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Grind Fresh or Frozen?
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artichoke
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Joined: 25 Aug 2010
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Location: New York NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Nov 16, 2010, 3:45pm
Subject: Grind Fresh or Frozen?
 

This is a question about grinding more than grinders ...

I often freeze roasted coffee beans to slow its aging in my ordinary freezer (maybe 20 degrees F).  I've found that I can grind coffee straight out of the freezer (no surprise there) and that it seems to work a bit better than grinding unfrozen coffee.  I am more likely to get a good slow gloppy pour with lots of crema and a good taste if I've ground frozen beans than fresh.

Comments?
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JYuriev
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Joined: 29 Oct 2010
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Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: La Pavoni ZIP, Gaggia MDF
Vac Pot: Hario 3 Cup
Drip: Bonmac Pour Over, Aeropress
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Wed Nov 17, 2010, 4:53pm
Subject: Re: Grind Fresh or Frozen?
 

It does not surprise me that you can grind and pull shots right out of the freezer, but the question is really why are you putting them in the freezer anyway.  I do believe the coffee would be best not frozen, you should really be buying only enough beans for a week or so, then you won't have to freeze anything.

As for you getting good pulls with the beans right out of the freezer, I don't know why that would be, but you will get better pulls using fresh beans.
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SteveRhinehart
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SteveRhinehart
Joined: 27 Dec 2009
Posts: 855
Location: Syracuse, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: 1970s La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Hario Skerton
Vac Pot: Yama Tabletop 3-cup
Drip: Chemex, CCD, Kalita Wave,...
Roaster: Flavorwave/Stir Crazy
Posted Thu Nov 18, 2010, 8:44am
Subject: Re: Grind Fresh or Frozen?
 

Ike,
Freezing fresh-roasted beans is a method recommended for those who cannot consume them before they go stale. For example, I roast my own, in 300 gram batches. I only go through about half of that in a week, and I've been roasting once or twice a week, so I freeze mine in mason jars. Freezing will not extend bean life indefinitely, but it will prolong staling, as long as the beans are not exposed to the freezer air; i.e. vacuum packed, mason jars, Ziploc bags even. It also does nothing for preground, or already stale (grocery store, Starbucks, etc.) whole beans.

To the OP, I actually have noticed some quality flaws in my beans if they aren't totally back to room temperature yet. Twice now, I've forgotten to pull a frozen batch out to thaw the night before, and had to brew "cold" in the morning. I've regretted it both times. The aromas seem more muted, while the tastes actually come out a bit burnt.
The typical advice with freezing beans (which I follow) is to let them come to room temp before use. If, however, you don't notice any defects, then I see no reason not to brew frozren. I haven't tried any of my homeroast as espresso yet, so I may actually test the frozen vs. thawed pours with my stock to see what difference it seems to make.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
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Location: Berkeley, CA
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Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Thu Nov 18, 2010, 10:39am
Subject: Re: Grind Fresh or Frozen?
 

Ike?  The beans ARE fresh; that's why they're in the freezer . . .

See:
Also:
. . . and on and on and on and on and on!

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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artichoke
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Joined: 25 Aug 2010
Posts: 69
Location: New York NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Dec 25, 2010, 12:44pm
Subject: Re: Grind Fresh or Frozen?
 

Thanks for all the thread references.  I thought I had discovered America for the first time ...

I haven't read all of them, but one thing I haven't seen much discussed in what I have read is whether frozen beans act differently in the grinder than room temperature beans.  Since they are harder, with the water frozen, I would expect them to.  Would they shatter less?  More?

With my problematic brewing setup (Krups, need I say more) I am just as successful at getting a decent pull using frozen beans as fresh.  Basically I am fighting that non-adjustable 15 bar pump all the time, so a successful shot is usually one where I choke the machine so it doesn't run thru too quickly.  The beans can't be too stale, and I have to tamp hard and well so there's no channel.  And I can do that just as well grinding frozen beans as fresh.  Maybe better, and I'm wondering what is happening in the grinder.
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EricBNC
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EricBNC
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 1,869
Location: North Carolina
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: QM Silvano, LP Stradivarius,...
Grinder: K30, Major, Preciso, Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam C30, Bodum Santos...
Drip: Bonavita BV-1800,...
Roaster: Behmor, Melitta, Fresh...
Posted Sat Dec 25, 2010, 6:31pm
Subject: Re: Grind Fresh or Frozen?
 

artichoke Said:

...With my problematic brewing setup (Krups, need I say more)...

Posted December 25, 2010 link

You can start with mentioning you are grinding with something not designed to make espresso grind.  You list a Braun KMM30 grinder. Yes, you can make dust with this grinder, but this is not the same as what you put in the portafilter for espresso - this dust is useful for Turkish Mediterranean coffee, but not for espresso.

