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Thread: Ok Now Im Confused????

  1. #1
    Senior Member Shotgun's Avatar
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    Ok Now Im Confused????

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Its me again. For some years Ive been using a coffee company in Melbourne (Im in Noosa QLD) and they told me many times to store my beans at best in the freezer, at worst in the fridge.

    The roaster of the blend Im currently using also told me to ALWAYS where possible keep my beans in the freezer or at least the fridge. Hi argument was that the roasted coffee is a "cooked product" and like any other "cooked product" it should be frozen or refrigerated. Hmmm!

    In recent weeks Ive spoken to 2 leading local roasters, one of whom was Barista Of The Year (or something) and they both told me to "Never keep beans in the freezer or fridge, always keep them in a cool dry cupboard." (pretty hard to do in Noosa Heads in summer)

    So whats happening here? This is a pretty fundamental question I would have thought; there must be some science involved in this, so why the difference of opinion?

    Is there any rational and logical light to shed on this subject?
    Cheers
    Tony * :)

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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    dont know the science behind it but the "barista of teh year" was and is correct thats for sure, i have never kept my beans in the freezer, like bread i suppose, yeah you can still use it, but its never as fresh after being frozen......

    cheers
    warren

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lovey's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Why dont you try an experiment? Get a batch of coffee and split it into three portions.
    Take one portion and store it in the freezer, keep one in the fridge and one portion in a cupboard (if you can find one up there ;D). Then do some taste testing of the batches on differing days and compare the flavours between them.

    The only caveat would be to try and keep the bags sealed bags, or youll find that the beans are getting a bit wet from condensation. Also, I wouldnt try to use the beans straight out of the freezer, let them come to room temperature first.

    At the end of the day, its the taste that counts, and if your customers prefer the taste of the coffee from one particular storage method, that would be the best one for you.

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Quote Originally Posted by 42797E6576647F110 link=1258345466/0#0 date=1258345466
    Is there any rational and logical light to shed on this subject?
    Hmmm. Hopefully.

    This is a subject that comes up on a regular basis.
    There seem to be 3 main positions:
    1 - Its a good practice
    2 - Its a bad practice
    3 - Dunno

    After reading numerous articles on the subject, I am firmly in the 3rd category.

    As Lovey suggested, try some experiments and see what YOU think.

    Brett.

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    I bet your roaster doesnt roast a weeks worth of coffee at a time and store it in the freezer until he needs to send it to his customers.

  6. #6
    A_M
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Quote Originally Posted by 7448554E444552474F44200 link=1258345466/4#4 date=1258352038
    I bet your roaster doesnt roast a weeks worth of coffee at a time and store it in the freezer until he needs to send it to his customers.
    giggled like a schoolgirl.... So true... I bet Andy and the other CoffeeSnob roasters freeze all their stuff :o

    And

    Quote Originally Posted by 73484F5447554E200 link=1258345466/0#0 date=1258345466
    In recent weeks Ive spoken to 2 leading local roasters, one of whom was Barista Of The Year (or something) and they both told me to "Never keep beans in the freezer or fridge, always keep them in a cool dry cupboard." (pretty hard to do in Noosa Heads in summer)

    So whats happening here? This is a pretty fundamental question I would have thought; there must be some science involved in this, so why the difference of opinion?
    Simple.. One needs to ask the right questions..

    1: Can you freeze brown beans and ground ones... YES

    2: Should you Freeze brown beans and ground ones... NO

    A: Should never be a need to freeze ground beans..

    As stated many times before..

    Green beans = 3 years
    Brown beans = 3 weeks
    Ground beans = 3 min

    Now this is not hard and fast but a guide to work on... In a World class comp.. Ground beans can / might be considered old and stale after 30 - 60 seconds... Some brown beans peak at about 3 weeks - stored in a bag with a one way valve.

    Take any item from the freezer (or even a fridge) and open it up and what happens in a hot and humid environment.... Condensation = water = stale and rancid beans/grinds. The beans will be hungry and absorb moisture and even if a little gets in... It will migrate through the beans...

