Jori Korhonen //
// 8.4.2021

Freezing Coffee Beans - Why and How You Should Do It?

Freezing coffee beans for storage has been a controversial topic in the coffee industry in the past but lately freezing beans have been seen as a good idea. Why is freezing coffee beans good idea and how should you do the freezing? Does freezing the coffee beans really make your coffee taste even better? 

Why you should freeze your coffee beans?

"Can you freeze coffee?" has been a question that I have been asked a number of times. There are two main reason why you might want to freeze your coffee beans after they have been roasted;

Freezing keeps the flavour better

Freezing food is a great way to preserve its flavours and keeping it from going bad. Everyone know that if you freeze some bolognese sauce today, it will taste the same (or even better!) next week.

So why would it work with coffee also?

The problem with coffee is that once it has been roasted it will start to age (= lose its good flavours) and day after day it will start to taste more and more dull and boring. After a few more days or weeks you will start tasting staled flavours (=kind of bitter and dirty) as the oils in the coffee will start to stale. So in optimal circumstances you would brew the coffee in 3-14 days after roasting but we all know that isn't realistically happening. So you will need a way to store coffee for longer periods.

The best way to store coffee for longer periods is freezing it. Freezing locks the flavours to the coffee beans and it will keep the coffee in same status as it would be a few days after roasting. Will it taste as good as freshly roasted? Probably not but it will be close. 

Freezing increases grinding quality

Now we get a bit nerdy for a second but bare with me, I try to keep it simple. So when you grind coffee you will basically get three different sized grounds; fines (=really small particles), boulders (=really big particles) and optimal sized particles. Basically the better grinder you have, the less fines and boulders you will get and those two are almost always bad in terms of brewing coffee. Fines will over-extract really easily and on the other hand boulders will under-extract.

Freezing the beans and grinding them "frozen" will result in more uniform grind size particle distributions (= you will get less fines and boulders) and it will also grind the beans finer. Both of those factors will increase extraction and you will be able to extract more flavour from your coffee and more evenly also. That will make your coffee taste much sweeter and less bitter or acidic.

Simply put; grinding coffee frozen will make your coffee taste better!

If you want to know more about why you should freeze coffee, check it video out from Maxwell Colonna-Daswood;


How you should freeze your coffee beans?

There are basically only two requirements for successfully freezing coffee beans; you should get the beans to an airtight container and there should be no air and as little as possible. So you have two options; vacuum sealing or some sort of tube or container. Vacuum sealing requires some plastic "bags" and of course a vacuum sealer which makes that option a little bit more expensive. 

I have used these tubes to freeze my coffee. They are pretty handy as you can fit about 20 grams of coffee in them (depending what type of coffee 18-22 grams).

tubes to freeze coffee
These tubes fit about 20 grams of coffee beans.

The trick is to fill the tube as full as possible. First I fill the tube and seal it but it's not yet completely full as there is some air between the beans and they could fit even tighter. So I give the tube a good shake to get the beans even tighter and add the few missing beans.

tubes to freeze coffee
These beans are ready to be freezed!

 Of course you want to know what coffee have you frozen - write on a masking tape / painter's tape the details from the coffee. If you want to be even more detailed, you could write the perfect recipe that you have used so you have it ready in two years when you take the coffee from the freezer.

freezing coffee tubes

Yes, you read correctly - two (2) years.

How long does it stay good in the freezer?

Really long. So long that you don't have to even care about it as probably you won't store it so long that something would happen. Some studies have shown that a day in room temperature is the same thing as over 200 days in freezer. 

It would say at least two years and actually I have began to collect my own coffee collection in my freezer. I want to come back to my competition coffee from 2020 in three years and see if it tastes as good as today.