Ronaldinho Senior Member Joined: 26 Feb 2004 Posts: 28 Location: The City of Angels Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sun Feb 6, 2005, 11:01am Subject: Freeze your beans?
So I've read a couple of non-coffeegeek places (Consumer reports, the manual that came with my steam-driven espresso machine ten years ago, etc) that you shouldn't freeze beans if you're going to use them for espresso.
But most CG's freeze their beans, right? Is there any reason not to, assuming roasting daily isn't an option. :)
nyc_crema Senior Member Joined: 13 Oct 2004 Posts: 1,602 Location: New York City Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Alexia, Silvia Grinder: Mazzer Mini Roaster: Gorilla, Intelligentsia,...
Posted Sun Feb 6, 2005, 12:21pm Subject: Re: Freeze your beans?
I've read that freezing is only worth it if the beans are extremely fresh (like the day they're roasted). I don't have the experience to validate that statement, but its what I've read a few times. I also heard that freezing expands the water molecules inside the bean and thus ruins the beans, so in this respect freezing would be a bad thing.
You can do some experiments sticking to the scientific method, that'd really let you know what you prefer. I think in the end it comes down to how much you notice the degree of being stale. Personally, I don't freeze beans at all because of the thought (fear?) that freezing would ruin the beans (water molecules expanding). As well, I don't even have enough beans to freeze.
It would interesting to try taking a vacuum bag and freezing that as CafeDJ mentioned.
Posted Sun Feb 6, 2005, 11:22pm Subject: Re: Freeze your beans?
I never freeze beans--I understand that the oils sublimate and much of the flavor (and crema capability) is lost. I buy--within a day or two of roasting--only as much as I'm going to use in 7-10 days and store the bag in a ceramic crock with a spring-clip (Mason-jar-style) lid. For drip, in fact, this keeps the beans fresh enough for over two weeks. My mom freezes both beans and ground coffee and I *can* taste the difference.
Sandy www.sandyandina.com ------------------- Life's too short to drink lousy coffee, play crummy guitars and write with ballpoint pens.
hamm Senior Member Joined: 22 May 2003 Posts: 530 Location: Kettering, Ohio Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Alex Duetto (1st gen) Grinder: Mazzer Mini Vac Pot: I'm not that kind of guy... Drip: From the faucet occasionally Roaster: I buy from several
Posted Mon Feb 7, 2005, 5:32pm Subject: Re: Freeze your beans?
I have to agree with most of you here in this thread that it's perfectly fine to freeze beans as long as it's done in the proper manner.
You basically don't want to get any condensation around the beans or allow air to get around them during freezing. Hence vacuum freezing works rather well.
If I get a few pounds of Black Cat, I receive them about 2 days after roasting. If I use one pound without ever freezing, they start to go off little by little, noticable only around the tenth day or so. I get perfectl acceptable results 2-3 weeks later, but they're obviously best within the first week.
I'kk freeze the rest by sealing them in freezer bags and squeezing out as much air as possible. To thaw, I simply remove the bags from the freezer the night befopre I want to use them, never opening the freezer bags. You want the condensation to form on the outside of the freezer bag and let it warm up slowly. By the time the whole thing's at room temperature, the beans emerge amazingly fresh.
The downside is that frozen beans seem to go stale more quickly. Whereas the unfrozen beans might last me 2 weeks, the thawed beans start losing the freshness after about 9-10 days.
But for the most part, even beans I've had frozen for a month emerge as fresh as the day I froze them. It's like freezing loaves of bread.
I thik what Zep was thinking was that you want the beans in an area of the freezer that's away from the door so that by opening the freezer door, you won't get condensation on the bag that will refreeze. I think that's where freezer burn comes from. I put the beans in the very back underneath as much frogen stuff as possible, such as bags of vegetables & stuff. Since my freezer is empty a lot, I sometimes fill a couple containers with ice cubes to put around the beans.
So it can be done with good results. But buying fresh and using those beans within their ideal freshness perioid is always preferable to freezing. It;s just not practical for those of us who don't live near a decent roaster.
Maybe it's time to look into an Alpenroast or something...
short_black Senior Member Joined: 3 Aug 2004 Posts: 383 Location: Perth Australia Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: La Cim Jun S1 Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Iberital Roaster: 1/4 share broken(;-() Imex
Posted Tue Feb 8, 2005, 5:50am Subject: Re: Freeze your beans?
Here is my experience with this: I usually buy 2 bags of the same freshly roasted (same day) beans. I keep one bag (A) out unfrozen to use and freeze the other (B) in an airtight container. I use bag A within ~10 days. On ~ day 9 I remove B from the freezer and leave to thaw for 2-3 hours before opening and trying. At that point in time there is no question to me that that B is fresher than A, but B is definitely not as fresh as when they were freshly roasted. The B beans also definitely go staler quicker than A.
For me it's a trade off between going back to the roaster every 10 days or surviving for an extra week or so on beans that are better than if they had never been frozen - but not as good as freshly roasted.
Also most people think plastic freezer bags are airtight which they are not - they do leak over time including letting water vapour in/out. I would recommend a screw top jar with a tough but flexible seal.
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