Freezing Coffee Beans: How do you do it the right way?
Freezing coffee gets a bad rap, and that mainly due to the fact that most people don’t do it the right way.
Following the correct methods, you can genuinely extent the life of your coffee, preserving the nuances and flavours of a 2 week old coffee.
Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself.
We had a beautiful Colombian Geisha safely stored in our upright freezer and it’s still mesmerising our cafe visitors 4 months on.
So, let’s dive right in, shall we?
The 4 Most Important External Factors to Eliminate
If you’re going to consider freezing your coffee; oxygen, water, light, and bacteria need to be elemeninated otherwise, freezing them won’t help much. The good news is that freezers are cold and dark, so that’s two factors taken care of already.
Here’s why it’s so important to get rid of all of these factors for freezing to be most effective.
Oxygen Hurts Beans
Oxygen and the process of Oxidation can play a major role in determining the shelf life of coffee. Oxidation is the process of oxygen pulling away electrons from another molecule. This is usually associated with metals, but it has a role to play in the life of coffee. These molecules, with an uneven number of electrons, become unstable and begin reacting with other molecules around them. Called free radicals, these volatile compounds are the root cause of browning, aging, rusting, and in the coffee world, staling.
Water Causes Staleness
Humidity or moisture causes staleness in coffee beans. Humid conditions can also lead to mold and bacterial growth. This is a definite no-go when you’re trying to make your coffee beans last longer.
UV Light Damages Beans (Usually Not An Issue Inside A Freezer)
UV rays emit energy. This energy breaks down all organic matter. Sunlight, or any light really, should be avoided.
Fun Fact: Light damage is known asphotodegradation.
Choose a storage container that’s totally opaque if you can. Otherwise, every time you open your freezer, your coffee beans will be exposed to light.
4 Steps to Prepare and Freeze Coffee Beans like a Pro
1. You need Fresh Beans
Remember, only fresh degassed coffee beans can be frozen and preserved.
If your coffee beans have been sitting out for a few days, you may still be able to save them, but only if you get them in the freezer while they’re still within their “freshness” window.
Check the roast date! You should have coffee beans that have been roasted no longer than 2-3 weeks prior.
2. Divide Coffee Beans Into Your Ideal Portion Sizes
Divide your coffee beans into smaller portion sizes that you would plan to use within a 1-2 day window.
3. Repackage Your Beans
The only way to properly freeze coffee is to vacuum pack them.
So, you’d want to invest in a vacuum sealing machine and some vacuum pouches. These are readily available on Amazon , anywhere from AED50 up to AED500
4. Important post-freezing procedures
One of controversies around freezing coffee beans, is brought about due to the thawing process.
When thing thaw, condensation is created. However, there’s a pretty easy way to avoid this.
Grind immediately – Problem solved!
Contrary to a lot of comments on the topic, grinding frozen beans is actually quite beneficial.
You end up with more uniform grind particle size which then delivers a higher rate of extraction.
the end result – a sweeter, more balanced tasting coffee
How’s that for a win-win situation?