind. We regularly buy coffee samples and take them into our lab to test for packaging integrity, O2 contamition and taste. It is entirely possible to buy well packaged nitrogen flushed coffee that is 2-3 months old and unless you have a palate like Ken Davids or Lindsey Bolger, you're not going to know the difference. If you have a palate that good, you're not buying Folgers.

If you bought 2 cans/bags of Folgers, I would put in another caution. If you start buying better coffee, either go through all the absurd steps of dividing it in little zip lock bags, squeezing the air out and freezing them until you need them or open one bag at a time and go right through it in a week and after each use, just squeeze the air out of the bag, roll it up and clamp down the tin tie.

Of course, everyone who really has a world-class palate will have a set of standards that normal human beans read about. And then there are the people who read about the gifted few with world class palates and do their level best to imitate their actions. But that ain't you or me. If that is you, great. Do whatever you need to do to have fun and enjoy your coffee on your terms.
Very interesting facts you stated. One thing: What do you mean when you state the aroma is sucked out in the vacuum process then injected back in?I know the vacuum process creates a seal, but I am not familiar with a process that restores the lost aroma via injection.
Thanks for the info.
S&Wgroundcoffee said:
Very interesting facts you stated. One thing: What do you mean when you state the aroma is sucked out in the vacuum process then injected back in?I know the vacuum process creates a seal, but I am not familiar with a process that restores the lost aroma via injection.
Thanks for the info.

If you have an injection device - picture a large shower head with a lot of needles - that pumps a liquid aroma into the coffee before it is vacuum packed. The air (gas) will get pulled out faster than the liquid. That allows the vaccum and leave some residual flavor. It probably isn't done exactly that way, but the basic principle is that you can evacuate the air and leave flavoring. if the flavoring is a little oily or higher viscosity, there will be residual.


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Feb 5, 2006
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They dont just stink they suck as far as I'm concerned.

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Any coffee that is completely sealed is a bad sign, fresh coffee out-gasses for several days after it is roasted. If the coffee was not allowed to out-gas completelybefore it is packed those little cans of folgers would be like hand grenades. The other fun thing about folgers, the chaff that comes off of he coffee when it is roasted is re-constituted, ground up and put in the coffee you are buying as filler. Mmmmmm, coffee chaff. The only things I have found coffee chaff to be good for is composting toilets. That and Strawberry bedding, but not in that order.


Jan 22, 2006
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The criticism of mass roasted commercial coffee centers around rest periods for degassing and packing methods.

As far as I know commercial coffee is left in open containers to degass for a period of time that often sees them going stale before packaging. This complete degassing is necessary to prevent the rupturing or deformation of any container the coffee will be sealed into.

As well, as far as I know, a very small amount of air is enough to stale beans. The amount is so small that it makes vacuum sealing ineffective for preserving freshness according to the majority of experts studying the elusive problem of keeping fresh roasted beans fresh for a length of time.

If the roast is ground before packing it's even more likely to be stale before the lid goes on. Whole roast beans stale in about 10 days. Ground beans stale within minutes, according to some.

The only way to ensure freshness is to use fresh roasted beans before they've had a chance to go stale and grind them right before using them.