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Question about storing coffee beans in the freezer

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  • Question about storing coffee beans in the freezer

    Hi folks, I was given a very nice lot of beans from my friend who returned from Italy recently. As I'd recently opened a bag of beans, I used supermarket zip sealed freezer bags & partitioned small amounts of beans into separate bags, removed as much air as possible, sealed the zip lock as tight as possible, then placed the bags into a plastic bag - again with as much air removed as possible, tied the top tight & left them undisturbed in the freezer.

    I know that beans (if properly stored) last 3-4 months in the freezer & should be ideally used in that period. I've just got a couple of questions. Firstly how good are those supermarket zip lock bags if used as described above?

    Also, I read on another forum that ideally the frozen beans, once removed from the freezer should be allowed to reach room temperature before opening the zip lock bag or container & exposing the beans to outside air. Tbh I ignored that tonight & poured the frozen beans straight into my stainless steel sealed container. The container is not vented fyi. Could the flavor profile or freshness of the beans be affected from being exposed to air for only a few seconds? Cheers.

  • #2
    Id be concerned with cold to warm condensation? Be curious to the answers on this also.

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    • #3
      It will be fine. Certainly not worth throwing them out over

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      • #4
        Best to let them slowly thaw out to ambient temperature though.
        If you grind them while frozen, some condensate will inevitably find its way through to the grinds and maybe create a bit of a sticky mess in your grinder. Easily dealt with though but best avoided...

        Mal.

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        • #5
          I've done side by side taste tests and I can absolutely tell the difference between fresh and frozen. Not that the frozen beans taste bad, especially if they haven't been subjected to freezer air. But there is a vibrancy to the fresh beans that is diminished almost immediately in the freezer. BUT, I have only tried with one-way bags. Now that I am vacuum packing I need to do another comparison test.

          My hypothesis is that freezing contracts the CO2 in the beans, pulling in air. Then when the beans are thawed, the CO2 expands back to normal, but now there is air in the bean too, so the internal bean pressure rises, and those lovely fragrant volatiles get pushed out when the coffee is ground letting them rapidly escape...and, air has displaced them inside the bean.

          I have a tentative theory that vacuum packed beans (in vacuum bags) will not allow as much air to infiltrate the beans when they are frozen, since there is not much air available. There is a small amount of off-gassing that occurs after I vacuum pack the beans, so some C02 (and volatiles too) get pulled in instead of air when the beans are frozen. Alternatively, I could put them straight in the freezer before any off-gassing so that this is still a vacuum. Theoretically, any thing lost when thawing should be the same as lost during off-gassing.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DrHenley View Post
            I've done side by side taste tests and I can absolutely tell the difference between fresh and frozen. Not that the frozen beans taste bad, especially if they haven't been subjected to freezer air. But there is a vibrancy to the fresh beans that is diminished almost immediately in the freezer. BUT, I have only tried with one-way bags. Now that I am vacuum packing I need to do another comparison test..
            Was it a full blind taste test?

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            • DrHenley
              DrHenley commented
              Editing a comment
              No it was a partially deaf taste test, LOL.

            • LeroyC
              LeroyC commented
              Editing a comment
              You'll find that if it wasn't a blind taste test then you'll have some preconceived ideas that will impact your assessment. It doesn't matter how hard you try or how unbiased you think you are it's at a subconscious level and is unavoidable.

          • #7
            In a longer period of consumption i use single dosing for freezer storage. I would rather compensate for moisture affecting my brew which is not that significant compared to letting it rest at room temperature and losing its volatiles

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            • #8
              Originally posted by Bodhi View Post
              ideally the frozen beans, once removed from the freezer should be allowed to reach room temperature
              According to some well know commercial roasters in NSW & QLD, frozen beans can go from freezer ie in one-way vented bag or container, straight into the grinder. I've done this freeze to grind and seemed OK to me. The roasted beans were rested about a week before freezing.

              The bagged beans they sell from that roastery come from refrigerated clear glass doors. I'm unsure of the temperature in that storage. But my freezer is -18C

              Living in a high humidity area, freezing beans of a larger quantity makes sense to me, frozen coffee storage was all the rage last century, times may have changed. But now I've started roasting again, the small batches 100-150g do not need cold storage as they are consumed within a week.

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