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Ken Fox (original poster)

#11: Post by Ken Fox (original poster) »

jrtatl wrote:Thanks for the great article Ken.

As a side note to anyone interested in anecdotal evidence, I almost always freeze my coffee -- with great results.

I buy in bulk to save $$. As soon as the beans arrive in the mail, I use a Foodsaver to vacuum seal 8 - 10 oz of beans in several bags. I then put the vacuum bags in my freezer. I typically use the coffee within 2 months, and it works pretty much as good as the fresh stuff.
The one thing I'd reconsider about your method is the vacuum freezing. I doubt it hurts anything but unless there were some obvious benefit it may be a waste of time and money to do so. We did not do any vacuum sealing with our frozen coffee and it obviously did not matter in this study.

Thanks for your comments.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

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jesawdy

#12: Post by jesawdy »

jrtatl wrote:As a side note to anyone interested in anecdotal evidence, I almost always freeze my coffee -- with great results.
In the more anecdotal evidence column, I too regularly freeze fresh roasted coffee, but have never held anything longer than two months yet. Seems as good as fresh to me.

I typically order 10 lbs of coffee per month (not all for my lone consumption - home, work, friends) from a local roaster. I order 5 lbs around the 1st and another 5 lbs around the 15th. I have been letting the coffee rest a few days before I freeze it, so I am typically freezing it after 3 days rest. The coffee is in individual 1lb bags with one-way valves. I simply tape over the valve, and toss it in the freezer. When I need coffee, I pull the bag out, let it come to room temp, pull the tape off the valve, and start using it right away. Obviously, as often as I am ordering, most coffees are only frozen for 2-3 weeks at most. (I should add that my freezing procedure was inspired by Ken's comments on freezing here some time ago.)

I did stock up on some other roaster's coffees during the HB Holiday promotions. I kept a few pounds of that around as long as two months, and they seemed fine to me. I did make a conscious effort to NOT discuss my experience with these "older" coffees, as I didn't want to consider it exactly identical to fresh, giving the benefit of the doubt to fresh and never frozen coffees.
Jeff Sawdy

Ken Fox (original poster)

#13: Post by Ken Fox (original poster) replying to jesawdy »

Just to add that the part about taping over the valve is something that was suggested to me by Barry Jarrett a few years ago in an alt.coffee thread.

I have quite a few valve bags in inventory, but when I run out of them I'll seek out coffee bags with no valve. The valves add considerable cost to the bag cost and I think they are unnecessary the way I use them. It would be easier to just freeze a non-valve bag, then put a pinprick into the valve when the coffee defrosts. Since I roast for some friends as well as myself, I do go through coffee bags. For my own consumption I use glass jars, but they are not very convenient if you are going to give the coffee to friends and then have to harrang them about getting the glass jars back.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

User avatar
luca
Team HB

#14: Post by luca »

So how are people doing this ...

Ken, it looks to me like you freeze immediately after roasting, defrost, then allow a few days to degas. Others seem to allow a few days to degas, freeze, then defrost and use. Is that right?

Cheers,

Luca
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes

Rainman

#15: Post by Rainman »

luca wrote:So how are people doing this ...

Ken, it looks to me like you freeze immediately after roasting, defrost, then allow a few days to degas. Others seem to allow a few days to degas, freeze, then defrost and use. Is that right?

Cheers,

Luca
I'm pretty sure he froze them w/o degassing, but I don't remember him commenting on how long they thawed the beans before grinding.. Ken?
jrtatl wrote:Thanks for the great article Ken.

As a side note to anyone interested in anecdotal evidence, I almost always freeze my coffee -- with great results.
While not exactly controlled, the more anecdote we accumulate the bigger the "n", and the better the power of this "study". Just gotta find somebody to keep track!

Ray
LMWDP #18

Dogshot

#16: Post by Dogshot »

Great stuff Ken. I can't believe the quality of the work that you and Jim, among others, are able to do on a consistent basis.
luca wrote:So how are people doing this ...

Ken, it looks to me like you freeze immediately after roasting, defrost, then allow a few days to degas. Others seem to allow a few days to degas, freeze, then defrost and use. Is that right?

Cheers,

Luca
These are my thoughts as well. It is a very interesting and enjoyable read, and the question it seems to address is "is using coffee that is frozen 1-2 hours after roasting as good as using fresh coffee that is never frozen?". My suspicion is that very, very few people are in a position to benefit from roasting their coffee (or buying 1-hour old coffee) and freezing it immediately. While this study might convince home roasters to look into 1kg+ roasting units, or at least spring for the 5lb BBQ drum, it does not seem to directly address the question "is using coffee that is frozen 4-5days after roasting as good as using fresh 4-5 day coffee that is never frozen?". My guess is that the vast majority of us are probably more in this situation. Any interest in doing the study again with 4-5 day old coffee?


