Coffee Bean Freezing & Degradation

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
dsc106

#1: Post by dsc106 »

I know there are large threads on this, I've read them. And also read Jonathan Gagne, James Hoffman, Decent Espresso input on freezing beans, and I have frozen beans myself in a vacuum sealed bag (via foodsaver) in 120g-200g portions and for months. I have frozen on Day 4 and had great results.

I am wondering, for those who DID experience degradation - either the flavors not being as good, and/or the beans aging faster once thawed - can you tell me about your process? Were beans frozen vacuum sealed with zero air in a bag, or put into a mason jar/bean vial tube? What day were the beans frozen on?

I am interested because I have always had good success, but I recently froze some beans in my usual method on Day 6/7. This particular bag wasn't in freezer too long, only a couple weeks. After thawing, I had a great shot as expected, and then the next day another. But now, a few days in, my last three shots have tasted over extracted or just off/flat.

*THIS COULD ENTIRELY BE DUE TO ME*. I am pulling these as espresso on flow control. But my experience with the non frozen portion even a couple weeks in was pretty easy, using FCD with a long pre-infusion, I'd get red currant and brandy with a sort of mild bakers chocolate finish/undertone. Now, I get very strong bakers chocolate and all of the brightness is gone. Now, my first thought here is I am just pulling the shots too long and need to restore some brightness. But my second thought is, the non frozen beans seemed pretty forgiving using flow control and I never had the issue. Got me wondering if for some reason these beans didn't freeze well and I lost the acidic notes, or if I am froze them too late (ie when all the CO2 already off gassed) and if that is causing them to lose their interesting flavors quicker.

Any insights? Again, I really might have just had 3 incorrect pulls in a row. Or, I might need to adjust my recipe for faster aging.

cmin

#2: Post by cmin »

I think the beans do degrade bit quicker after thawing. That's why I only vac seal and freeze in pint sized bags good for about 3 days worth of shots. Just pulling out as needed to defrost and use. Been doing that for years and years. Whether medium or light roast etc, I pretty much never wait, I seal and freeze usually that day or next after delivery.

K7

#3: Post by K7 »

I'm having exactly the same issue currently! Frozen and then thawed beans in 16 oz glass jar smell heavenly and taste great when first opened. But flavors degrade very fast after a day or two. Washed Ethiopian here. It worked okay in the past but not now. I don't know why. I might have to freeze them in smaller jars.

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yakster
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#4: Post by yakster »

I haven't been freezing coffee much lately, but my process was to just put a mason jar of roasted coffee in the freezer after roasting without any real rest. I started a similar thread to discuss if certain coffees or coffee processing methods affected the results when freezing, but it didn't get a whole lot of traction.

Coffees that don't freeze well
-Chris

LMWDP # 272

dsc106 (original poster)

#5: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

K7 wrote:It worked okay in the past but not now. I don't know why.
Interesting!!

dsc106 (original poster)

#6: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

cmin wrote:I think the beans do degrade bit quicker after thawing. That's why I only vac seal and freeze in pint sized bags good for about 3 days worth of shots.
Shoot, I had good luck in the past. I am hoping I am just screwing up the pulls. Otherwise, I have probably 2kg of frozen coffee in 120g-200g portions that I am going to be disappointed in :(

BruceWayne

#7: Post by BruceWayne »

Is there any reason you need to thaw the beans? Grinding frozen beans seems perfectly fine for me.
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mkane
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#8: Post by mkane »

I haven't noticed flavors going downhill. We roast, rest the beans for at least 5 days then vac seal in 1qt Mason jars and freeze. I may slim this down and start using smaller jars, enough for 170g of roasted beans. That should last 3-4 days.

rbrave

#9: Post by rbrave »

I have recently started to freeze beans in 50mL Falcon tubes. One tube totally full is 21g / a single pourover on my weekdays - whereas when I'm making espresso on weekends I'm generally making a few shots at a time for the house. It takes a little longer to weigh everything out, but you replace a step in your routine with the upfront work. You can spend a ton of cash on bean cellars with fancy one-way valves, but I haven't seen any issues with excessive CO2 outgassing jeopardizing the screw tops. There are a bunch of different brands of these (they are used in labs), and they are widely available on Amazon.

Also - I use my wife's sodastream as a CO2 source. Fill the bottle, then pour the CO2 into whatever vessel you are using to displace O2. You look like a lunatic doing this, but it works. Try it with a candle first if you need the elementary school science experiment to prove it works :)

dsc106 (original poster)

#10: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

BruceWayne wrote:Is there any reason you need to thaw the beans? Grinding frozen beans seems perfectly fine for me.
Just because they aren't frozen in individual tubes/portions. I do one dose at a time, and freeze a vac sealed bag of 120g-200g. I need to wait for them to thaw to prevent condensation/moisture on the beans. Wouldn't hurt the first 20g dose, but storing the rest after condensation for a week would.
rbrave wrote:I have recently started to freeze beans in 50mL Falcon tubes.
I've been looking into getting some 50ml or 60ml tubes as well, though I am not sure if I would freeze in them yet due to space/the amount of coffee I store & freeze/the amount of tubes I'd need. That's a cool idea though about displacing the gas with CO2, I trust the process. I use a Coravin wine opener and have been happy with that.