To freeze, or not to freeze, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler for the bean to endure
The woes and mortality of roast date,
Or to take one’s coffee into one’s own hands
And by caring keep it. To freeze—to maintain…
Should you freeze your coffee? If it wasn’t clear from my soliloquy (an ode to Shakespeare), the short answer is that it depends. Can you freeze coffee? Yes, if you do it right, that is. Read on to learn more!
When I first began working in coffee about 7 years ago, I was adamantly instructed by many peers to *never* freeze coffee. I was told that if you froze coffee, it would not only lose flavor, but also pick up the bad flavors that might be present in your freezer, such as much-dreaded freezer burn.
However, as with many things in life, when presented with new information, we must be willing to change when that new information calls for it. No stranger to this concept, when a dear friend who also works in the coffee industry suggested that I read more about freezing whole-bean coffee, I listened and began to experiment.
I’ve used both my standard freezer that’s part of my freezer/fridge, as well as use my deep freezer, and can confirm that after experimenting for about a year, so long as certain conditions are met, freezing coffee is a fantastic option for storage.
So, what are those conditions?
IDEAL CONDITIONS FOR FREEZING COFFEE FOR STORAGE
- The coffee needs to be whole bean.
- It is ideal to freeze the coffee on the day that it tastes best. I find that this can be anywhere from 5-10 days off roast, but anywhere up to 12 days for maximum flavor.
- The coffee should be in an airtight container. If you’re able to use a vacuum sealer, awesome! If not, at very least use double-sealed zip-lock bags or sturdy containers with a reliable lid (ideally one with a valve).
- Portion out single-servings before freezing for best-practice.
- Create a system that helps you identify when you froze the coffee. Things do not stay good in the freezer forever.
- You should use the coffee immediately after removing it from the freezer (within 15 minutes). Do not put it back in the freezer once you have opened it and removed some. This is the reason it is most ideal to portion out and freeze single-use portions.
FINDINGS FROM MY EXPERIMENT & FUN FACTS
- Coffee stays fresher in a deep freezer than a standard fridge/freezer combo. Deep freezers can extend frozen storage up to and exceeding one year! This is especially exciting if you want to be able to enjoy a coffee for months to come–for example, I freeze at least a little bit of each of our Reserve coffees! In a standard freezer, coffee will stay “fresh” for 3-6 months, but I find that it tastes best consumed in less than 3 months from freeze date.
- If you freeze ground coffee, it will leech flavors from the freezer, so it’s a big no-no. In fact, ground coffee is a great deodorizer for your fridge, working similarly to baking soda.
Have you experimented with freezing coffee? Let us know by tagging @stonecreekcoffee on Instagram or using the hashtag #stonecreekcoffee! And to shop our #FarmToCup coffees with free carbon neutral shipping, click the button below.
-Shakespeare, W. (1992). Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. C. Watts & K. Carabine (Eds.). Wordsworth Editions. (Original work published 1599)
-Some Strategies to Keep your Coffee Fresh – Coffee ad Astra (This article is especially great for those who want to geek out on some coffee science, as is Jonathan Gagné’s blog in general.)
-Should you be freezing your coffee? – Perfect Daily Grind
-Freezing Coffee The Proud Mary Way: How To Lock In Peak FlavorDaily Coffee News by Roast Magazine