Re-freezing coffee?

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#1: Post by nameisjoey »

Has anyone thawed a bag of coffee, used some, and re-frozen the remainder successfully? By successfully, no damage/loss of flavor to the coffee that's frozen and thawed a second time.

I have a few bags in my freezer that I really want to cup against some other bags that I'm working through and am curious if this is do-able.


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#2: Post by RapidCoffee »

I have occasionally re-frozen coffee when circumstances offered no better alternative. The results were fine (caveat: no serious taste evaluation).

Because roast coffee has so little water content, it's not quite accurate to think of it as frozen. It's really just cooled, which slows all chemical processes, including staling. My take on this: if you "thaw" it for several days and then "re-freeze" it, you have basically aged it for those several days, then returned it to suspended animation.

But in your case, why not thaw the amount of coffee you need, and put the remainder back in the freezer immediately?

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#3: Post by yakster »

I've done it, but don't make it a habit, don't even freeze coffee anymore right now.

I agree with John, there's very little free water in coffee so your just lowering the temperature of the beans.

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#4: Post by jpender »

Like Chris I have occasionally done this (usually when traveling) and haven't noticed any degradation. Most recently I brought a sealed bag of coffee back from Australia with me. It went from the roaster to the freezer. Then after a couple of days it took a short plane ride to another freezer. Then a few days later it went on a much longer plane ride to my freezer at home. Now I'm enjoying it at home and it's *great* coffee. Would it have been better if it had stayed at freezer temperature the whole time? I have never done a blind comparison of the same coffee that did not go through one or more temperature cycles. We simply do not know well enough about what exactly is going on when we freeze coffee other than that it greatly slows down chemical processes.

There was a guy who did an A/B experiment with "re-freezing" about a decade ago. He and a friend tasted subtle differences between the coffee that stayed frozen versus the portion that went though several freezer/room temperature cycles. Just one test though so hardly definitive.

nameisjoey (original poster)

#5: Post by nameisjoey (original poster) »

Thanks for the replies.

These are vacuum sealed so I imagine if I let them thaw in the vacuum seal and then re-vacuum seal before re-freezing it may not make any different at all. As mentioned, very little moisture remains so I gotta believe that would be a benefit for this situation.

Also worth mentioning, this is Tim Wendelboe coffee, so a lighter roast.


#6: Post by jpender »

nameisjoey wrote:These are vacuum sealed so I imagine if I let them thaw in the vacuum seal and then re-vacuum seal before re-freezing it may not make any different at all.
Probably it won't matter but you'll never really know for sure.

Another approach is to simply open the bag straight out of the freezer, take out the coffee you want, and then return the bag to the freezer immediately, sealed in some fashion.

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#7: Post by dparrish replying to jpender »

That's what I do, and using this method my coffee (Saka) tastes the same, with little difference in grinder adjustment needed, for many weeks to several months. In experimenting on various coffees, I have found that the only coffees that don't do well (freezing in general) are naturally processed ones.


#8: Post by F1 replying to dparrish »

Most of the coffees I drink are both Natural and washed. Counter Culture Hologram, Black & White The Natural, Corvus Dead Reckoning are all washed and Naturally process. Does that mean they won't be able to survive freezing? :(

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#9: Post by Jeff »

I regularly freeze whatever I get from my light-roast subscriptions and orders once they are sufficiently rested, washed, natural, or highly processed. I just opened a bag of highly processed Letty Bermudez that had been in the freezer for several months and found it very enjoyable.


#10: Post by Milligan »

A possible issue is making sure it is thawed and returned properly. Vacuum sealing is ideal so you do not have any moisture in the air in a bag/jar. Opening a frozen bag of beans at room temp can lead to warm/moist air rushing into contact with cold beans causing water to condense on the bean. Then if it is sealed and returned several times you could get ice crystals forming. In theory anyway and depending on the region (AZ no problem with humidity!)

When I used bags in a freezer I would remove the bag, take a dose of coffee out, stick a straw in the bag, and suck the air out as I zippered it closed. Very little air remains. Poor man's vacuum sealer.