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Frozen Coffee

I like coffee quite a bit (I have three coffee preparation devices on my kitchen counter) and I’ve always been under the impression that freezing coffee was a bad idea. Turns out, according to this incredibly detailed experiment, it pretty hard to tell the difference if frozen for less than two months after roasting:

When the results were examined according to the three scored parameters, the overall preference, the crema, and the intensity of the taste and aroma, no statistically significant differences were noted among the coffees studied or the other variables of the study. What this means is that none of the tasters could consistently differentiate among the shots made with previously frozen or never frozen coffee. Similarly, none of the tasters could consistently tell the difference based upon whether the shots came out of the newer rotary pump driven or the older vibratory pump driven espresso machine, nor between the two grinders, one of which had brand new burrs and the other with more heavily used burrs.

In case you were worried this wasn’t taken seriously enough, here are the storage instructions:

If you are concerned about what sort of container you should use for freezing coffee, it obviously needs to be something that is relatively airtight and that can tolerate the conditions present in a freezer, and the temperature stress in going from room temperature to very cold and back again to room temperature. I generally use Mason type canning jars or recycled jars from grocery products that will close with a tight seal; I fill them up as full as possible to minimize the remaining air that is present. I have also used certain types of commercial plastic coffee bags that can be sealed and if valves are present I tape over them. If you purchase coffee that is already packaged in a sturdy valve bag you could simply tape over the valve and toss it directly into the freezer. I would however suggest that whatever container you choose, it be sized to allow you to consume all of the contents within a reasonable period, say 1 week, without having to open the bag and return some of the contents to the freezer; doing so risks condensation on the beans which could theoretically cause damage.

This all came via an excellent Lifehacker post busting food myths. Also, if you’re still reading, I’ll assume you like coffee and suggest you check out the cold-brewed iced coffee recipe I posted last year.

November 6, 2011 // This post is about: , , , , ,

Comments

  • Rob Day says:

    Interesting that you posted this around now. We’ve been having all too many cold/frozen debates around the office. Our current one is centered around the various instant brews (Keurig and Via) with extra strength directly onto ice, or some method of brewing and rapid freezing the brew. That’s a study I would be interested in seeing. I contend that only a select few people will know the difference of a an instant brew done right and directly onto ice, and a real brewed coffee, chilled, and then poured on ice. If we ever reach a ‘conclusion’ I’ll let you know. :)

  • Noah Brier says:

    Rob, there was a great NYTimes article from a few years ago about just that: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/dining/cold-brewing-coffee-and-tea-the-curious-cook.html?pagewanted=all

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