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Ground coffee kept at a low temperature = lasting freshness?

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  • Ground coffee kept at a low temperature = lasting freshness?

    So a mate of mine said the other day that he used to grind his coffee then put it in the meat drawer of his fridge to keep at 2-3C for weeks at a time.
    Using this method, apparently when he made a coffee with it there was very little difference between the taste of it and coffee that has been freshly ground. This was apparently put to the test when some of his friends taste tested the older coffee next to a fresh brewed cup and couldn't tell the difference.

    I called bs on this but he stood firm behind the concept.

    Is there any science to back up how keeping ground coffee at a low temperature somehow preserves freshness and aroma?

  • #2
    Why don't you try it out for yourself mate?

    Nothing like a confirmation experiment (or otherwise) run by and controlled by you. If you can't tell the difference, then it might be true...

    Mal.

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    • #3
      Hmm, perhaps if you're using supermarket beans and dual wall baskets it won't make a difference.

      Assuming we're talking about espresso, one important factor would is the CO2 released by the beans. I think Illy did some proper tests on this, but basically the CO2 is important for crema formation, as well as the flavour. This disappears very quickly after grinding, keeping it in the fridge won't help.

      Leaving the coffee ground will also allow it to oxidise and the fats to go rancid, tho this will be slower in the fridge.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by noidle22 View Post
        So a mate of mine said the other day that he used to grind his coffee then put it in the meat drawer of his fridge to keep at 2-3C for weeks at a time.
        Using this method, apparently when he made a coffee with it there was very little difference between the taste of it and coffee that has been freshly ground. This was apparently put to the test when some of his friends taste tested the older coffee next to a fresh brewed cup and couldn't tell the difference.

        I called bs on this but he stood firm behind the concept.

        Is there any science to back up how keeping ground coffee at a low temperature somehow preserves freshness and aroma?
        Hi noidle22

        The "freshly brewed" bit reminds me of those dreadful US dripolators. Using one of them, I probably couldn't pick the difference either.

        My point is that the guy behind the counter and the gear can take anything down a few levels.

        Using decent grinders / espresso gear: my first hand experience is that one week at 4 degrees Celsius totally kills the crema of freshly roasted beans. However, it makes almost no difference to a cold steep or plunger.

        TampIt

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        • #5
          Not an option I would choose noidle, however, as Mal suggests, give it a try, it may tick the boxes for you.

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          • #6
            Yes I do intend to give a it a try. The next time I roast some beans I'll grind them up in a few different sizes then store them in the fridge for a week or so.

            A factor that I think that is important for this experiment is the brewing process. I may try an aeropress and stovetop as well as espresso to see if any are comparable to their equivalent freshly brewed cup.

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            • #7
              One question....
              Why ?
              if you have the beans, you have the grinder,....so why pre grind several days in advance ?
              + there is enough prior evidence to know this will not work !
              A little like trying to re invent the wheel !

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              • #8
                I have a friend who does not have a grinder at home, so they buy coffee and have it ground for them, they then keep it in the freezer.

                Whilst it is not as good as it would have been freshly ground, its definitely better then it would have been had it been kept out of the freezer.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by awbl View Post
                  I have a friend who does not have a grinder at home, so they buy coffee and have it ground for them, they then keep it in the freezer.

                  Whilst it is not as good as it would have been freshly ground, its definitely better then it would have been had it been kept out of the freezer.
                  Except it will probably go quite stale before they get it home to the freezer...

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