How should you, the retail consumer, store coffee?

Let us give you our take on this controversial issue.

But first, what are we protecting coffee against?

The attacking forces that cause coffee to stale are…


a. Moisture
b. Odours like
onion, bacon, etc.


a. Oxygen
b. Micro-organisms
like those that
produce sour-dough starter

Heat and

Because they speed
up the staling
effects of
contaminants 1 & 2

So why is there so much controversy?

Well, its largely caused by the disregard for the Scientific Method by coffee aficionados during personal experimentation.

For instance, most have experimented with the storage of coffee in the fridge or freezer, in a ridged container and found that it doesn’t work.

They have found that the taste of the coffee deteriorates when stored this way. It simply doesn’t work; case closed! However, the staling is not caused by the cooler or cold storage environment… It is because, like Elvis, the Scientific Method has, previously, left the building.

One more thought,
in order for the coffee to taste
fresh until the last drop using
our recommended storage
solution, you must first start
with Freshly roasted coffee.

Chahan Yeretzian

Head of the Centre for Analytical and Physical Chemistry at Zurich University and is also a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe’s Board of Directors. He’s building up a coffee competence and research centre; in which 70% of his research is on coffee.
Professor Yeretzian is certain that “if you cool coffee just 10 degrees below room temperature, this “aging” process will be slowed down by a factor of 2.”
In our experience with coffee since 1991, we have found freezing coffee to extend freshness by the amount stated by Professor
Yeretzian – “Moreover, we maintain storing coffee at -10°C will extend coffee freshness by 8 times.” (Ambient temperature of 20°C to -10°C is a 30°C temperature reduction or a freshness longevity factor of 8 times (2 x 2 x 2).

The ridged container prevents the user from eliminating or squeezing out the air in the storage space in and around the coffee before placing it into the cold space. Hence, the air is the metaphorical Trojan Horse that sneaks in the attacking forces
1 and 2 (above).

Each time the experimenter takes the ridged container out of the cold space, opens it and spoons out the needed coffee, the cool condensed dry air is replaced with warm moist air. The moisture, smells, microorganisms, etc. contained in this air will condense into the coffee and cause further deterioration.

The staling factor is not the cold.

It is the inappropriate container (and, of course,
the lack of Scientific Method) which prevents
the air and its free-loading coffee enemies
from being eliminated.

He worries that “freezing coffee might change its structure, and cause individual beans to crack.”
We suggest further experimentation by Professor Yeretzian should find that coffee does not “freeze or cause the beans to crack” until substantially
below -10°C. This is because the moisture in the coffee bean is mixed with many other compounds like proteins, carbohydrates and oils which reduce its freezing point well below -10°C.
He also warns that while “it’s true that cold storage can help slow down coffee aging, but then when you go and open it at room temperature, any benefits of cold storage are more than negated by condensation.”
If you follow our technique for removing and
replacing your coffee in the freezer you will avoid the pitfalls suggested above while dramatically
extending the freshness of your coffee.


Do I have to thaw the coffee before grinding?
No, in fact, the friction caused by grinding coffee generates heat. Starting with frozen coffee will provide self cooling during the grinding process. NOTE: For best results, your grinder setting will have to be a tiny bit courser when grinding frozen coffee.

Doesn’t freezing coffee cause permanent changes which affect the taste?
We have seen no scientific information, that indicates any changes are not fully reversed by thawing the coffee.

I’ve heard, freezing causes the oils in coffee to congeal. Is this bad?
Freezing is used extensively to protect many foods with high oil content like nuts, butter, etc.

Does freezing affect the gas in freshly roasted coffee?
The coffee roasting process causes many chemical changes within the coffee bean. One of these changes is the production of CO2 gas equal to 3 times the volume of the coffee bean. This gas is very attractive, as it carries the aroma molecules from the coffee to your nose. Freezing helps keep this aromatic gas inside the coffee bean, which increases the satisfaction of the home user when the coffee is ground.

The taste of brewed coffee benefits from aging after roasting, won’t freezing create problems here?
Used properly, freezing allows the consumer to choose the optimal age for brewing and place the coffee in suspended animation by freezing. Freezing coffee is a tool that can be used for continually eliciting good taste from coffee over time.

Won’t the moisture in the fridge or freezer cause problems regardless of the package used?
Air in the freezer is too cold to carry much moisture. Moreover, most freezers are frost free, air in the fridge carries more moisture. However, this will not affect coffee when stored as recommended.

When I place the coffee from the freezer in my grinder, moisture condenses on it. Will this create problems?
This issue will vary depending on whether you live in Coober Pedy or Cairns. Bottom line, only place coffee in the grinder that you will use in 24 to 48 hours and the fresh benefits are yours without a downside.

If cold storage is so effective, why don’t coffee roasting companies protect their coffee this way?
Surprisingly, many coffee professionals are unaware of the benefits of cold storage. Some boutique coffee roasters use cold storage for some aspects of their coffee distribution, but many are disinclined to wear the expense involved.

I buy my coffee in vacuum brick packs. Will fridge or freezing it help me prolong the freshness?
The benefits will be limited because the coffee is already stale. One of the major reasons for vacuum (brick) packing is to economize on transport costs. i.e. Create uniform sized and shaped coffee packs that will take up the least space. Before the coffee can be vacuum packed, it first has to be left unpacked for days to allow the CO2 to dissipate from the coffee bean or ground coffee. This degassing allows the bag to retain is brick shape and not become fluffy. Unfortunately, it allows the coffee to degrade somewhat. This combined with the extended time in the distribution chain means that your enjoyment will be limited.