Coffee does not stay at its best for long – for fresh beans well-packaged, you’re looking to get up to two weeks. It’s not enough for some and to try to extend this people try and refrigerate or freeze beans, causing high blood pressure in some of their fellow coffee-lovers.
Among coffee drinkers the storage of coffee is almost as controversial as many political debates. Although everybody agrees on the need to keep coffee away from air, light and moisture; the temperature in which it is stored is most contentious.
The problem is not really the temperature though, it’s about the terrible dangers that are associated with storing moisture-sensitive, precious and wonderful coffee beans in a place that is just about as wet as being under water.
You’d try and avoid storing coffee as well wrapped as can be in a puddle, and this is almost what refrigerating or freezing is. People can see the danger and some balk while others risk it, after all the alternative for a lot of people is to throw a lot of good coffee in the bin.
Freezing coffee may have its flaws, but the alternative, letting good beans go stale, is to be considered only with tissues and a support line to hand.
So it is fairly accepted that the shelf life of coffee can be extended considerably by freezing it, provided it is packaged well to protect it from the perilous conditions. The issue is to do with the damage to the beans this can cause, do you lose flavor and texture from the practice or are you getting the best out of the beans for longer?
One fairly scientific experiment suggests you can preserve great coffee beans this way and many connoisseurs are happy with the results. Others insist that it ruins the quality of the beans. When faced with varied opinions on the subject and there being no science of taste that can help us, it’s got to be left to the preference of the coffee maker. Try it, if you like it, carry on.
If we are to accept that the best way to store fresh coffee is on the counter and that if coffee is to pass its best before consumption it is better to freeze it than lose it, then we are probably within the general consensus. In order to store coffee anywhere though, we need to get the packaging and/or container correct to ensure degasing can take place without oxidizing the beans. There are loads of products on the market which can do this, but one of the best examples is the valved bag which allows the gases out and prevents air from getting in.
If coffee is to be frozen, it makes sense to do this as early as possible and to take care to wrap the beans as well as you can to keep out the dreaded elements. As extra protection, you can use ziplocked freezer bags to store portions that can be removed individually, as it’s important to not defrost and refreeze the beans.
Wherever you store the coffee, with a few precautions you can keep your prized beans safe from harm until you’re ready to grind them and enjoy the fruits of your labor. It’s just a matter of finding the equipment and the method that you find works best for you.
Gathering Grounds Cafe 116 S 11th St. Klamath Falls, OR 97601 541-887-8403