With the recent rise in coffee culture and coffee popularity, many people have bought their home-use coffee in bulk to save money. However, buying more coffee than you might use has come with a new question. Many people, including myself, have been wondering how to preserve our fresh coffee. Freezing your coffee seems logical, but can coffee beans be frozen?
Fresh coffee beans will always be better. However, using some stringent guidelines can help you preserve your coffee in a freezer if you use it within a month or two and preferably freeze them as beans instead of pre-ground coffee.
Though it is possible to store coffee in a freezer, the techniques to keep your coffee up to standard are crucial to follow. If you do not stick to the guidelines, you will ruin your coffee.
How To Successfully Freeze Coffee Beans
Knowing how to freeze your coffee beans is integral to preserving your coffee while at the same time making sure they still taste good. There are a couple of general guidelines for freezing your coffee and preserving its quality while doing so. Even one mistake in the process of freezing your coffee can create a significant loss in quality.
1. Keep Your Coffee In An Airtight Container
If you are planning on freezing your coffee, it is crucial to make sure that you keep any air out of your container.
If you want to freeze your coffee, you must keep as much air out of the container as possible as free moving air will corrupt your beans’ taste, smell, and quality. For a freezer, your best chance at keeping beans fresh is to split up your bulk coffee into weeks and freeze these smaller portions in a vacuum-sealed bag.
2. Plan Your Coffee Usage And Split It Up
For freezing your coffee, it is also essential to make sure that you plan your coffee usage out ahead of time. Splitting up your beans into weeks is the preferred and recommended practice and will help you preserve all the goodness of the beans.
By splitting up your coffee into weeks, you give yourself enough time to thaw the beans before opening the package. As most coffee enthusiasts will know, moisture is the enemy of coffee preservation. Another reason for sealing your coffee in airtight containers is moisture.
If you do not plan out your coffee usage and open a frozen bag of coffee before enough time has been given for thawing, your coffee will be flooded as soon as you open the sealed container.
Not only will you be breaking a vacuum allowing for air to fill the container and start the aging process immediately, but you will also allow any moisture from the package to fill into the package as the condensation on the package and beans will start melting and gathering as soon as it comes out the freezer.
3. Keep It Away From Light
Putting your thawing coffee on the kitchen counter and allowing the sun to help quicken the process seems like a logical and almost intuitive thing to do.
However, there are two reasons why this is a terrible idea. The first reason is light itself. Light has a terrible effect on your coffee. The sun, lamps, and any other kinds of light cause the organics in your coffee to start breaking apart, causing a significant loss in flavor and preservation time.
The second reason for this is that heat is another silent killer of coffee. The heat from any source is bad for your coffee preservation as it causes your coffee to break away faster on a molecular level. Heat improves molecular movement, which means that the molecules break apart more quickly.
How To Use Coffee You Have Frozen
After following the correct steps to freeze your coffee without losing any essential flavors or preservation time, it is good to understand how to use the beans when taking them out of the freezer.
Assuming you have split up your coffee into batches just big enough to supply you with a week’s brewing, your first step is to take out one batch about a day before use. Taking out your coffee at least 12 hours before use ensures that you’ll have enough time for your coffee to thaw before use.
After your coffee has thawed and you are sure no amount of it is still frozen, it is time to grind your beans. The best way to ensure your coffee stays fresh is to grind only enough coffee for single use. Ensuring the right amount means measuring the amount of coffee you need for your espresso, filter pot, or another brew method. Make sure you grind just enough for that specific use.
If you do not have a grinder that allows for grinding your beans just before use, but rather one that grinds enough beans for a couple of uses over a week, that is alright as well. Whether you grind for use or in bulk, it is imperative to make sure you use an airtight container to store your coffee in.
Even coffee you plan on using in the next week can lose flavor, aroma, and quality if you do not keep air out of the container.
Best Container And Placement For Preserving Coffee
Finding the best container to use when preserving your coffee is straightforward. Knowing what to keep away from coffee will help you pick the best container for freezing and help you decide what the best container is for the coffee you keep for use over the next week.
The first thing you want to look at is an opaque container. If you want to freeze your coffee, get an airtight or vacuum-sealable bag that will let no light reach the coffee inside. If you are looking for a container for fresh or unfrozen beans or grinds, your best bet is a steel or plastic container that does not let light or heat affect the coffee.
The second vital thing to look for is an airtight container. Making sure that your freezer bag can seal off any moisture is crucial for preserving your coffee by freezing. Getting an airtight container for fresh beans is just as important. Making sure your container is airtight will keep out unwanted odors and moisture and keep your coffee fresh for longer.
The place where you store your coffee is just as important as the container. Making sure to keep your coffee in a dark, dry, and odor-free place is the best way to go when preserving fresh coffee. In the freezer, it is also very important to make sure that your coffee is sealed and that everything else is kept sealed and airtight to avoid odor or flavor contamination.
Though it is possible to seal off your coffee and freeze it to preserve it for a month or two, longer than that is not something anyone would recommend. Coffee bought freshly roasted every week is the better way to go. But as long as you make sure to follow the rules of freezing coffee, you should be able to keep your coffee quality for a bit longer.