Coffee Bean Storage: To Freeze Beans or Not to Freeze Beans

Many ideas exist about how to store coffee beans or ground coffee. One popular method is to store coffee in the freezer for later use. Is this the best method for coffee storage? Let us discuss the possibilities.

Freezing has been used for centuries as a way to extend the life of many foods. A diverse selection of foods can be frozen. Bread, meat, fruits, vegetables and even butter can be successfully stored in your freezer. Freezing even maintains many of the vitamins and nutritional value of a wide variety of foods. Coffee, however, is not as likely a candidate for storage in the freezer.

There are 4 main enemies of our precious coffee beans: moisture, light, heat and air. At first glance, freezing does not seem like it should be too damaging. Appearances, however, can be deceiving.

Roasting of the beans gives coffee much of its flavor. The roasted beans are porous. Unfortunately the beans can absorb other unwanted flavors besides the coffee flavor you want. Freezers often contain many odors you might not want in your coffee. Some flavors might be nice, but no one wants to drink onion or seafood flavored coffee.

Moisture can also be absorbed by the coffee beans. Moisture can cause deterioration and loss of flavor. The more often you take coffee out of the freezer and put it back in, the more moisture absorption takes place into the bean. If you absolutely need to freeze some coffee because you have a large excess you would like to keep, only freeze it once. The more you take it in and out of the freezer, the more damage you do.

Freezing also breaks down the oils in the beans. The oils contribute to the flavor of the coffee. Breaking down the oils means taking away flavor, and face it, a large part of a good cup of coffee is the flavor.

When it comes down to it, freezing is not the best way to store your coffee. Keep coffee stored in a cool, dry, airtight container away from light. Freezing coffee is possible, and is best if you only freeze it once. The resulting loss of flavor and quality from repetitive freezing makes it a method of storage to stay away from. Your best bet is to purchase only enough beans or ground coffee to supply you for 1-2 weeks. Enjoy the coffee at its freshest!

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About The Author, Cory Willins
Cory Willins appreciates good coffee. Find more of her articles and more resources on gourmet coffee at