    Thus a bag with a one way valve, in a cool dark place is the best way to store and to obtain a reasonable stable product...

    Now you could pre weigh and pack enough for a shot or double shot and thus open and use all at once... But is it worth the effort.. NO way...



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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Have read some semi scientific tests by people who know more about coffee than I ever will and they dont put it so cut and dried. I believe there is a place for it when you cant get a ready supply of fresh coffee or your consumption is low as long as you are using small packages (ie not kg packets taken in and out lots of time) you should get reasonable results.

    BTW: My preferred option is in one way bags stored in the cupboard.


  8. #8
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    I live in the Far north of Queensland and I roast a kilo at a time (lasts 2 weeks and I have not had a problem with storing it in the cupboard (in one valve bags). :D

    I have never used the fridge/freezer so I cant comment on how it affects storage. I would investigate the option if I stored roasted coffee for much longer though. But it never lasts that long. ;)

  9. #9
    A_M
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Grab some instant... It goes off and stale as well...


    International roast is good :-)

    1: A small tin x 3

    2: Open all 3

    3: Put the lid on and store one in the freezer, put lid on and one in cupboard and then spoon some out on to a small plate etc...

    Then feel free to run ya taste test etc...


    The open instant will absorb moisture very quickly... The one from the freezer will absorb and you will have / end up with crust on the top. Now you may say instant is not Beans or ground... I agree to some extent... The issue here is that it allow you to observe the outcomes with out having expensive moisture testing equipment..


    Motos post is in essence the same as my post just prior to his.. However I tried to explain the reasons... It is all about the hygroscopic properties...

    Just like Break fluid... May be in a semi sealed system, but is hygroscopic and thus after time has to be flushed and changed if it is to perform as expected...





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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    GutRot coffee company is
    ....never getting a dollar out of me?

    ....so sh!thouse that they have to resort to spamming BBs?

    ....a purveyor of a product that makes Intl Roast look yummy?


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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    GutRot coffee company
    has many uses. I use mine as an alternate degreaser and oven cleaner.


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    Senior Member Shotgun's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

    I can buy my local blend (Noosa Supreme which I am warming too) just roasted in 2kg bags which should last me 2 to 3 weeks.

    I thought the question was relevant because in summer up here in Noosa (sub-tropical) it is VERY hot and humid and finding a space that I could describe as "A cool dry cupboard" is impossible.

    Thanks again and I have another question Im going to ask re Extraction.
    Tony

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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Weve got a house in noosa, its not too hot to store beans, just a cupboard out of the sun will do the trick ;)

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    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    I buy the smallest quantity of brown beans from Beanbay. Only make coffee at home on weekends so takes 5 weeks to use them. I keep them in the fridge because it stops them becoming greasy which they do if I store them in the cupboard because it is too hot up here. I allow them to return to room temperature immediately before grinding.
    Occasionally someone buys a kilo of good beans for use at work in the dripolator. It can take a couple of months to use them so I store them in the freezer. I remove a few cupfulls every week, allow them to come to room temp, grind and take to work for that week.
    I regard this as the only satisfactory solution to the situation where beans have to be stored for some time before use.

  15. #15
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    While the general advice is not to either refrigerate or freeze beans, a test (referenced on-site--try a search) did show that freezing, if done well, was not too destructive of flavour.

    I used to fridge beans, and they were always a bit dumb tasting afterwards.

    One solution of course is to drink more coffee *::)

    I reckon the best bet is to buy green and roast your own.

    Greg

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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    hmnnn

    how about this:
    1. store in freezer in a one way bag that is sealed.
    2. take out and defrost to room temperature with beans still sealed in bag.
    3. Open bag and take in the the wonderful smell of coffee
    4. make coffee?

    that means no condensation can occur when you remove the bag from the freezer.. The condensation can only happen outside the bag which is airtight and maybe watertight.

    unless the oils and leftover moisture will freeze and expand and crack the beans.. or perhaps sublimation that leads to even drier beans..

    unfortunately, i am too stingy to use my own beans to do the taste test.. Any volunteers?

    i guess the problem is that you have to waste so much time defrosting and its not worthwhile doing it for small batches of coffee..
    maybe someone can come up with small packets of coffee in say 50 gm pack.. seal it up with a one way valve.. so that people can freeze them? totally useless in Ozzie but in other hot and humid countries.. it might be a good idea.. hmnn..

