There are many different suggested ways to store coffee in order to maintain freshness. One of the suggested methods is to put your ground coffee or coffee beans in the freezer. Is storing coffee in the freezer a good way to maintain freshness? Let’s look at the pros and cons.
Freezing has been used for centuries as a way to extend the life of many foods. A diverse selection of foods can be frozen. Bread, meat, fruits, vegetables and even butter can be successfully stored in your freezer. Freezing even maintains many of the vitamins and nutritional value of a wide variety of foods. Coffee, however, isn’t as likely a candidate for storage in the freezer.
Coffee has four main enemies against freshness: air, heat, light and moisture. At first, freezing doesn’t seem to contain many of the offending enemies. However, appearances can be deceiving.
Coffee beans have been roasted in order to enhance flavour. The beans are also porous. Unfortunately a freezer can contain many other foods which have odours. The porous beans can absorb the flavours of many other frozen foods. Flavoured coffees can be pleasant, but no one wants to drink seafood or garlic flavoured coffee.
Moisture can also be absorbed by the coffee beans. Moisture can cause deterioration and loss of flavour. The more often you take coffee out of the freezer and put it back in, the more moisture absorption takes place into the bean. If you absolutely need to freeze some coffee because you have a large excess you’d like to keep, only freeze it once. The more you take it in and out of the freezer, the more damage you do.
Freezing also breaks down the oils in the beans. The oils contribute to the flavour of the coffee. Breaking down the oils means taking away flavour, and let’s face it, a large part of a good cup of coffee is the flavour.
When it comes down to it, freezing is not the best way to store your coffee. Keep coffee stored in a cool, dry, airtight container away from light. Freezing coffee is possible, and is best if you only freeze it once. The resulting loss of flavour and quality from repetitive freezing makes it a method of storage to stay away from. Your best bet is to purchase only enough beans or ground coffee to supply you for 1-2 weeks. Enjoy the coffee at its freshest!