Frozen Coffee Storage Calculator - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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cafeIKE (original poster)
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#11: Post by cafeIKE (original poster) »

The 'calculator' is not meant to be gospel by any means, just a guide. Part of the impetus behind it was to have some idea of the relative age. I got tired of the mental gymnastics cyphering how much in advance I needed to defrost to allow adequate rest, when no rest at all is necessary and when I better use this real soon :shock: .

The underlying calculation has been 'tested' in a -20°C frost free over the past year over a multitude of coffees roasted to varying degrees and frozen on days 0 through 3. It's generally reliable enough for government work, at least up to the ¾ life. As a general rule, I only purchase / roast enough so it will be gone by the mid point. If something special pops up, there's a safety cushion.

I've settled on 1 to 2 day put-ups. The coffee is always at it's peak, the packets are small enough that they defrost quickly and if I under-consume, little is wasted, particularly when past the half way point.

Any suggestions to improve the calculator's utility are greatly appreciated.

Thanks to all for the "Welcome Back"

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Peppersass
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#12: Post by Peppersass »

As usual, I'm a little confused.

Several posts in this thread, and the last four posts in Origin and Purpose of Doser indicate that the experts are freezing coffee as soon after roast as possible (whether home roasted or received from a roaster), then doing some complicated planning to make sure the coffee is defrosted and rested for an appropriate length of time in order to be ready when the current batch of coffee runs out.

I don't home roast (yet.) I usually receive coffee from specialty roasters 1-3 days after roast. I let it continue to rest in the original bags for whatever period I've found appropriate for that coffee (either through personal experience or that of others), then freeze it in 16oz or 12oz Mason jars, which typically hold about 5-7 days worth of coffee. That way, when I run out of coffee and pull a container from the freezer it's ready to be used as soon as it's defrosted. The coffee should be right at the start of the peak window, no?

Why make it more complicated? What am I missing here?

Ken Fox

#13: Post by Ken Fox replying to Peppersass »

It's sort of like putting your dog down, something I contemplated doing not long ago with my elderly terrier (but thought better of it and didn't do). As the vet said, once you do it, there's no reversing the decision. Similarly with coffee, once it has staled to the point where it no longer pleases, there's no going back; the horse is already out of the barn.

For me, I'd rather drink coffee that is "too fresh," than coffee that is "stale." So I personally err on the side of drinking the coffee "before its time" (to quote Orson Welles) rather than after.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

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cafeIKE (original poster)
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#14: Post by cafeIKE (original poster) »

Peppersass wrote:The coffee should be right at the start of the peak window, no?

Why make it more complicated? What am I missing here?
Ken Fox wrote:I find that most coffees have a fairly brief period*after roasting where they show the best, for espresso.
*fairly brief period : 40 years ago, about 30 days. 10 years ago, about 7 days. Today, about 2 days.

While the espresso is still acceptable on the slopes, at the summit, its preparation is less challenging. Out here on the coast, we're in the silly June glooms where the humidity can vary from 35% to 95% over the course of a day. Adjusting the grinder for one variable is one fourth the effort of adjusting for two.

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Peppersass
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#15: Post by Peppersass »

cafeIKE wrote:*fairly brief period : 40 years ago, about 30 days. 10 years ago, about 7 days. Today, about 2 days.
Ken Fox wrote:From a practical standpoint, I would encourage people to freeze as quickly after roasting as possible, to use the coldest freezer they have available, and to freeze in portions that can easily be consumed within a 3 or 4 day window.
All well and good, and this may be applicable to some of the coffees I drink (like Terroir SOs), but there are some blends that are reputed to peak quite a while after roast, like 7-10 days. If I get them a couple of days after roast, and freeze them in 3-4 day portions, then it would seem I'll miss the best the coffee has to offer, no? So, should I rest them before or after freezing? If it doesn't matter which, then it's less complicated to do it before.

Ken Fox

#16: Post by Ken Fox replying to Peppersass »

In all honesty, "heavy-handed-ponderous blends," which require major league updosing, don't appeal to me at all, at any stage of their evolution post-roast. To me, drinking them is like getting hit over the head with a sledgehammer. When stale, they become outright objectionable to me, but without ever having passed through an enjoyable period (except maybe in milk, but I'd still rather drink subtle SOs, even in milk). That is just my own taste, of course.