  17. #17
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Its not so much the refrigeration or freezing of beans that is the killer, but the nature of coffee beans to be hygroscopic and absorb moisture when its available..... As in condensate when beans are exposed to ambient conditions after being refrigerated or frozen. Unfortunately, this absorption of moisture is very detrimental to the flavour profile of the beans. As Jerome mentions, the beans seem to lose all their interesting traits to the point where the resulting brew can taste very flat indeed.

    So, what is important, is to ensure that you control the environment as much as it is practical to do so, and avoid the opportunity for condensate to form on the beans prior to grinding and preparing your brew. I guess this means that you will have to judicially ration the amount of beans that you can consume within a nominal period (in 1-Way Valve Bags for example), prior to freezing/chilling and then allow each ration to slowly reach ambient temperature once removed from the fridge/freezer before opening the bag.

    Once the bag has been opened, do not return it to the fridge/freezer as the beans will have absorbed some moisture from the air, and will do this each and every time you remove/replace the bag from/to the fridge/freezer. Once the bag has thawed or warmed to ambient temperature, it should be stored in a cool, dark and dry environment, such as the back of a cupboard or pantry from example. Providing you keep them in a 1-Way Valve Bag, squeeze out all the air before sealing, they should last for at least a week or so.

    Hope this is helpful.... :)

    Mal.


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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    I agree what Mal has posted. I have frozen beans on many occasions. I only do small quantities - about 100 - 150g depending on the jar - as it seems to lose its flavour quicker than beans that have not been frozen.

    I usually allow the beans to degas for a few days after roasting (usually about 5) so the beans are ready for consumption as soon as thawed.

    I then fill the jar to the absolute maximum to eliminate as much air as possible and cover it with plastic wrap before putting the lid on. I stick the jar in the back of the freezer compartment where it is less likely to have any temp differential when opening and closing the freezer door but, in truth, is probably not that important for the brief time the door is open.

    When ready for consumption, I take the jar out of the fereezer and into a cupboard to thaw slowly overnight. If an emergency, just remove a shot or two and let it thaw separately for about 15 minutes or so.

    I only do this to have a backup supply. Youll never get caught short again.

    Just for the record, the thawed beans have been great, but consume them quickly...and I always freeze my bread too ;)

  19. #19
    Senior Member Shotgun's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Hello all,
    Thanks for your input although it seems there is a range of views on the subject so Im erring with caution and keeping my beans out of the fridge and freezer.

    This of course raises another issue. I take delivery of 2kg of my preferred blend, in a sealed bag with one way valve (usually) the day after its been roasted. I will then break it down into 4 or 5 smaller sealed bags with one way valve and store in a cupboard. I will usually consume the beans within 3 to 4 weeks.

    Now I mentioned in an earlier post that I live at Noosa Heads in QLD which is sub-tropical and in the Summer months it can be very warm and VERY humid. What affect does heat and humidity have on beans and how long should they be kept (as a maximum) in those conditions.

    Anyone willing to tackle that one?
    Thanks again,
    Tony

  20. #20
    A_M
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Quote Originally Posted by 665D5A4152405B350 link=1258345466/18#18 date=1258688093
    Hello all,
    Thanks for your input although it seems there is a range of views on the subject so Im erring with caution and keeping my beans out of the fridge and freezer.

    This of course raises another issue. I take delivery of 2kg of my preferred blend, in a sealed bag with one way valve (usually) the day after its been roasted. I will then break it down into 4 or 5 smaller sealed bags with one way valve and store in a cupboard. I will usually consume the beans within 3 to 4 weeks.

    Now I mentioned in an earlier post that I live at Noosa Heads in QLD which is sub-tropical and in the Summer months it can be very warm and VERY humid. What affect does heat and humidity have on beans and how long should they be kept (as a maximum) in those conditions.

