For a perfect cup of coffee, you’ll need to store your quality coffee beans properly to maximize their flavor and freshness. So, have you ever wondered whether you should freeze your coffee beans? If yes, you’re not alone. Furthermore, there’s so much contradicting information on the internet regarding this topic. This article answers your question and discusses everything you need to know regarding the proper storage of coffee beans. Read on!
Can Coffee Beans Be Frozen?
Yes, coffee beans can be frozen. Moreover, there are benefits to freezing your coffee beans. However, there are specific steps that you need to follow to maximize as much flavor and quality of your coffee beans. First and foremost, roasted coffee beans tend to lose flavor fast as a result of oxidation. When coffee beans are left out in the air, they’ll react with moisture, oxygen, and light, thus leading to the loss of flavors. Unflavored coffee beans taste dull. This is why storing your roasted coffee beans is an important step in maintaining freshness and flavors. Here are some of the benefits of freezing your coffee beans.
Benefits of Freezing Your Coffee Beans
1. Freezing Maximizes Flavor
Generally, the key to keeping your food fresh and flavored is freezing it. This also applies to coffee beans. Roasted coffee beans lose their flavor and aroma quickly if not stored properly. In optimal circumstances, you’re supposed to brew your roasted coffee beans 3 to 14 days after roasting. Failure to do this, the oils in the coffee beans begin to stale and the flavors begin to dull. At this point, your coffee will taste kind of bitter and dirty.
The best way to preserve your coffee beans longer is by freezing them. Freezing locks the coffee beans’ flavors and keeps the beans in the same state until you’re ready to use them. Therefore, the flavors are intact as they would be a few days after roasting. Your coffee may not taste like a freshly roasted cup of coffee but it will be close to it.
2. Freezing Increases Grinding Quality
Freezing your coffee beans will increase the grinding quality. When grinding roasted coffee beans, you’ll either get a fine grind, a coarse grind or a medium grind, depending on the grinder you’re using. A fine grind is more likely to over-extract, while a coarse grind is more likely to under-extract. However, grinding frozen coffee beans will result in even grind sizes. You’ll get fewer coarse particles and fewer fine particles. Therefore, when it comes to coffee extraction, the flavors extracted are more even leading to a sweeter and less acidic or bitter cup of coffee. Generally, grinding frozen coffee beans makes your cup of joe taste better.
How to Freeze Your Coffee Beans
Here are some steps involved in freezing your coffee beans properly.
1. Use an Airtight Container
Roasted coffee beans are hygroscopic – they are completely dry and ready to absorb any moisture, flavors, or aromas from the surrounding environment. Therefore, you need to use airtight containers, or vacuum-sealing plastic bags to prevent any moisture, odors, or oxygen from coming into contact with the coffee beans. Original coffee bags will not work since they have a degassing valve. When coffee beans are not stored in airtight bags or containers, they’ll absorb flavors and odors from your frozen foods, thus leading to degradation and undesirable flavors.
2. Freeze Your Coffee Beans in Small Batches
If you’re freezing a large batch of coffee beans, you’ll need multiple air containers or vacuum bags to freeze your coffee beans in small batches. Opening your airtight container several times is just like storing coffee beans in a container that’s not airtight since the beans will react with moisture and oxygen. You can get some sort of tube or a container (airtight) that fits the coffee beans you’ll need for three to six days to avoid opening airtight containers several times.
3. Defrost Before Opening
Opening the container with the coffee beans immediately after removing them from the freezer, causes moisture to form on your coffee beans as a result of environmental change. Therefore, it’s best to allow frozen coffee beans to defrost overnight so that they are ready in the morning.
4. Consider the Coffee Beans Roast Levels
According to studies, dark roasted coffee beans lose their flavors and aroma more quickly at room temperature compared to lightly roasted coffee beans. This is because dark roasts contain more volatile molecules than lightly roasted coffee beans. Therefore, when freezing your coffee beans, you’ll want to freeze the dark roasted ones more quickly to avoid degradation.
How Long Should You Freeze Coffee Beans?
Freezing coffee beans is considered a safe way to store your beans and maximize flavor. You can store your coffee beans for even a year without degradation. However, you should follow the above storing procedures. Most importantly, store coffee beans in smaller batches since storing them in larger batches may lead to the diminishing quality and flavor of the coffee beans within months of freezing.
Additionally, frozen coffee beans have a short shelf life. And keep in mind that, freezing only saves flavor that’s already present. For example, when you buy the grocery store beans that have been lying on the shelves for months, there’s no flavor to save even if you freeze them. Therefore, buy high-quality freshly roasted coffee beans if you’re looking to freeze them to maximize flavor.
Can Coffee Grounds Be Frozen?
Ideally, you can either freeze whole or ground coffee beans. This is as long as they’re in an airtight container. However, you should freeze whole coffee beans rather than ground beans. This is because ground coffee is in small particles and thus has a high surface area for interaction with environmental elements. Therefore, your ground coffee will readily lose more flavor quickly when in contact with oxygen, moisture, light, and other food odors.
You can freeze your coffee beans as long as you store them in airtight containers or vacuum bags. Additionally, store your coffee beans in smaller batches to avoid contact of your beans with environmental elements when opening and closing the airtight container. Generally, freezing your coffee beans will maximize the flavors and their freshness provided you follow the steps required. What’s more, buy freshly roasted coffee beans instead of the grocery store beans that have been on the shelves. This way, you have the flavors to maximize. Otherwise, when you freeze low-quality coffee beans, you’ll get low-quality coffee.