This is a discussion that will probably be discussed until the end of time… It’s the debate of freezing coffee or not. Depending on who you ask, some will tell you they are against freezing coffee, and some will also tell you they are for it. Some may even be on the fence about the idea.
Freezing coffee is said to diminish the flavors of coffee, though from what I’ve read if done properly and left no longer than a month coffee can be frozen and remain relatively fresh.
In one of the coffee books I am reading, Everything, but Espresso, the author Scott Rao mentions that “Freezing is a fantastic long-term storage method because it dramatically slows oxidation and loss of volatiles.” So if you want to freeze your coffee then “store them in a sealed plastic bag and squeeze out as much air as possible before freezing. Remove beans from the freezer only when they are to be brewed, and never defrost and re-freeze beans.”
Heading to the other side, I found an article over at SeriousEats where the author Meister wrote an article titled, “To Freeze or Not To Freeze Coffee Beans.” In this article, Meister described frozen coffee from an experiment she did as “a vegetal, almost papery-tasting cup with a downright terrible aftertaste.”
The only thing I am on the fence about in Scott’s book is the defrosting part. I wouldn’t want to put frozen coffee in my Baratza Grinder and have the condensation rust the burrs. Having said that, I defrost all my coffee before grinding. Its one experiment I will never be willing to test either. I’d be interested in reading more on why you shouldn’t defrost beforehand.
As far as Meister’s article goes. I am not sure why her experience turned out so badly. Obviously there are so many variables that can affect the outcome so it would be hard to know what happened. Maybe her tastebuds are more experienced then mine… Who knows?! I guess it might come down to the simplest answer and that being that freezing coffee is just not for everyone.
When it comes to freezing coffee, I use food saver bags. They are probably the best option out there to secure your beans and to ensure freshness longer. I like to split the coffee into 3 to 4 parts and leave just a little bit out and then freeze the rest in small quantities so that when I am ready for the next bag I only have enough to last me a day or two. Maybe even a few hours! I also aim not to leave any frozen coffee in the freezer longer than 2-4 weeks.
I don’t buy extra coffee just to freeze, but with this site I do get sent a lot of coffee and have had times where I’ve felt overwhelmed trying to go through it all. This is where freezing coffee has helped me greatly. I do my initial testing and then pull out a bag from the freezer as I go along. This also lets me know if the coffee is degrading as I tasted it right before it went into the freezer.
And this is where I beg to differ that freezing coffee is bad…
I have yet to find any reason not to freeze coffee. Depending on what coffee book you pick up and read, or what article you find on the internet about freezing coffee, not everyone will have the same opinion. I hope you all will at least try it out before deciding that you are against it.
For those who decide to freeze, I would not recommend buying coffee just to freeze, though if for some reason you need to buy in bulk then freeze your coffee and try not to let it sit longer than 4 weeks as you may start to notice a substantial difference.
Feel free to comment in with your thoughts… I am curious of anyone else who has experimented with freezing coffee and their thoughts.