How do I keep my coffee fresh for months at a time, even years?
Today we’re going to attack this topic because Freshly roasted coffee can have a short window for PEAK flavour. And you want to enjoy your coffee. So it’s important to know how to extend the life of coffee while being stored.
Let’s dive into it.
FREEZE YOUR COFFEE?
SO.. what’s the best way to extend the life of your coffee and make it last longer?
I’ll get right to the point. Despite rumours you may have heard, Freezing Coffee has been proven to slow it’s aging and preserve peak flavour and improve grind consistency. I know I know I know, probably not what you’ve been told.
BUT WAIT… don’t go throw all your coffee in the freezer just yet.
There’s a reason why many have believed that freezers will hurt your coffee. Stick around, we’re going to talk about that.
WHO SHOULD FREEZE?
So should you freeze your coffee? Well maybe, and maybe not. Let me explain.
You should freeze coffee if you find yourself in one of these situations:
- Wasting coffee because it’s gone stale and havent finished a bag quick enough.
- Constantly running out of coffee because you don’t want to buy too much and it go stale.
- Want to have a variety of coffees to drink from without worrying about drinking muliple bags at a time.
- Reduce FOMO - No more wishing you could purchase multiple limited run coffees at the same time
- And (surprisingly) Improve Grind consistency and distribution
So WHY Freeze?
To keep your coffee from going stale you’re going to need to lower its temperature and reduce its exposure to oxygen.
Once a coffee is roasted, it is immediately under attack by its environment. Heat, moisture, and other realities can change the flavour of the coffee, but one of the greatest factors in coffee staling is oxygen. This is called Oxidation, and it’s the process of oxygen interacting with your coffee. You can begin to notice a change in taste of your coffee just minutes after grinding. That’s why grinding coffee on demand, FRESH, is so important. It’s why I have made so many video’s on coffee grinders, as they truly are one of the most important tools to make great coffee.
So this is where Freezing comes to play. It allows you to reduce the rate at which coffee oxidizes and stales AND allows you to preserve the flavour over a very long time period. How much longer you ask?
WELL GET THIS
Tom Fitch of Manchester Coffee Archive says that everyday a coffee spends in a domestic freezer at about -18c is equal to 90 days of coffee aging at room temp.
That means a Coffee frozen on Day 7 past roast will take 2070 days (5 years 8 months approx) to reach the same point in the aging process as the same coffee left at an ambient temperature of 25ºc for 30 days.
Still don’t think Freezing makes a difference?
Now before you just throw the bag of coffee in the freezer, there are some realities we need to talk about.
For example this math doesn’t take into effect the negative variables of the freezer: Things like freezer burn and moisture. So While freezing can prolong the life of the coffee, if not stored properly it can also damage the coffee.
Which is probably why you’ve heard, “DON’T FREEZE YOUR COFFEE.”
There are so many ways to store coffee, both in or out of the freezer. Let’s be honest… It can be difficult to know which method is best at times! This can also vary depending on how long the coffee is being stored.
But I’ve found that even with the one way valves on most coffee bags, they dont prevent the negative elements of the freezer. Often leaving my coffee with that classic “freezer taste” that no one wants.
So Vacuum sealing with plastic bags currently seems to be the best available option for long term freezer storage. THIS is what I do to store coffee.
And it works.
How to freeze your coffee
There are two options here. The first, you’ll need is a vacuum sealer. Don’t worry, these really aren’t an expensive tool. In fact the one i’ve been using is about $50 on amazon. I’ll link some options below in the description, check them out.
If you’re using a vacuum sealer like I do, there are two options to store your coffee. You can freeze the entire bag after vacuum sealing it, or you can empty the bag and vacuum seal the bare beans.
Regardless of which option you choose, I’d advice one thing to avoid waste. Leave your bags with some extra space so that you can reuse them after unsealing them. More on this later.
But maybe you don’t want to purchase a vacuum sealer? Another option to seal your coffee is to take a large freezer ziplok, get a straw and… use your lungs. Close the bag all the way tight to the straw and suck as much air out of the bag as possible. This is much more hassle then the convenience of the vacuum sealer, but it costs nothing but your breath.
In my experience with this, it doesn’t seal quite as great as a vacuum sealer, but it’s a great option for those not wanting to invest.
Both of these options drastically reduce moisture or any oxygen during freezing which removes any possibility of freezer burn and that terrible freezer taste, while leaving all the benefits of freezing.
When should you freeze?
As I mentioned earlier coffee can peak it’s most desirable flavour anywhere from 7-30 days off of roast. Depending on the roast level and the desired brew method (espresso or filter) this number can vary.
So I would advice always freezing about 7-14 days off of roast. I find this helps with consistency and should stop the clock on when the coffee is at it’s optimal age. Especially coffee that will be brewed for espresso.
If you find yourself brewing light roasts for filter coffee exclusively, waiting slightly longer can help as lighter roasted coffee ages slower than darker roasted coffees. I’d advice anywhere from 14-28 days.
On this note while coffee can be ground frozen, and has proven to improve grind consistency I would caution against opening a full bag while still frozen. This will expose the cold beans to moisture and risking the coffee to experience oxidation and sweating your beans, the things you’ve worked hard against in this process.
Rather, I’d pull your coffee from the freezer the night before and leave it sealed until it reaches room temperature. The next morning your coffee will be ready to grind. If possible, storing the coffee in a air tight container once opened will help prolong the coffee even more.
The idea to let your coffee arrive at room temperature is a debated subject and Tom Fitch at Manchester coffee archive has mentioned that this isn’t completely necessary. I’d still advice it as a good practise if possible, but if you’re in a pinch, don’t stress about it
Portion out your coffee
One of the greatest advantages about freezing coffee with the method that I’m going to show you is that you can portion out your coffee bags so that you can enjoy a single coffee at multiple times.
This can be as simple as portioning a bag into one half or thirds and pull that portion from the freezer weeks, months or even years after you initialy froze it. Have a favourite coffee that is seasonal? Well with this method you can enjoy that juicy kenyan that only come around a few times a year, all year long.
another option is to portion coffee into single doses and freeze them in individual pouches. And this enables you to pull coffee from the freezer at will.
Like mentioned earlier, when using a vacuum sealer I’d advice always leaving extra room in the sealed bags. This enables you to cut the bag close to the seal, and reseal them for future coffees. Thus vastly reducing any waste.
Manchester Coffee Archive: https://instagram.com/manchestercoffeearchive?igshid=1abgi721npyid
Shop MY BREW BAR (USA): https://www.amazon.com/shop/brewathomeblog Shop MY BREW BAR (CANADA): https://www.amazon.ca/shop/brewathomeblog Shop MY BREW BAR (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk/shop/brewathomeblog
Eight Ounce Coffee Equipment: https://bit.ly/2GAuS9v
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