    Anyone willing to tackle that one?
    Thanks again,
    Tony
    Interesting.. Without real facts it is hard to say..

    For me 2kg in one sitting it a bit much... By week 3 etc they could be getting on a bit.. Then again for some beans, just reaching the GREAT stage..

    I would tend to go 1Kg and break down to 250g packs.. But postage then get to be an issue..

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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Quote Originally Posted by 646B7C61636B0E0 link=1258345466/15#15 date=1258642929
    maybe someone can come up with small packets of coffee in say 50 gm pack.. seal it up with a one way valve.. so that people can freeze them? **
    Hi CSrs,

    For use in science these are available from about 20cents each.
    These are simple quite robust disposable screw capped centrifuge tubes, (no valve) they take about 28g of beans. I use for room temp storage, but would be OK for freezer use at a pinch. I have recycled used ones and use them over and over after a dishwasher wash.
    They work for me; though my palate is undemanding Im sure.
    As far as I am aware all plastics are permeable to water and oxygen, the thinner the more so, I have not located comprehensive permeability data but some time ago Google revealed some insights.
    Glass is not permeable to water or oxygen but the lid/seal is a concern.
    I have no confidence in zip seals, limited confidence in plastic bags with or without heat sealing in general and would not trust them for long with coffee.
    I would say I am more wary than knowledgeable on the subject though, efforts to locate scientific data have yielded only limited success.

    Storage is an important consideration for all home coffee drinkers are we managing with myth and legend in 2009 or is my ignorance showing?
    What we need is a focused well designed scientific investigation on the subject of coffee storage, with an authoritative panel of connoisseurs to carry out blind taste testing etc.
    Perhaps we should apply for a government grant or seek industry assistance.

    Kind Regards
    Lindsay


    Kind Regards
    Lindsay



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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Quote Originally Posted by 232C3B26242C490 link=1258345466/15#15 date=1258642929
    someone can come up with small packets of coffee in say 50 gm pack.. seal it up ..
    saw a whole wall covered in these today little sealed coffee things today in Bondi Junction......

    Nespresso store...... ;D :P

    i hurried past to Di Bartoli



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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Does that container come with one way valve? it looks like the container that the doctor store my blood samples in! I had a laugh..

    as for the permeability of the plastic or glass i guess it would similar whether it is in the freezer or out in the open.. maybe the rubber seals will harden but i guess other than that it should work out fine..

    I was actually thinking of heat sealing those individual packs of coffee.. something like prepacked coffee pods but the beans are not preground.. Definitely have no faith in zip seals.. I have friends who stays in tropical countries and they have no access to coffee... those will really really work well for them considering that they have no chance of sourcing fresh beans!

    Maybe Andy can start selling 20x 50gm pack that goes internationally!
    There might be some really desperate people out there that are willing to pay more? heck.. ppl pay $1 for a crappy nespresso pod that has an best before date of 1 year.. what is 50gms of fresh coffee for say $4?

    but i do agree with lindsay! we really do need people to test it out!




  24. #24
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Quote Originally Posted by 393C3B3126342C2734550 link=1258345466/20#20 date=1258694796
    As far as I am aware all plastics are permeable to water and oxygen, the thinner the more so
    Absolutely true Lindsay....

    Im pretty sure that is why the genuine coffee storage 1-Way Valve bags are made of a tri-laminate with aluminium between two layers of plastic. Eventually though, through reuse, the foil begins to break down at repeated crease points rendering the bags sealing integrity slightly less effective as time and re-usage goes on.

    This works out OK for me though as by this time, I have run out out of material above the zip-lock with which to apply an impulse seal. Usually achieve between 8-10 reuse cycles though which is not bad.... ;)

    mal.

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    A_M
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Quote Originally Posted by 4A67636F620E0 link=1258345466/23#23 date=1258710267
    Quote Originally Posted by 393C3B3126342C2734550 link=1258345466/20#20 date=1258694796
    As far as I am aware all plastics are permeable to water and oxygen, the thinner the more so
    Absolutely true Lindsay....

