STORING COFFEE..TO FREEZE OR NOT TO FREEZE?
The proper storage of coffee is integral to preserving its freshness and flavour for as long as possible. How to best do that is a hotly debated topic amongst coffee connoisseurs. This article is going to give you a basic overview of important factors to take into consideration when deciding the best way to store your coffee.
One fact that can’t be denied is that roasted coffee does not mix well with air, heat, moisture or light. Furthermore, there is a general consensus that in order to get the best flavour out of your coffee beans, you should buy small quantities of it and keep it in an airtight container, at (or preferably cooler than) room temperature. To get the most out of the bean you should also aim to consume it 1 to 2 weeks after buying as coffee begins to lose its freshness very soon after it has been roasted.
I BUY A LOT OF COFFEE…
What about if you buy a whole load of coffee in bulk to ensure a good price?
In this situation, you can put the coffee into airtight containers (best to separate them into weekly portions rather than keeping them in one large container) and store it in the freezer for about a month.
NB Once the beans have been removed from the freezer, NEVER put them back in. Just don’t do it. Refreezing coffee after you have allowed it to thaw has a seriously negative impact on its flavour.
So far (perhaps save the bulk buying freezer suggestion) everything I’ve said is common knowledge agreed by the experts.
THE GREY AREA
The debate starts when you look at how best to keep coffee away from its four foes (air, heat, moisture & light).
Everyone agrees that too much heat is bad for storing roasted coffee. Storing coffee in a cooler temperature will slow down the loss of vital coffee flavour components. However, the fundamental question is how much cooler should this temperature be?
Advocators of the freezing or refrigeration of coffee argue that storing coffee at a cooler temperature slows down its ageing process, keeping it fresher for longer. However, at what cost?
The main arguments against freezing are:
(i) It removes the coffee aroma
(ii) Odours from other items in the fridge can alter the flavour notes of the coffee
(iii) The cool temperatures cause condensation to form on the bean and negatively affect the flavour of the coffee
However, freezing advocates would argue that once the coffee has sufficiently thawed it will regain its aroma. Also, if the coffee is kept in an airtight container, it will ensure that no aromas from your fridge/freezer attack the precious coffee inside. I’m not entirely sure how they would argue against moisture and condensation affecting the coffee.
In any case, there is no common consensus on whether or not freezing of refrigerating coffee is the best method for storing coffee. It’s more of a personal choice.
LYNDON’S COFFEE APPROACH TO STORING COFFEE
Here at Lyndon’s we would recommend:
1. Buying your coffee regularly
2. Drinking it within 1-2 weeks
3. Storing it
(i) in a dry, air-tight container
(ii) at, or slightly below room temperature
(iii) in a dark place
To freeze or not to freeze? We’ll leave that decision up to you…