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Can You Freeze Coffee Beans—And Should You?

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You love your morning cup of coffee, but you don’t have time to brew it each day. You have the option of buying pre-packaged ground coffee or beans that are already roasted. But what about freezing? Can you freeze coffee beans, and should you?

Can You Freeze Coffee Beans?

The simple answer is yes; you can freeze coffee beans. The better question to ask is can you freeze and successfully thaw coffee beans without sacrificing taste and quality. According to the National Coffee Association, when properly packaged in an airtight container, ground coffee has a shelf life of about two weeks before it begins to lose its freshness and flavors. Whole and coarsely-ground beans have a shelf life of about three weeks. However, if your freezer always contains space, go for it. It’s better than tossing old beans out because you never got around to using them up.

Will Freezing Beans Alter Their Taste?

According to the NCA, freezing does not alter the taste of your beans. The same goes for thawing. However, there may be some noticeable differences in texture and flavor after you allow them to return to room temperature.

Is Freezing Coffee Beans Safe?

Freezing keeps food fresh by slowing down bacterial growth, enzyme activity, and chemical changes that cause spoilage. It doesn’t kill any bacteria already present in the foods. So, while it won’t make your coffee downright dangerous, it’s still not a good idea to freeze your leftover coffee long-term — especially if it contains oils or milk/creamer. If your freezer is always well organized and has been thoroughly cleaned out before anything new, go ahead and freeze your coffee for a few months.

Freezing coffee beans is not recommended beyond two to three months because the expansion of freezing water into ice can damage cell walls. It then bursts those cells when the ice melts as the beans thaw. This can speed up staling reactions and cut down on the beans’ shelf-life. Freezing ground coffee causes large ice crystals to form, which creates a mealy texture once it’s allowed to return to room temperature.

What’s the Best Way to Freeze Coffee Beans?

The best way to freeze coffee beans is in an airtight container. This prevents freezer burn, which can destroy the flavor of your beans. You can use a plastic bag or container made specifically for freezing food. Be sure to label and date your beans, so you know how long they’ve been in the freezer.

How Should I Thaw Coffee Beans?

There are a few different ways you can thaw coffee beans. One is to place them in the refrigerator overnight. Another is to place them in a sealed plastic bag and submerge them in cold water for about 30 minutes. Finally, you can microwave them on low power for short intervals until they’re soft. Just be sure not to overheat them.

If you don’t plan on using your coffee beans immediately, transfer them into an airtight container and place them in the freezer. Avoid refreezing thawed beans because doing so can cause a loss of flavor due to moisture condensation inside the container.

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