Does Freezing Coffee Beans Keep Them Fresh?

With over 150 million daily coffee drinkers in America alone and the hype of the recent Dalgona coffee trend, more and more newbie coffee drinkers are brewing their drinks. However, beginner coffee lovers and cafe owners may be misinformed when it comes to the proper storage of their coffee beans. Should you keep them on the shelf or freeze them? Once frozen, will coffee beans stay fresh and taste the same?

The answer is that you can either put coffee in a freezer or on a shelf. Yes, the act of freezing coffee beans does help keep them fresh and does increase their shelf-life; however, there are considerations to be made. If you are to freeze coffee beans, it is best to separate them into smaller portions and store them in opaque, fully airtight containers. Make sure to take out only what you need as quickly as possible, and thaw the beans to room temperature before grinding and brewing.

Experts are still debating on the actual shelf life of coffee beans in the freezer, but they have reached an agreement on how to store coffee properly. Continue reading to find out more about how the pros keep their coffee fresh!

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Freshly roasted coffee beans, Does Freezing Coffee Beans Keep Them Fresh?

The Best Way To Freeze Coffee Beans To Keep Them Fresh

Freshly harvested coffee beans

Professionals say that the best way of storing coffee is by putting them on a shelf rather than a freezer. Nevertheless, a time arises where freezing coffee becomes necessary, such as when cafes make bulk purchases. 

In this case, professionals recommend separating them into smaller batches and keeping them in tightly sealed containers. This way, you could take only what you need without exposing all the beans to fluctuating temperatures. 

The Shelf Life Of Frozen Coffee

As a general rule, coffee beans stored in a freezer are best used within a month of opening the original packaging. However, this is widely debated. Nevertheless, the consensus is that under the right conditions and with proper storage procedures, frozen coffee could last anywhere from three months to two years!

Thawing The Coffee Beans

Thawing frozen coffee beans is relatively simple. Once you pull the coffee beans out of the freezer, place them somewhere away from heat and light until they thaw to room temperature. Once thawed, you can keep them on the shelf for later use or grind and brew them immediately. Thawed coffee beans are best used within two weeks.

It is essential to let the coffee beans thaw by themselves. Microwaving or putting the containers in hot water may expose the coffee beans to unnecessary heat and moisture, which would cause your brew to taste noticeably off.

When taking out frozen coffee beans, make sure to get what you need as quickly as possible and immediately return the container to the freezer. Leaving the container exposed at room temperature would cause moisture to form around and inside the canister, which will cause the coffee to go stale and taste like cardboard.

Does Freezing Coffee Beans Change The Flavor?

Freshly roasted coffee beans placed on a wooden separator

The act of freezing coffee in itself does not change the flavor of the coffee. The most common cause of a shift in the coffee’s flavor is exposure to the elements. A tightly sealed container inside the freezer ensures that the coffee stays fresh and that the beans keep their signature aroma and taste.

What Is The Best Kind Of Container To Store Coffee?

An up close photo of roasted coffee beans

The best kind of containers for coffee is either the packaging they came in when purchased (if it is fully sealed) or a completely airtight canister. 

Coffee beans are hygroscopic, which means they absorb a lot of moisture like a sponge. Leaving them exposed to nature changes their composition and quickly makes them go stale. The experts agree that the best way to store coffee beans (both ground and whole) is to keep them in an airtight, opaque container and leave it on a shelf at room temperature. 

This way of shelving coffee beans helps the beans avoid their four main enemies: heat, light, air, and moisture - all of which degrade the beans and make them lose their iconic aroma and taste.

While keeping them in glass jars may seem convenient and adds a little decor to the room, it is highly inadvisable to do so. Professional roasters recommend keeping the coffee in their packaging or transferring the beans immediately to another container if you purchased them in a plastic or paper bag. Afterward, place the container on the shelf or somewhere without direct heat and sunlight.

Putting the coffee’s airtight, opaque container in the freezer is fine, too, as long as you make sure that the lid is tightly shut. The slightest amount of air entering the container would significantly impact the taste of coffee. The impact is worsened if the beans are stored with garlic or onions. The beans would absorb some of the aroma and flavor of the spices, which would lead to a disgusting, disappointing morning cup of joe.

How Long Will Ground Coffee Beans Stay Fresh?

Freshly opened coffee beans inside a sack

Ground coffee beans’ freshness depends on the kind of container they’re in. If you bought them from the store and kept them in their original packaging, they could stay fresh up to three to five months after the printed expiration date. If you keep them unopened and store them in the freezer, they would be kept fresh for up to one to two years.

Once you open the bag, however, the clock starts ticking fast. Generally, it is best to start using coffee beans as soon as the bag is opened. If that is not possible, you can keep them in an airtight container, but it is still best to use them within two weeks.

In Closing

Freezing coffee beans is a great way to store your reserves to preserve their freshness for months. Nevertheless, remember to consider the container and to follow proper storage procedures. In doing so, you can rest assured that the coffee you serve (either to customers, family, or yourself) remains as aromatic and delicious as it is energizing!

One comment

  1. I have stored coffee in the freezer for over six years and then ground the coffee. I did not notice any change in flavor from drinking fresh ground coffee.

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