Should I Freeze Coffee Beans?

by That's Coffee on July 25, 2011

This question has been asked over and over again.

The concept behind the question is that the shelf life of most foods can be extended by being frozen.  Many generations have taught us to freeze or refrigerate whole or ground coffee beans just like we do other products such as meats, herbs and vegetables.

The key to answering this question is to recognize the four natural enemies of fresh tasting coffee beans:

  • Light
  • Heat
  • Moisture
  • Odors

Does the freezer defend against these four enemies? NO.

The freezer is dark and cool but it is anything but odorless and dry.

General Rule of Thumb: Do Not Freeze Your Coffee Beans

Upright FreezerFresh coffee beans are threatened by the moisture in a freezer because the beans are very porous. They naturally absorb what is around them, including the moisture and the odors in a freezer.

If you place coffee beans next to bananas they will soon taste like bananas; if you freeze coffee beans next to salmon they will soon taste like fish.

Over time, coffee beans stored in a freezer will deteriorate not only as they absorb orders and moisture but as the freezing process breaks down the natural oils that give coffee beans their rich, signature tastes.

For the freshest tasting coffee, do not freeze!

Exception to the Rule: If You Must Freeze, Freeze Only Once

Coffee beans stay at their optimal freshness for up to two weeks after roasting.

Sometimes it is impossible to consume all of the coffee beans during this time. In this case, most coffee experts will suggest that you can break the “No Freeze” rule just once.

If you must, place your coffee beans in an air tight container that will help defend against the odors and moistures. When you remove the coffee beans from the freezer, the moisture will naturally melt away and be absorbed into the bean – putting the coffee beans back into the freezer only repeats this process over and over again!

Unbreakable Rule: Never Refrigerate Your Coffee Beans

Use your gourmet coffee beans within 2 weeks for ultimate freshness. Freeze your coffee beans one time if you do not think you can consumer the coffee beans before their freshness disappears.

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