Can You Freeze Coffee Beans?

With so many independent coffee roasters to choose from, it’s possible to enjoy beans from all around the world. From Indonesia to Uganda, coffee is produced and exported all over the world and has become a vital pick-me-up for people working long hours, thanks to its high caffeine content.

If you enjoy sampling beans from around the world, you might be wondering how best to preserve your coffee, increase its shelf life and keep it as fresh as possible. Is it okay to freeze coffee beans?

The Quick Answer

You should avoid freezing coffee beans. Although coffee is a fruit and can be frozen, it’s best to avoid putting your beans in the freezer. Instead, coffee should be stored in an opaque, sealed container, away from direct sunlight, in order to preserve the taste profile of the beans into the future. 

Why You Shouldn’t Freeze Coffee Beans

It’s fair to say that freezing coffee beans splits opinions. Some people swear by it, whereas others avoid it at all costs. The reality is that storing coffee beans does them absolutely no favours. And here’s why. 

Coffee is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture, odours, and other flavours in the surrounding air.

As such, when you place your beans in the freezer, they take on the odours and moisture already within, which can drastically affect the taste profile of your beans. 

When you think about how hard coffee roasters work to develop the profile of their beans, it would be a shame to jeopardise this by placing them in the freezer, thus exposing them to a whole plethora of odours that are likely to alter their taste. 

How to Store Coffee Beans

Instead of freezing them, the best way to store coffee beans is to keep them in an airtight, opaque container away from direct sunlight. Once you open your bag of beans, the coffee will begin to oxidise, which means the flavour will slowly start to deteriorate over time. 

The best thing to do is to dispense of the coffee’s original packaging and place your beans directly into a clean, opaque container. While coffee doesn’t really ‘go off,’ you will notice that roasters write a use-by date on the label.

This tends to be within six months of the roast date. 

As a rule of thumb, the quicker you enjoy your freshly roasted coffee beans, the tastier they will be. The longer you leave them, the staler they become. 

If you don’t drink a great deal of coffee, the best thing to do is to invest in a 250g bag instead of a larger 500g or 1kg package. This means you can use your beans up in a relatively short space of time without needing to freeze them. 

Do Coffee Beans Freeze Well? 

While we certainly don’t advocate freezing coffee beans, it’s perfectly safe to do so. But due to the fact that they absorb moisture and odour from other products, it’s best to avoid freezing your coffee beans if you want them to taste as the roaster intended. 

Instead of seeking to preserve them long into the future, buy smaller packs of coffee and use them as quickly as possible. This way, you can enjoy delicious, flavoursome coffee, just as the roaster intended. 

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing coffee beans or coffee in general, then these may help:

Can You Grind Frozen Coffee Beans?

You can grind frozen coffee beans but only do so with a good quality coffee bean grinder. You may find the grind becomes inconsistent if your grinder is not sharp and powerful. 

Can You Freeze Espresso Shots? 

If you like to use coffee in desserts or cooking (yes, really!) then perhaps you’re wondering whether or not it is possible to freeze espresso shots? Yes, you can! You can freeze them in the slots of an ice cube tray to give yourself ready-to-go coffee shots. 

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