    Im pretty sure that is why the genuine coffee storage 1-Way Valve bags are made of a tri-laminate with aluminium between two layers of plastic. Eventually though, through reuse, the foil begins to break down at repeated crease points rendering the bags sealing integrity slightly less effective as time and re-usage goes on.

    This works out OK for me though as by this time, I have run out out of material above the zip-lock with which to apply an impulse seal. Usually achieve between 8-10 reuse cycles though which is not bad.... ;)

    mal.
    Agree.. Blood bags and many other medical products (other than glass) all suffer from this. Thus while fluids may not leak... They can absorb other products that they come in contact with.

    Hence teh reason many items have to be stored on their own and one of the primary reasons food should NEVER be stored in a fridge; that contains medical products.. So if ya at the local GPs and they go to the fridge to get something and you see drinks, food and lunch boxes... Well you should say something :-?

  26. #26
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Quote Originally Posted by 230C0507102F030C0305070F070C16620 link=1258345466/24#24 date=1258711214
    So if ya at the local GPs and they go to the fridge to get something and you see drinks, food and lunch boxes... *Well you should say something *
    Yup--not just something though--make sure it is "GOOD BYE" and get a new GP!!!!!!!!

    Greg

  27. #27
    Senior Member Shotgun's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Hi again,
    OK, so Ive just taken delivery of a 2kg bag of freshly roasted beans (hes a wholesaler and thats the size he does unfortunately) and Ive just bought 20 x 500g resealable bags with one way valve.

    Should it be OK to use these resealable bags to store my beans in until I need them, keeping in mind I will probably use it all in 3 to 4 weeks?

    Cheers and thanks
    Tony

  28. #28
    Senior Member Shotgun's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    More on my previous post...
    What I was getting at was... is the zip lock seal alone OK to provide a completely airtight seal?

    I notice that Mal (above) also uses an impulse seal which I assume is like a plastic weld in addition to the zip lock seal.
    Thanks
    Tony

  29. #29
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    The ziplocks arent as good as a heat seal.

    I usually heat seal any of my bags that arent going to be opened within a week or occasionally two weeks.

    The ziplocks wear with use so they might be OK to leave undisturbed.
    I havent done any tests regarding taste to prove/disprove the above.

    I also havent left any bags not heat sealed for longer than two weeks, so cant say for sure if thered be a difference (using a new bag).

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    Re: Ok Now Im Confused????

    Hi Tony,

    Quote Originally Posted by 7D46415A495B402E0 link=1258345466/27#27 date=1258786367
    What I was getting at was... is the zip lock seal alone OK to provide a completely airtight seal?

    I notice that Mal (above) also uses an impulse seal which I assume is like a plastic weld in addition to the zip lock seal.
    I think your valved bags will be fine.
    There are more effective ways to deal with bean storage than I am familiar with Im sure, but for what its worth here are some of the things I have done.
    When I was using bags (usually not as good as purpose made valve bags) I would heat seal for longer storage, more than days and work off one unsealed bag.
    Weigh the reserve bags down to exclude as much gas as possible, I stacked one on top of the other with a weight on top. Store your reserve in the dark at an even coolish room temp where possible.
    Work off an open bag, then after taking a sample roll the bag down valve outermost, zip the seal if present and put a couple/few AusPost rubber bands around to apply pressure and stop unrolling.
    Plastic bags can be sealed with a clothes ironing iron with a little practice and possibly some hair straightener thingies might work but I never got round to trying them. Maybe try the freezer if you are forced to push the storage time to the limit, put one of your sealed bags inside another ordinary plastic bag, roll down tight rubber band it and place in the freezer. When its time to open, allow bagged bag to reach room temp dry off with a tea towel and open and treat as usual.
    If you have any revelations or storage breakthroughs let the rest of us know as this topic is central to our enjoyment of coffee.

    Kind Regards
    Lindsay
    PS. If you have a cylinder of ultra pure nitrogen handy you could flush out the beans and bags before sealing, but dont feel compelled to do this.




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