Tuesday, January 1, 2013

To Freeze or Not to Freeze, That is the Question

   As I make a cup of coffee this morning, I'm thinking about a recent change I made.  I'm getting my coffee out of the cupboard rather than out of the freezer.

   When I was a kid, I always remember my parents keeping their ground coffee in the freezer.  Typically that was perk (coarse) ground.  The thinking was that keeping the coffee in the freezer would keep it fresh longer.

   So, when I got older and had my own freezer, I did the same.  Typically I would either have drip (fine) ground coffee or whole beans.  For many years I never thought about whether or not that made any sense.

   So what is the best way to store coffee?  Granted, this is not as deep as that great imponderable... "is coffee good for you?".  But I like fresh coffee so if there's something simple I can do to preserve flavor (and caffeine!) then I'm all for it.

   According to CoffeeAM, we're looking for cool, dry and dark.  Of course, the freezer basically meets that criteria.  RealSimple explains that the temperature fluctuation caused by taking the coffee in and out of the freezer will create moisture inside the bag.  That makes sense.  They also mention that whole roasted beans can be stored in the freezer for up to a month, but once out should be put back in.

   CoffeeBeanCorral says that it really doesn't matter how you store roasted coffee.  They say that roasted beans lose flavor no matter how you store them, and ground coffee shouldn't be stored at all.  They suggest that beans should only be ground when you're ready to brew a cup.  I think many would agree that the smell of freshly ground coffee is fantastic and stored ground never quite smells as good.  NileValleyHerbs says that coffee, in any form, should never be stored in the refrigerator.

   Finally, the National Coffee Association does a nice job of summing it up here.  They list the same enemies off coffee as some of the other references, but go further to say that the order of issues (from greatest to least) is: air; moisture; heat, and; light.

   So, I think I'm convinced.  An airtight, opaque container in the pantry or cupboard is the way to go.

   Now it's time for another cup!

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