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Thread: Coffee in the refrigerator

  1. #1
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    Coffee in the refrigerator

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Has anyone been storing their coffee in the refrigerator?

    I know that we are constantly told that this is a bad thing, but methinks that this might be a myth worthwhile busting. The general principle is that lower temperatures slow down chemical and physical changes in anything and if this works for food, why shouldnt it work for coffee? The countervailing point is that coffee is highly hygyroscopic and will also absorb odours. It strikes me that this is probably (much) more of a problem for preground coffee than for whole bean coffee and perhaps one that could be obviated a lot through a clever storage technique.

    I have been buying a bag of decaf every few weeks for the office. We use it fairly sparingly, so, like a lot of others, I have been storing it in the refrigerator. I keep the paper bag in which it comes in a plastic takeaway container. It seems to last a good two weeks that way. I havent tried this with regular coffee. The key difference between decaf and regular in this context strikes me as being that decaf usually starts off pretty flat and, so, has less to lose.

    Thoughts?

    Cheers,
    Luca

  2. #2
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    Re: Coffee in the refrigerator

    Luca,

    I wouldnt have thought youd be the one answering this question, not posing it. Theres been a few methodical experiments done on this, including one done by TW over in Norway.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2B322426470 link=1250996352/0#0 date=1250996352
    It seems to last a good two weeks that way.
    My beans last a good two weeks out of the fridge, so whats the difference? Might as well just keep them in the cupboard.

  3. #3
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    Re: Coffee in the refrigerator

    Quote Originally Posted by 57555951515F5845360 link=1250996352/1#1 date=1251009696
    I wouldnt have thought youd be the one answering this question, not posing it.
    I have too many experiments to do and nowhere near enough time! Let me know if youre up for tasting some interesting freezer coffee!

    Quote Originally Posted by 57555951515F5845360 link=1250996352/1#1 date=1251009696
    My beans last a good two weeks out of the fridge, so whats the difference? Might as well just keep them in the cupboard.
    I am talking about decaf here, which often oils up and tends to last for less time than regular roasted coffee. I am talking about a useable shelf life after opening. I find that if you keep coffee sealed in its own delicious gases, it tends to last pretty well. (There are also many interesting storage experiments along these lines, but thats subject matter for another discussion.) Once you start opening and closing the packaging, it starts to get tired pretty quickly - a four or five day useable window is about what I tend to get for the other stuff that I tend to have around. Against this background, I think that the results that I have gotten from storing decaf in the refrigerator are pretty significant.

    Cheers,
    Luca

  4. #4
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    Re: Coffee in the refrigerator

    during summer we have to keep our beans in the fridge or else its in the shipping container with everything else.

    we call it the lesser of two evils. although it doesnt wreck the coffee we have noticed that it does slow the whole ageing process.

    for example were finding around the 10 day mark is optimal, however in the fridge was taking around an extra 4-7 days to get a similar falvour profile.

    for taste wise, yes the fridge does make a big difference. its not very nice. instead of explaining it, try it out. leave some coffee in the fridge and in the cupboard and try it out.

    one of the downsides to queensland weather, hot and humid. not the best for coffee.

    luke

  5. #5
    Senior Member redzone121's Avatar
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    Re: Coffee in the refrigerator

    I have done a little experimenting with freezer storage after reading too much info on the pros and cons. My untrained palate and non scientific results are: Coffee seemed to be still good upto 4-5 weeks. I tried some at 2 months and it was stale IMO.
    One day I threw a 10 day old blend in the freezer just in a couple of layers of freezer bags (normally would be in a one way valve bag also) after only 3 weeks this coffee had a FOOD taste :-[
    It was used for pour over so maybe it stood our more but it was nasty anyways.
    IMO if I can extend the life of a 10 day roast for another 3 weeks or so then its a bonus. Admittedly I dont notice too much difference others probably will.
    Dont know bout the fridge yet, interesting thread so far ;)

    Chris

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    Re: Coffee in the refrigerator

    Quote Originally Posted by 342D3B39580 link=1250996352/2#2 date=1251011064
    Let me know if youre up for tasting some interesting freezer coffee!
    Always happy to help Luca.

    I suppose what youre basically getting at is there are always going to be situations where using the fridge/freezer are appropriate, and other situations where its not going to be. It has to be taken on its merits where all the pros and cons are known.

    Luke, if youre running a commercial situation you might want to investigate the use of wine fridges for storing your beans in. The advantage being its a humidity and temperature controlled environment. I know Mailing Room have been using it to great success.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2A3D3C2237363D696A69580 link=1250996352/4#4 date=1251012641
    One day I threw a 10 day old blend in the freezer just in a couple of layers of freezer bags (normally would be in a one way valve bag also) after only 3 weeks this coffee had a FOOD tasteEmbarrassed
    Chris, I think youd find those freezer bags are more porous than youd expect.

  7. #7
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    Re: Coffee in the refrigerator

    Quote Originally Posted by 50525E5656585F42310 link=1250996352/5#5 date=1251016326
    Luke, if youre running a commercial situation you might want to investigate the use of wine fridges for storing your beans in. The advantage being its a humidity and temperature controlled environment. I know Mailing Room have been using it to great success.
    I was thinking the same thing but for green beans. More for keeping the humidity stable than temp. I have noticed my beans going from a blue/green to straw/yellow through time. Any one tried that?

    In my limited knowledge the storing of roasted seems to be a northern state (QLD) thing than a southern (VIC).
    Maybe this is a humidity issue too?

  8. #8
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    Re: Coffee in the refrigerator

    I guess with any type of sub-ambient cooling, you need to be conscious for the potential of condensate forming on the cooled beans. Not a problem if you live in a location where the dew point is really low but in high humidity locations, I think it will always present a problem.

    Unfortunately, I am unable to make any comment regarding decaf beans as I dont drink it but the condensate issue would be present regardless of the bean type and may cause issues when grinding. For me, I dont want anything wet anywhere near the innards of any of my grinders and am quite happy to stick with using a cool, well ventilated cupboard here at home and if I was in Lucas position at work, then I would use a small 1-Way Valve Bag and then store that in a small stubby esky or similar; no need to refrigerate.... ;)

    Mal.



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