I suspect that 15 bar "non-adjustable" pump or the temperature of beans has less to do with limited success than the stepped, flat burr grinder, modded or not.  Other grinders are better suited for this, or any other espresso machine.

This link should be helpful and explains it better than I can: "Domestic Espresso Grinder Analysis."

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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artichoke
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Joined: 25 Aug 2010
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Location: New York NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Dec 26, 2010, 8:15pm
Subject: Re: Grind Fresh or Frozen?
 

EricBNC Said:

You can start with mentioning you are grinding with something not designed to make espresso grind.  You list a Braun KMM30 grinder. Yes, you can make dust with this grinder, but this is not the same as what you put in the portafilter for espresso - this dust is useful for Turkish Mediterranean coffee, but not for espresso.

I suspect that 15 bar "non-adjustable" pump or the temperature of beans has less to do with limited success than the stepped, flat burr grinder, modded or not.  Other grinders are better suited for this, or any other espresso machine.

This link should be helpful and explains it better than I can: "Domestic Espresso Grinder Analysis."

Posted December 25, 2010 link

Sigh, this begs the question.  Do we know much, or anything, about how grinders interact with roasted coffee beans?  Is it different when those beans are frozen?  Yes I believe the Braun grinder is lousy too.  But I'm sure the extractor (Krups) is a problem, but I only have everyone telling me that the grinder is a problem but without scientific reasoning.  I can see the difference in the burrs, but to put it simply, so what?

You tell me that dust isn't what goes into a portafilter, when the Titan Grinder Project says that fines are indeed a large fraction of it.

The TGP analysis concludes with them knowing that much, but not knowing what a good grind looks like and not knowing what aspect of grinder or burr mechanics produces it.  No logical analysis is possible.  I don't think the participants in that project would disagree.  It's good work that they did, but science isn't easy.

I'll admit I have not tried different grinders.  But don't think I've ever spent a lot of money for something without thinking I understood what I was buying.  That includes cars, real estate, computers, and espresso equipment.  This scientific / engineering curiosity, this principle, has kept me from wasting untold amounts of money.  Even when I've made a mistake it hasn't been too bad.

This is cheap though: I may try getting a small quantity of coffee preground at my roaster (local, so I can rush home and use it) and see if the Krups suddenly delivers a god shot.  I see you have a Krups / Nespresso machine.  Does it work a lot better with a good grind?

I know that to make the my particular Krups perform at all, I have to pack it like crazy.  Simple logic dictates that if I have 15 bars (anyway more than 14 according to someone who did a pressure vs. flow graph) instead of 9, I will need to pack a lot tighter.  That's logic, it's something I can understand.  It's also something I've verified empirically.

Despite my light experience, let me say this.  I think grinder manufacturers are making a frickin' killing.  Two burrs, a motor, perhaps a frame, some sheet metal, and they charge hundreds of dollars.  A monkey (or more realistically a robot) could assemble them, and except for the motor and housing I cannot think of a part in one of them that should sell for more than $5.  An "espresso machine" has electronics, pressure stats or PIDs, hydraulics, heat, nowadays fancy plumbing for preinfusion, electronic controls, etc. etc.  Compared to an espresso machine, a grinder is so deadly simple that they should be much cheaper.  Since my setup is el cheapo anyway, I went with the scientific certainty that regardless of the answer to the question I ask in the thread, the Krups is limiting my quality severely.

I don't think my ownership of the Braun means I cannot even ask the question.  Maybe frozen beans diminish the bad effect of using a Braun.  I don't know, that's why I ask.  I'm not criticizing you for not knowing, because it seems that nobody knows much about this.
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EricBNC
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EricBNC
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 1,869
Location: North Carolina
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: QM Silvano, LP Stradivarius,...
Grinder: K30, Major, Preciso, Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam C30, Bodum Santos...
Drip: Bonavita BV-1800,...
Roaster: Behmor, Melitta, Fresh...
Posted Mon Dec 27, 2010, 6:28am
Subject: Re: Grind Fresh or Frozen?
 

Sigh, this begs the question.  Do we know much, or anything, about how grinders interact with roasted coffee beans?
Yes – grinders reduce the bean down to smaller particles.  The better grinders do this with greater consistency with regard to particle size.

artichoke Said:

Yes I believe the Braun grinder is lousy too.

Posted December 26, 2010 link

Not lousy for filter drip, but not consistent enough with regard to particle size for espresso.

artichoke Said:

But I'm sure the extractor (Krups) is a problem, but I only have everyone telling me that the grinder is a problem but without scientific reasoning.  I can see the difference in the burrs, but to put it simply, so what?

