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Storing Coffee in the Freezer, is it Okay?

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There was a time (before I started this blog) when my ideal coffee was something like this. I would get a big ol’ bag, store my coffee in the freezer, remove it every morning and brew a pot of coffee with it.

One of the first things I “learned” when I stepped into the craft coffee wormhole, was it is never okay to store coffee in the freezer.

More recently, I’ve read several things that heartily support storing coffee beans in the freezer and some things that stick with the old no freezer rule of thumb.

Well. Which is it? Can I store my coffee in the freezer or is it a bad idea to store coffee in the freezer?

Here is what the experts say and of course (it’s my blog after all) my opinion on the matter.

Why You Should Not Store Your Coffee in the Freezer

According to a leading coffee freshness expert, Chahan Yeretzian (who boasts a PhD in chemistry and a pretty impressive resume), you should not be storing your coffee in the freezer.


Yeretzian reports that the coffee aging process is considerably slowed as you cool down the temperature. He also emphasizes that the small benefits you get from impeding the aging process are more than offset by the risk of structural damage to the coffee as well as the possibility of odor contamination and staling by condensation (warm air condenses on cold coffee beans creating moisture, the sworn enemy of coffee freshness).

“All the changes that we see, especially when it comes to aroma, are slowed down incrementally by 10 degrees at a time. If you cool coffee just 10 degrees below room temperature, this “aging” process will be slowed down by a factor of 2. It has been proven that aging is slowed down if you keep coffee cold, but by no means does this mean you should freeze your coffee” -Chahan Yeretzian (via Spudge)

One thing is certain, if you are going to venture into the world of freezing (or chilling) your coffee the refrigerator is definitely not the best option (because of all the odors). Daily freezing and unfreezing also seems unwise.

In summary, if you do freeze your coffee :

  1. Use a deep freeze over a constantly used freezer attached to a refrigerator.
  2. Best practice is to only put brand new (unopened) bags in the freezer.
  3. Let the coffee come completely to room temperature before you open the  bag and expose it to the ambient air.
  4. Realize that you run the chance of inflicting structural damage to the coffee that will change the way is grinds, brews and ultimately tastes.

Bonus Thought: In the winter your coffee arrives frozen from sitting on the mail truck all day, be patient, let your coffee beans come to room temperature before you open it up. Your hastiness might inadvertently prematurely stale your coffee. This also leads to the question, if coffee is air freighted (no matter the season, the cargo hold gets cold) or otherwise exposed to freezing tempuratures does your coffee arrive with possible structural damage?*

Why You Should Store Your Coffee in the Freezer 

Another PhD weighs in on the proponent side of storing coffee in the freezer. Dr. Chistopher H. Hendon, author of the very popular and groundbreaking Water for Coffee talks about the benefits of freezing coffee.

Although Hendon admits that freezing roasted coffee is “a bit of unknown territory,” he freezes coffee (quite a lot of it actually) and recommends using a vacuum sealer like this one to ensure your beans frozen integrity.

“Most ‘normal’ folks who freeze things are terrible with their protocol. Lots of water exposure. Lots of poorly sealed bags. If that is the case, the coffee will uptake the smells produced by frozen fish sticks and other things…. not good. Simply being mindful is enough to not have these problems.” -Dr. Christopher H. Hendon (via The Little Black Coffee Cup)

If you did want to divide up your coffee into weekly or even daily doses. You could freeze your coffee in individual one dose packages. If you are going to do this, there is some interesting research on grinding coffee while it is still frozen (see the the beginning of the Hendon article as well as this Barista Hustle paper).

Is the NCA freezing coffee beans?

The National Coffee Association is a little non committal on the matter saying to buy the right amount of coffee so you can consume it fresh. They also recommend storing your coffee at room temperature in a dark, airtight container. (Perhaps the best advice on the subject.)

In the end, the NCA did give a shaky thumbs up to storing coffee in the freezer.

“Most home storage containers still let in small amounts of oxygen, which is why food stored a long time in the freezer can suffer freezer burn. Therefore, if you do refrigerate or freeze your beans, be sure to use a truly airtight container.

