close

The Art of Coffee |January 11, 2024

Should I Be Freezing My Coffee?

We have all done it. It seems logical. Freezing things preserves them, right? Cold temperatures slow the staling of bread, fruits, waffles, just about everything. Isn’t freezing your coffee beans or grounds the best way to lengthen their use? Science and consumer behavior reports say it depends on a couple of things. Let’s find out what they are.

The enemy of your coffee’s freshness

First, know that 4 things are the enemy of your coffee’s freshness. In order they are: air, moisture, heat and light.

Most quality coffees are stored in foil lined bags with a one-way valve. This allows CO2 out and no O2 in. That’s why when you open your bag of coffee for the first time it has the most incredible smell. You will notice though that even by the second day the aroma will become a bit less intense.

So, coffee “best practices” says minimal air exposure is the most crucial. If you have a large bag of fresh roasted coffee, put it in the freezer, and intend to use it daily, two bad things will happen. One is that when you open your bag, ambient moisture in the air will enter, and when you refreeze the moisture in the bag will become ice crystals in/on the beans (remember coffee beans are porous) and that is not good for your coffee.

The second is when you take your beans out of the freezer, several consumer behavior studies report it takes nearly 7 minutes for it to go back in. Feeding the cat, checking your email, getting distracted…means condensation is occurring and water droplets are forming on your beans. Not good for preserving them. Several coffee professionals say that if you have a large bag, you can portion it out and use seal-a-meals or freezer safe mason jars to divide the bag into 3-6 day portions. Take your coffee out, let it defrost overnight, and then use in the next few days without putting it back in the freezer.

This leads us to storing coffee in general.

Find a place in your cupboard that is dark and cool (stable) and is easily accessible for making your brew. Containers can be:

  • Airtight containers like Greenwell’s Airscape
  • Mason Jars in cloth bags
  • Coffee bag rolled tight and placed in a Tupperware container

Additionally, when it comes to fresh and expensive coffee, buy only what you can consume in a week or two and then get more. The more we know about coffee science the more we have come to understand that the subtlety and nuance of coffee is at its most intense within a few weeks of roasting.

We also know that different coffees have different sweet spots. Post roasting coffee needs to de-gas a bit for better flavor. Darker roasted coffee will create much more CO2 in the roast, but the bean will release it faster. Light roasted coffee doesn’t create as much CO2 but the beans are denser and hold on to it longer. That means the sweet spot for different roasts varies.

If the bag hasn’t been opened and storage was as described above, your coffee should be fine for several months, although my limit is 45 days (about 1 and a half months). Once the bag is opened, use that coffee within 2 weeks storing as above. Remember that we are talking about whole bean coffee in all of the above and so if you are buying your coffee ground, it has a shorter shelf life due to more air exposure to the grinds.

Freezing Coffee Summation

Much of what we discussed above is for the coffee geeks (like me) who insist on keeping their coffees fresh and vibrant. If you are in this group then, best practices will keep you loving every sip.

If our discussion today has you shaking your head in disbelief, let your takeaway be this:

Minimal air exposure, dark, dry and cool is how you store coffee. No fridge, no freezer unless creating smaller portions for longer storage and not daily use.That alone will help the fresh-life of your coffee.

Wishing you joy in every sip!

Other Coffee Questions

What Does My 100% Kona Coffee Cost Per Cup?
Does Cup Size Matter?

3 thoughts on “Should I Be Freezing my Coffee?

  1. Joetta Misterek says:

    Good ifo

  2. David Shifrin says:

    Thanks for the above. We, long ago, stopped freezing coffee as we had been told that it was a wives tale that freezing is good for coffee and we didn’t like the taste. Now, you’ve explained why we didn’t like the taste, and we appreciate the lesson.

    My wife and I store our whole bean coffee in a cool, dry and dark pantry. We always squeeze the air out of the storage bag, which is the metallic bag you supply with our order, and try to make sure that we minimize exposure to the air anyway. It’s one of the reasons we buy whole bean and grind ourselves, and we always grind right before brewing. Finally, we always buy what we can drink in a few weeks rather than storing coffee for a long time.

    I think we are basically following your recommendations already, but please advise if any of the above should be adjusted for an even better cup of coffee. Thanks again!

  3. Barbara says:

    I do freeze my coffee and never open it until it will be used…then it goes in cool,dry,dark place inbetween daily uses. It is always wonderful for me so I have not had any problems with freezing….Barbara

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Explore Related Blogs

The Chocolate Coffee Float with Matt

The Art of Coffee February 13, 2024

The Chocolate Coffee Float

As coffee purists go, I do really enjoy a simple yet nuanced cup of black coffee. During the last few years of “coffee educating” I...
Pouring 100% Kona Coffee into a Greenwell Farms mug

The Art of Coffee October 30, 2023

What Does My 100% Kona Coffee Cost Per Cup?

As the pinch of inflation permeates into our daily lives, we often take a second look at the things in our lives and decide whether...
100% Kona Coffee Spiced Vanilla Latte

The Art of Coffee October 3, 2023

Try This Recipe: 100% Kona Coffee Spiced Vanilla Latte

As we move into the autumn season, with Halloween just around the corner, many of us start to crave those treasured holiday flavors. Today I...
Join Our Newsletter
Thank You!

Thank you for signing up for our newsletter.

Opps!

Something is wrong. Please try again later.