Should/can I freeze ground coffee?

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krby
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#1: Post by krby »

I'm new to home espresso, machine shows up in the next day or two. Grinder shows up Mon or Tues. I'm impatient, so I went down to a Voyager Coffee nearby and got an espresso grind of about a 1/2lb of their Cascade blend to get me started.

When I have a grinder, I plan to store beans in Airscape canisters and single dose. I was planning on freezing beans if it turns out we don't go thru them fast enough.

For now, ground coffee is an Airscape, away from light and air (well, not a vacuum bag, but...something) I know it's not going to last nearly as long as beans, but I thought I would ask here if I should freeze it?

bznelson91
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#2: Post by bznelson91 »

I think there's a lot of religion behind it :) My answer will cover only filter coffee, my espresso home journey hasn't started just yet (but soon).

Personally, I do so, mostly because there are only two drinkers in the house (maybe 4 or 5 cups per day between the two of us), yet we like to have numerous coffees on hand, we don't like to drink the same thing every day, or even every cup during one day. I keep the coffees in the bags they came in for the most part, using a wire tie "clamp" if needed to ensure good closure. I then keep the bags in a fully enclosed (but not sealed) Hefty plastic container in the freezer.

I ensure that each bag has rested at room temp for at least a week post-roast, usually a little more, or as recommended by the roaster (e.g. Prodigal suggests 3 - 4 weeks). After that, I put it in the box, and just take out a few doses worth at a time for room temp storage. Those doses I keep in individual Ziploc bags in a dark, cool place until use.

This has worked well for me for a couple of months. I'll be interested to hear what others do. I know there are some other threads that have discussed it here, but I don't recall dedicated ones (and I've only been here for a few months, so I don't know the whole history).

Brad

krby (original poster)
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#3: Post by krby (original poster) »

Thanks for the reply, did you mean you do that with whole beans or ground coffee?

I searched before I posted and found a lot of info about freezing/not freezing beans. I'm asking specifically about ground coffee.
My instinct says the freezer will keep the grounds fresher a little longer, but I risk condensation from moisture every time I put "new air" in the container by opening it. I'm wondering how much this applies to the Airscape container that I put the grounds in this morning.

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Jeff
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#4: Post by Jeff »

Ground? No. It should be used within minutes of grinding, certainly under an hour, if you want "fresh".

Pre-ground coffee for espresso in a conventional basket is pretty much a futile pursuit. Ignoring freshness issues, you need to make small adjustments in grind to suit your specific gear.

krby (original poster)
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#5: Post by krby (original poster) replying to Jeff »

Totally agree and that is the not-so-long-term plan. In my original post, I was trying to explain that I'm in a one-off situation where I have a machine showing up today or tomorrow, but my Niche grinder is here on Mon or Tues at the earliest and I'm impatient so I bought a bag of espresso ground beans from a local roaster. I was coming hear for advice on what I should do to make the best of this (I know not idea) situation.

So, I'm going to have about 4 or 5 days of these grounds, I'm not going to try and dial in my brew yet, just get comfortable with the machine and aim for maybe a 1:2 or 2.5 brew in ~30 seconds and enjoy myself. The beans were roasted 9 days ago, ground this morning and put in an Airscape container (the bag didn't look like it was going to seal well the ziplock was damaged). Given all that. Is it worth freezing them or just leave them on the counter (which will still be pretty cool)

jpender
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#6: Post by jpender »

If you're going to grind the coffee in advance then, yes, freeze it. I would vacuum seal the grounds as well. And keep my expectations low enough to avoid disappointment.

Long ago I did the same, albeit with a slightly coarser grind (for a moka pot). The coffee was not as good as freshly ground, no doubt about that. But the freezer kept the grounds at a stable, if less than ideal, level. With an espresso grind it will likely be worse.

Nowadays with inexpensive, quality hand grinders easily found there's no reason for preground coffee at home. I've preground for backpacking trips a couple of times. That was a coarse grind, suitable for cowboy style immersion and decanting. I vac sealed the grounds. Even after a week at room temperature the coffee was amazingly good.

So give it a go, at worst it will be no better than leaving it at room temperature.

Nunas
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#7: Post by Nunas »

Freeze some if you want, but it won't make much difference. I'd put dose-sized amounts in little plastic bags and vac seal them, if you have such a sealer. Sadly, though, fresh or not, pre-ground coffee isn't going to be very useful, as there are minute differences in grind when dialing in for proper espresso. If your machine happens to come with pressured baskets, then there might be a chance you'll get something approaching espresso.

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mrgnomer
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#8: Post by mrgnomer »

Freeze or not to freeze is a debated issue. General consensus is it doesn't really make a difference. Personally I find freezing coffee is like freezing bread: you really can't freeze in that fresh roasted/fresh baked flavour. Best to enjoy it fresh.

I used to freeze my store bought Kimbo until I started noticing the frozen beans weren't tasting as well as the never frozen beans. Yes, it's 1kg bag old store bought, but I stopped freezing them. Don't know the affect of freezing on fresh roasts; I roast and buy them in small bags and use them up after a short rest for classic roasts, longer rest for light.

Pre grinding for storage, from what I know, opens the coffee up to accelerated oxidation and really shouldn't be done if you want to preserve freshness.
Kirk
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jpender
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#9: Post by jpender »

mrgnomer wrote:Freeze or not to freeze is a debated issue. General consensus is it doesn't really make a difference. Personally I find freezing coffee is like freezing bread: you really can't freeze in that fresh roasted/fresh baked flavour. Best to enjoy it fresh.
Freezing coffee may be debated but there is no question that it is an effective means of slowing down the reactions that stale coffee.

And freezing bread? I find it works very well. My local bakery recommends it for their artisan breads.

Jonk
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#10: Post by Jonk »

krby wrote:here if I should freeze it?
Yes. You very much can and it will help. Sure, ideally you would freeze whole beans to be ground à la minute, but it's better than just letting it stale in room temperature for days/weeks.