Coffee Freezing Best Practices

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

#1: Post by shanec »

I just received a 5 lb. bag of Redbird Espresso that was roasted two days ago (1/18 roast date). I obviously won't go through all of it before it goes stale, so I want to freeze a portion of it. I have read the article by Ken Fox and Jim Schulman about their test results ( /store-coff ... eezer.html ), but I wanted to ask a few additional questions.

1. It seems that freezing immediately, even if the coffee has not degassed, is likely the best option. Is that true?
2. Once I take the beans out of the freezer, should I give them another few days to degass or should I assume that will happen in my freezer?
3. Do people find any difference in the use of mason jars versus ziploc bags? I have some mason jars that I can use, so I figured I would start there.


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#2: Post by seakuv »

I just opened two mason jars of Redbird espresso beans from my freezer last night. They were 5 days off roast when I put them in the freezer (that's about as good as it gets with shipping to Alaska). There was a very audible release of gas when I broke the seal on the lids from both of the jars - I'm certain that they continued to offgas even while stored in a -10F freezer. I don't do anything special to the jars or beans when I freeze them - just dump from the bag into the jars, put the lids on and then screw the rings down - no vacuum packing or anything. I like using the jars better than ziplock bags just because I really don't like the rigamorole of washing and drying bags for reuse - the pint jars I use are easy.

I always freeze the beans I get immediately, but they've always had at least 4-5 days of off-gassing on the trip north, so I can't answer question #1 with any certitude.

The process works well for me and I believe does a good job of keeping my beans fresh. I usually buy 3-5 lbs at a time, and order about once a month, so I'm not storing them for a long time.

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#3: Post by Peppersass »

Freezing greatly slows outgassing (and staling), but when I've frozen vacuumed-sealed bag with the beans tightly packed together in a solid immovable mass, I've found the beans rolling around loosely in the bag after about 3-4 weeks. In other words, the beans have outgassed and there's CO2 in the bag.

Because of this, I used to freeze immediately upon receiving a shipment of beans. But after some experimentation with lighter roasts, I found that it's better to let the beans rest for about a week after the roast date before freezing. That's because lighter roasts outgas more slowly. It's not unusual for a light roast to peak 10-14 days or more after roast.

Conversely, I freeze medium and dark roasts the day I get them.

In either case, I freeze batches of about 4 days worth in vacuum-sealed mason jars. I defrost overnight with the vacuum seal intact, then pre-dose into small individual glass vials.

I should mention that I have a standard refrigerator/freezer that gets down to about -5F. I'm sure a lab-quality freezer would slow aging much more.
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#4: Post by spressomon »

Anytime I'm ordering enough beans to store in the freezer its because I'm very familiar with the post-roast peak period of the beans. Therefore I will let the beans sit until 2-3 days prior to what I taste as the peak of flavor post roast then vacuum in glass jars. Typically I size the jars & dose for about 4-days worth once thawed.

I've only, out of hundreds and hundreds of vac sealed & frozen jars, had one jar exert enough CO2 to eliminate the vacuum on the jar and release the lid.

I just pulled a jar of Vertigo Wote Konga, that is a very light roast, from the freezer that I vac'd and froze at the end of April last year and it is truly as tasty now as it was then. I've done similar with dark roasts and have had great taste results too.
No Espresso = Depresso

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#5: Post by aecletec »

Peppersass wrote:In other words, the beans have outgassed and there's CO2 in the bag.
Is it also possible that the bag itself isn't a perfect barrier to pressure and in addition it allows a slow leak?

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#6: Post by JohnB. »

I've had vacuum sealed bags of roasted coffee stay tightly sealed for 6+ months & greens for years. These days I primarily use wide mouth canning jars which I vacuum seal & store in a storage freezer at -5*. When I get a bag of roasted coffee in I'll let it rest 4-5 days before sampling. Once it starts to hit it's prime I vac seal & freeze whatever I'm not going to use up in the next 3-5 days.

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#7: Post by jwoodyu »

Vacuum seal bags on day 7-9 depending on sampling. I package about a days worth and so i thaw a bag every day pretty much. I let it come to room temp slowly then dump them in the hopper on top of the remnants from the previous day. I spend very little time tweaking my grinder this way.

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#8: Post by aecletec »

JohnB. wrote:I've had vacuum sealed bags of roasted coffee stay tightly sealed for 6+ months & greens for years.
That's impressive!


#9: Post by DavidO »

For those without a chest freezer and just one combined with a fridge, what is the optimal trade off temperature to set the freezer, with regards to energy consumption? The "safe" setting by the FDA is 0F, but it looks like people go much colder than that. I can set my freezer at -5F (another popular number I see quoted at H-B), but I also have food in this same freezer and don't want to negatively affect that portion.

But strictly in terms of trying to limit the household energy bill, what is a reasonable temperature to still get months worth from freshly roasted beans?

P.S. If it matters to answer the question, all my unused coffee would be frozen in vacuum sealed mason jars.

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#10: Post by Peppersass »

aecletec wrote:Is it also possible that the bag itself isn't a perfect barrier to pressure and in addition it allows a slow leak?
No. I use a restaurant-quality chamber sealer with bags that are much thicker than Food Saver bags. Other items vacuum sealed and placed in the freezer show no signs of leakage.