Mark
LMWDP #106

Ken Fox (original poster)

#17: Post by Ken Fox (original poster) »

luca wrote:So how are people doing this ...

Ken, it looks to me like you freeze immediately after roasting, defrost, then allow a few days to degas. Others seem to allow a few days to degas, freeze, then defrost and use. Is that right?

Cheers,

Luca
For my own consumption I freeze immediately in semi-airtight jars, then when I need coffee I try to remove it maybe 3 days before I need it so it can degas a bit before I use it. Occasionally there is no possibility to wait, such as when I return home from a trip and the only coffee I have is in the freezer. In the latter case I will take the coffee out of the freezer as soon as I get back home, and it will have least overnight to degas a little before I use it. In this situation I am generally returning home from a trip during which I have had no espresso or very little of it, for example one of my trips to France for studying the language or to San Diego to visit family. Just having espresso, even if the beans are "too fresh" is novel after such a trip so I don't even notice it, especially if the espresso is used in a milk drink.

Some others are freezing after a few days' degassing, which is as quick as it is possible for them to do, or by personal choice. There are others, however, like Greg Scace and I believe Jim Schulman and maybe some of the other "larger batch" home roasters (bbq drum, maybe heat gun/dog dish) who do as I do, e.g., freeze immediately.

My guess is that the results are equivalent but this is a hypothesis that could be tested, just I'm not keen on being the person to test it :P

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

Ken Fox (original poster)

#18: Post by Ken Fox (original poster) »

Dogshot wrote:Great stuff Ken. I can't believe the quality of the work that you and Jim, among others, are able to do on a consistent basis.



These are my thoughts as well. It is a very interesting and enjoyable read, and the question it seems to address is "is using coffee that is frozen 1-2 hours after roasting as good as using fresh coffee that is never frozen?". My suspicion is that very, very few people are in a position to benefit from roasting their coffee (or buying 1-hour old coffee) and freezing it immediately. While this study might convince home roasters to look into 1kg+ roasting units, or at least spring for the 5lb BBQ drum, it does not seem to directly address the question "is using coffee that is frozen 4-5days after roasting as good as using fresh 4-5 day coffee that is never frozen?". My guess is that the vast majority of us are probably more in this situation. Any interest in doing the study again with 4-5 day old coffee?


Mark
probably not. I'm almost certain Jim Schulman, the person I usually do this sort of thing with, would have no interest. For myself, these sorts of studies are very tedious and burn you out quickly. In order to do this right, what you'd want to do would be to compare (1) fresh/never frozen/ degassed to (2) degassed/ frozen/ used immediately to (3) frozen/ degassed coffees, which would mean comparing all three to each other. In the study just published we used fresh/never frozen as a control, and compared it to both 8wk frozen and 4wk frozen; we did not compare the 8wk to the 4wk. Very likely you would need to compare even more than 64 pairs of shots in order to have any likelihood of finding a statistical difference, barring some huge difference among them, which I sincerely doubt would be present. You would need to either have 2 identical machine/grinder setups or you would need to balance that as well.

To me, this is too much of a PITA to warrant the effort for a study whose results I think I could predict in advance, e.g. no significant differences.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

Wescott

#19: Post by Wescott »

Ken, thank you very much for the exacting work on this topic.

The conclusion is cheering too. We can expect freezing to be a major help in preserving coffee flavor. In your scenario of freezing right after roasting, we can consider it proven unless someone can produce equally rigorous contrary results (not likely). And as you indicate, there is not much a priori reason to expect that freezing will not assist to some degree in many other situations.

It's a major contribution to peace of mind for those who freeze.

ronpistolero

#20: Post by ronpistolero »

Hi. Very interesting and helpful article indeed. This somehow gives me hope regarding "preserving" coffee. After having tried the Black Cat (best aroma and taste to my mind). I asked my brother to send another pound back here in the Philippines. He included a pound of Artigiano from Vancouver. I decided to "glad wrap" it, twice, in its original package without taping the valve, and keep it in the freezer. It was, I believe, 11 days old then. After having enjoyed the Artigiano, I thawed the Black Cat on the 21st day. I pulled a shot and, to my dismay, the aroma was nearly gone. It tasted like ordinary espresso (though not a "sink shot) to me. Could it be that I hadn't sealed it well enough? I haven't measured the temperature of my freezer, but could it be not cold enough? Was it too "old" prior to freezing? Having great tasting coffee is a rarity here in the Philippines so stretching the life of the ones I am able to acquire from abroad is very important to me. Help!

Ron