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Discussions > Coffee > Q and A > Freezing coffee...  
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mgwolf
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
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Posted Mon May 1, 2006, 5:59pm
Subject: Re: Freezing coffee why not?
 

After reading many admonitions about freezing coffee beans, I invested in a bunch of vacu-vin containers to store my beans in.  Over the months, several of these containers refused to hold a vacuum any more, but by and large, after a couple of weeks in airtight, dark storage, my fresh beans were still quite old, had no crema, and tasted lousy.  

I thought that freezing probably wouldn't be any worse, so I started storing my beans in the freezer.  Most of them don't make it in for a week or so after roasting, but VOILA --- after several weeks in the freezer, the beans are still quite decent and brew a very drinkable espresso.  So, now, I put everything in the freezer in sealed bags and take out 2-3 days worth at a time.  Works much better than anything else I've tried (not counting home roasting which I haven't plunged into yet).  This was a scientifically conducted experiment (n=1) of course.  Michael
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brokencup
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brokencup
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Posted Mon May 1, 2006, 6:44pm
Subject: Re: Freezing coffee why not?
 

mgwolf Said:

After reading many admonitions about freezing coffee beans, I invested in a bunch of vacu-vin containers to store my beans in.  Over the months, several of these containers refused to hold a vacuum any more, but by and large, after a couple of weeks in airtight, dark storage, my fresh beans were still quite old, had no crema, and tasted lousy.  

I thought that freezing probably wouldn't be any worse, so I started storing my beans in the freezer.  Most of them don't make it in for a week or so after roasting, but VOILA --- after several weeks in the freezer, the beans are still quite decent and brew a very drinkable espresso.  So, now, I put everything in the freezer in sealed bags and take out 2-3 days worth at a time.  Works much better than anything else I've tried (not counting home roasting which I haven't plunged into yet).  This was a scientifically conducted experiment (n=1) of course.  Michael

Posted May 1, 2006 link

But the question is, how does it compare to fresh? I'd be interested in your opinion.

BTW, the reason that the vac containers can't work is that they can't pull enough of a vacuum. So there is more than enough staling oxygen left in the container.

I freeze roasted beans as a last resort not as a matter of course.

This site contains a chart that you might find interesting. Click here

Bob
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mgwolf
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
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Posted Mon May 1, 2006, 7:25pm
Subject: Re: Freezing coffee why not?
 

Bob,
The beans are not as good as fresh, but if you compare 7-10 day old fresh stored vs. frozen, the frozen are better I think;  and for sure, at 2-3 weeks out, the frozen are quite OK.  I'm the only coffee drinker and I usually order 2-3 lbs at a time which, if not frozen, will be mostly rancid by the time I use them.  I could order coffee every week or so, but I can't stand paying that much postage for each pound separately.  Michael
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GaryH
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GaryH
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Posted Mon May 1, 2006, 8:28pm
Subject: Re: Freezing coffee — why not?
 

brokencup Said:

Interesting. But how did both shots compare with fresh beans say 5 days old, that is the question?

Bob

Posted May 1, 2006 link

I like the Ethiopian Harrar for its strong berry taste. The shot on the left, 18 days after roast, had lost about 90% of the berry taste, so ready to be tost. The shot on the right, 33 days after roast but frozen 32 days, had lost about 30% (rough guess) of the berry taste compared to freshly roasted Harrar about three days after roast. The  beans which were frozen for 32 days still made very enjoyable tasting ristrettos with good berry taste.
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brokencup
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brokencup
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Posted Mon May 1, 2006, 8:51pm
Subject: Re: Freezing coffee — why not?
 

Both of your experiences agree with my own and with the chart which I linked to above. I have also read that coffee, once unfrozen, tends to stale at a more rapid pace. Because of this, I view freezing as an emergency work around rather than as a primary way of storing coffee. Of course, freezing vs. fresh is a tradeoff that each person must make for himself.

Bob
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jrtATL
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jrtATL
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Posted Mon May 1, 2006, 9:42pm
Subject: Re: Freezing coffee why not?
 

mgwolf Said:

After reading many admonitions about freezing coffee beans, I invested in a bunch of vacu-vin containers to store my beans in.  

Posted May 1, 2006 link

I LOVE vacu-vin for wine, but it leaves MUCH to be desired for other applications (i.e., the instant marinator -- POS).

For coffee in a vacuum, try the foodsaver.  I use it two ways:  1) I always buy more beans than I need in a week (usually 2 weeks worth).  I store 1 week's worth in a foodsaver bag, IN MY FREEZER (immediately upon receipt of the fresh beans); 2) I use a foodsaver Mason Jar attachment to store my room temperature beans for 1-2 weeks.

Once I defrost the beans frozen in a foodsaver bag, I notice no appreciable difference in taste, crema, or mouthfeel from fresh, non-frozen beans.

I can keep beans relatively fresh in a mason jar with the foodsaver attachment (even after freezing and defrost).  I notice very slight decline in taste, crema, and mouthfeel over a 1-2 week period (depending on the beans and roast).  Much less decline than with beans kept in a ziplock, valve bag, or other container.

YMMV.

Jeremy

 
"I've appeared before every court in the state.  Often as a lawyer." - Lionel Hutz, Esq.
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GaryH
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GaryH
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Posted Tue May 2, 2006, 10:53am
Subject: Re: Freezing coffee — why not?
 

brokencup Said:

I have also read that coffee, once unfrozen, tends to stale at a more rapid pace.
Bob

Posted May 1, 2006 link

Thanks for mentioning this. I noticed the same thing but always thought it was my imagination. But looks like it's true (bummer).
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jkandell
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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2006, 9:12pm
Subject: Re: Freezing coffee why not?
 

There is a distinct advantage to freezing no one has mentioned: if you use a blade grinder it keeps the temperature down.  Temperature will kill coffee much quicker than anything else.  Room temperature beans don't taste good; but the frozen beans maintain lots of aroma and flavor.  I've been freezing beans for decades, and you do have to watch out for condensation; no big deal, you just make sure you shut the jar quickly or use moisture absorbers.
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jliedeka
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jliedeka
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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2006, 4:41pm
Subject: Re: Freezing coffee why not?
 

loftyb,

Since you are buying the whole beans once or twice a week, I don't think you would benefit from freezing them.  As long as you keep them away from heat, light and O2, they should be fine.  I roast once a week and store my beans in glass mason jars with fair to middlin seals.  Most of the beans I roast taste best 2-5 days into the roast and are just starting to fade after a week.  For drip, 10 day old beans are usually drinkable.

I guess I'm in the no-freeze camp.  Why freeze beans when fresh coffee is easily available?  If I don't have time to roast (or the weather is too cold), I have some good local sources for fresh beans.

As for the pre-ground stuff, I won't venture an opinion there.  Pre-ground is against my religion.

    Jim

 
Cafe todo el dia, tequila toda la noche
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