Coffee Beans in the Fish Truck

in Storing Coffee

Over lunch yesterday, my friends and I had the always spirited debate about keeping coffee in the freezer.  Coffee is perishable and it’s tastiest when it’s fresh, so naturally people assume it’s a good idea to freeze it when not making any.

The first observation to ever tip me off otherwise was that I’d never seen a freezer in a roastery or cafe.

In fact, I was once told that the drastic change in temperature from freezing to thawed does indeed affect the freshness and flavor of the coffee.

The biggest reason not to store coffee in the fridge or freezer is because coffee naturally absorbs odors from what’s around it.  Those odors will certainly affect the flavor of the coffee that absorbs them.  Your fridge and freezer contains many foods and therefore, many odors. 

The best story I ever heard was from a friend who drives a truck for a living.  He told me that when they were hauling loads of fish, they would throw cheap coffee beans into the back of the truck with the fish!  He doesn’t drink coffee, but he and his fellow drivers knew of coffee’s powerful ability to absorb odors, and used it for stinky loads.  I asked him if it really killed the smell of fish in his truck.  His answer…”kind of”.

Only buy as much coffee at one time as you plan to drink in a week or two.  Do not buy the giant tin of ground coffee because it’s economical.  It’s not just cheap coffee, but it will be stale before you finish it, if it isn’t already stale when you bought it.  Buy whole coffee beans, and grind them right before you brew.  Keep your beans in an opaque airtight container at room temperature.  Learn more about properly Storing Coffee.

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