Posted December 26, 2010 link

The link provides the answer – the Braun has two raised pieces on the bottom burr that shatter the bean – the little serrated teeth do not contribute much.

artichoke Said:

You tell me that dust isn't what goes into a portafilter, when the Titan Grinder Project says that fines are indeed a large fraction of it.

Posted December 26, 2010 link

Fines maybe – dust chokes any espresso machine and creates problems like what you describe.

artichoke Said:

I'll admit I have not tried different grinders.

Posted December 26, 2010 link

 
Then keep an open mind.

artichoke Said:

But don't think I've ever spent a lot of money for something without thinking I understood what I was buying.  That includes cars, real estate, computers, and espresso equipment.  This scientific / engineering curiosity, this principle, has kept me from wasting untold amounts of money.  Even when I've made a mistake it hasn't been too bad.

Posted December 26, 2010 link

Those things are very complicated – this is just coffee.

artichoke Said:

This is cheap though: I may try getting a small quantity of coffee preground at my roaster (local, so I can rush home and use it) and see if the Krups suddenly delivers a god shot.  I see you have a Krups / Nespresso machine.  Does it work a lot better with a good grind?

Posted December 26, 2010 link

I hope you meant to type good shot instead of “god” shot.  The Krups / Nespresso machine uses Nespresso capsules which do contain fine ground coffee.  I use a Krups type 882 more often than not for espresso from whole bean coffee.  It will produce nice crema and flavor nuances not found in a cup brewed with a French press using the same beans, so I think it works properly.  

artichoke Said:

I know that to make the my particular Krups perform at all, I have to pack it like crazy.  Simple logic dictates that if I have 15 bars (anyway more than 14 according to someone who did a pressure vs. flow graph) instead of 9, I will need to pack a lot tighter.  That's logic, it's something I can understand.  It's also something I've verified empirically.

Posted December 26, 2010 link

The extra pressure does not go through the puck – usually pressure over 9 bar is re-directed by the overpressure valve.

artichoke Said:

Despite my light experience, let me say this.  I think grinder manufacturers are making a frickin' killing.  Two burrs, a motor, perhaps a frame, some sheet metal, and they charge hundreds of dollars.  A monkey (or more realistically a robot) could assemble them, and except for the motor and housing I cannot think of a part in one of them that should sell for more than $5.

Posted December 26, 2010 link

Good grinders are made in 1st world countries with higher labor costs and the quality of the burrs require extra processing which increases cost as well. I wish they were cheaper too, but I am sure someone out there wishes my goods or services cost less as well.

artichoke Said:

Since my setup is el cheapo anyway, I went with the scientific certainty that regardless of the answer to the question I ask in the thread, the Krups is limiting my quality severely.

Posted December 26, 2010 link

The Krups is not a Speedster, but some models are adequate. The Krups type 964 is similar to your unit - it made the shot in my avatar. Other Krups models have decent pumps, some even have stainless steel boilers instead of thermo blocks  and nice, heavy brass portafilters.  These can produce decent entry level espresso too.

artichoke Said:

I don't think my ownership of the Braun means I cannot even ask the question.  Maybe frozen beans diminish the bad effect of using a Braun.  I don't know, that's why I ask.  I'm not criticizing you for not knowing, because it seems that nobody knows much about this.

Posted December 26, 2010 link

I am not trying to put down your equipment – I own very similar equipment and do understand the limitations completely.  Peace.

EricBNC: Rex Original2 12.27.10.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,431
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Mon Dec 27, 2010, 7:25am
Subject: Re: Grind Fresh or Frozen?
 

David?  Just re-read what Eric wrote -- he beat me to it . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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artichoke
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Joined: 25 Aug 2010
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Location: New York NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jan 15, 2011, 4:25pm
Subject: Re: Grind Fresh or Frozen?
 

Hey guys I'm back ... figured that after that response I'd be automatically redirected to the Maxwell House chat board ... now I think you've seen about the maximum of my temper.  Thanks for the measured response Eric.

I am going to try pregrinding a bit of coffee next time I get some at Fairway Market.  I can't stand the thought, but I'm going to try.  (But I did this before, before Fairway opened nearby, and got a can of Lavazza espresso preground.  I was testing to see if my "stock" Braun was grinding fine enough for espresso, and lo and behold I wasn't, so I rejiggered the Braun.  Then it seemed more or less similar to extracting the Lavazza preground.  My experiment with the Lavazza did not continue very long because it was completely undrinkable, tasted rancid and disgusting even in a milk drink, and I threw out half the can.  Since it was stale and rancid, I'm sure the crema was severely impacted as well as the taste and everything else that matters.)

I didn't know the Krups (mine is an 885, similar to the more recent 5000 series at least visually) had an overpressure valve.  Where does the water that's shunted off go?
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