I'm very sensitive to the effects of staling, because the subtle and complex SOs I enjoy, generally lightly roasted to a level before the onset of 2nd crack, evolve in rather obvious fashions and demonstrate their staleness in ways that are hard to miss (they go from subtle and delicious to simply flat and boring). The wine analogy would be the wine in your cellar that has already peaked and started downhill, but which has not become offensively oxidized, at least not yet. The more you collect wine the more sensitive you become to this phenomenon, and I think it is quite similar with coffee, except that if you keep the coffee even longer than this point it generally does not become outright offensive, unless if it was darkly roasted.

So maybe I'm just so sensitive to this because what I drink 95% of the time shows its impending staling rather obviously.

Still, no matter what kind of coffee I was drinking, if I intended to use freezing as a mode of preservation, then I would freeze at the first possible instant, in portions that once defrosted would be usable within a several day period. I can see no downsides to this approach, but quite a bit of upside, including those times when the coffee might be left in the freezer for a longer period than was originally intended when it was frozen. The only "semi-downside" I can see to this would be those rare occasions where you had to consume the coffee immediately after defrosting, because you had no other coffee available. This happens to me on occasion and I don't generally find it all that big of a problem to have to deal with. I simply pick the jar of frozen coffee that has sat in the freezer the longest, and take it from there.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

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cafeIKE (original poster)
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#17: Post by cafeIKE (original poster) »

By freezing as fresh as possible, coffee in the freezer is approaching its peak for a very long time.
Roast Apr 1, Freeze Apr 3
	     Effective Age Dates       Total Used
	     3 : Mon Apr 19 2010 || 2.11lb / 0.96kg
	     4 : Wed May 05 2010 || 4.23lb / 1.92kg
	     5 : Fri May 21 2010 || 6.34lb / 2.88kg
	     6 : Sun Jun 06 2010 || 8.46lb / 3.84kg
	     7 : Tue Jun 22 2010 || 10.57lb / 4.79kg
	     8 : Thu Jul 08 2010 || 12.69lb / 5.75kg
	     9 : Sat Jul 24 2010 || 14.8lb / 6.71kg
	    10 : Mon Aug 09 2010 || 16.92lb / 7.67kg

Coffee that is pre-aged may have a more limited life in the freezer.
Roast Apr 1, Freeze Apr 8
	     Effective Age Dates       Total Used
	     8 : Sat Apr 24 2010 || 2.11lb / 0.96kg
	     9 : Mon May 10 2010 || 4.23lb / 1.92kg
	    10 : Wed May 26 2010 || 6.34lb / 2.88kg
It's only an impression [no double blind A-B test], but I lean toward frozen as fresh as possible. Coffees frozen a week or more post roast tend toward flat. I only did one 'test' with a drip coffee. Froze part A at roast and aged part B for 1 week, then froze. Removed part A a week before brew and part B a day before brew. Again, not double blind A-B, but the missus said the A roast was better. Who am I to argue?

The method I use, and I'm pleased with the results, prompted me to code the calculator.
If another method works, no one is suggesting use of the calculator.

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Peppersass
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#18: Post by Peppersass »

cafeIKE wrote:The method I use, and I'm pleased with the results, prompted me to code the calculator.
If another method works, no one is suggesting use of the calculator.
FWIW, you've convinced me to try it your way for a while! That seems the best way for me to settle this in my mind.

I'm generally not a fan of the big blends, either, though I usually have one or two in the freezer for a change of pace or to make milk drinks for a crowd. I've also been drinking them lately to follow along with the Espresso Blends 2010 review. But SOs are my go-to drink, for similar reasons to yours.

da gino

#19: Post by da gino »

I think there may even be a further reason to freeze as soon as possible. Coffees that I don't like early on seem pretty good to me if I freeze them on day 2 and pull them out 2 weeks later without having to rest any more than it takes for them to thaw. I think the freezer slows down staling quite a lot, but does not slow down off-gassing nearly as much. In other words some of the things that aren't ideal about "too fresh" coffee get better even in the freezer, but some of the things that are bad about old coffee aren't getting worse (very rapidly) in the freezer.

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JohnB.
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#20: Post by JohnB. »

I see very little if any change in my frozen coffee over a 4-8 week period which is about as long as I keep any roasted coffee in the freezer these days. Since I vac bag the roasted coffee I freeze it's pretty easy to tell if the off gassing has been halted.

I prefer to age the coffee to within a day of what I consider the ideal drinking period & then v/b & freeze. For my home roasted vac pot S/Os (City-FC) I let them rest 2 days in a valve bag before freezing as I find them best on days 3-5 with a few exceptions. The commercially roasted espresso blends & S/Os I've been buying typically hit their peak anywhere from 6-7 days post roast. If I was freezing upon receipt I'd end up having to pull something out of the freezer 3 to 4 days ahead of time as opposed to the night before I want to use it.
LMWDP 267