The number one question I am asked by my customers is “How should I store my beans?” The second most asked question is “Should I store my beans in the freezer?”
My immediate response to the freezing question is usually “Please don’t freeze the beans!” Lately, I began to wonder about this. Why do so many people think they should freeze their coffee and where along my coffee roasting journey did I learn that this was not a good thing to do?
Here’s what I know:
- Coffee can and does go stale over time.
- You should store coffee beans in air tight containers at room temperature and limit exposure to oxygen, light, heat, and moisture.
- If you can, you should buy fresh roasted coffee and use it within 1-3 weeks of the roast date for optimum freshness.
- Whole bean coffee will stay fresher longer than ground coffee.
- Never put coffee in the freezer….. but why and is that really true?
Here’s what I learned:
The National Coffee Association recommends storing your coffee in opaque, air-tight containers at room temperature. They do not recommend for or against freezing coffee. However, they do provide this advice:
“If you choose to freeze your coffee, quickly remove as much as you need for no more than a week at a time, and return the rest to the freezer before any condensation forms on the frozen coffee.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t do anything quickly before I have my morning coffee!
I did not find any reliable scientific publications on this topic. I did find quite a number of blog writers who reference “various studies,” but they don’t actually cite the studies. There are also a number of coffee enthusiasts out there who have experimented with freezing coffee and drawn their own conclusions.
Although reliable scientific data on this topic is very limited, scientific reasoning does support freezing as a way to preserve the aromatics by reducing water activity and rates of oxidation. But freezing also risks exposing your coffee to excess moisture.
So now what is my advice when I am asked about freezing coffee?
Coffee is meant to be an enjoyable experience. So, if freezing your coffee makes you happy and it tastes better to you, then go right ahead and make some space in your freezer!