If you choose to freeze your coffee, quickly remove as much as you need for no more than a week at a time, and return the rest to the freezer before any condensation forms on the frozen coffee.” – The National Coffee Association (via

My Opinion- Rules of Thumb for Storing Coffee in the Freezer

While my evidence is purely anecdotal (I am certainly no championed coffee scientist with a PhD), over the last month or two, I have formed my own opinion and process for storing coffee in the freezer.

Here is how it happened:

Christmas sales. Starting with Black Friday and moving through the holiday season, I was tempted by all the sweet deals and delicious coffee offerings. I bought way more coffee than my wife and I could reasonably consume.

To make matters worse (on the coffee front, not the life front), my wife slowed her coffee drinking considerably over the same time period because she’s pregnant (our fourth, thus the building up of coffee reserves). I had a surplus of coffee and I didn’t want all that great coffee to go stale.

Turning to my freezer as an option,  I pitted Dr. Yeretzuan versus Dr. Hendon and weighed out the evidence. Here are the ground rules I laid out for storing coffee in the freezer.

Coffee Freezer Ground Rules:

  1. Use my deep freeze instead of the freezer on my fridge. My fridge and it’s attached freezer get opened and closed constantly. My deep freeze keeps a colder temperature. I decided that, in addition to being out of the way, it would be better to put the coffee where the temperature was more constant and colder. If you don’t have a deep freeze, I wouldn’t put too fine a point on this one.
  2. Only store brand new bags of coffee. I wasn’t willing to purchase a vacuum sealer for the express purpose of coffee storage. Storing only new bags of coffee ensures that the coffee holds it’s original seal with the one way valve still uncompromised.
  3. Get my coffee out the night before I need it. This will ensure my coffee comes up to room temperature completely and eliminates any of the condensation problems. This also is a little on the cautious side of things.
  4. Once the coffee is out and opened, keep it out and use it as normal. I store my fresh coffee in my dark and room temperature cabinet in it’s original bag, squeezing out as much air as possible after each use.
  5. Take out the coffee in order of age. I’m not sure if it matters but I decided when I was ready to open a new bag of coffee, I would get out the oldest bag from the deep freeze.
  6. Keep an open mind. This goes for all things coffee (and pretty much all of life for that matter). I will keep tasting, reading and evaluating my coffee freezing practice.

My Anecdotal Findings on Freezing Coffee Beans

Surprisingly, I really have had no issues with storing coffee in the freezer. All my frozen coffee has been really good (it helps if you start with great coffee). Can I say that it was as good as it would have been if I would have consumed it fresh when it arrived? I cannot. They are all different coffees and I currently have no way to compare before freezing and after freezing (remember the only freeze unopened bags of coffee rule.)

I suppose I could buy two bags of the same coffee, freeze one and enjoy one immediately. I would still have to rely on my memory, notes and hope there are no bias’ (there always are) involved in the process.

My recommendation is to try it yourself. Your results may vary. Order some coffee (especially when it is on sale or order in bulk to save on shipping) and freeze it. I did not have one coffee of the bunch that I suspected of being flat or stale or anything other that the way it was shipped to me. Try storing your coffee in the freezer yourself and let me know what you think and what you experiences are. Cheers!


*If you are genuinely concerned about structural changes to coffee due to freezing, it seems that buying fresh AND LOCAL coffee is your best option. +1 for the local guys.

(Post Updated 10/10/2020, Originally Posted 1/7/2018)


  1. Brian's Coffee Spot

    Thanks for the excellent article.

    For what it’s worth, I agree with you. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and follow your rules of thumb: I take new, unopened bags of coffee and put them straight in the freezer. If I have any doubts about the packaging, I put them inside another airtight box. I then take the coffee out, let it defrost over night, open the packet and use it as normal.

    So far, I have had no real problems and coffee that’s been in there over a year still tastes fine.

    By the way, I have a separate freezer that I only use for coffee (potentially a rather extremely solution, but there you go!)

    Many thanks,

    • John

      Hey Brian!

      Thanks for the comment.

      I have been very anti coffee freezer storage until I gave it a try. It is extremely handy if you find yourself flush with coffee and worried about them staling on you before you can enjoy them.

      It is even handier to have a bag or two in reserve in case of coffee shortage emergencies :).

      I always appreciate you comments and input.

      Thanks again,

  2. nextbest review

    In terms of coffee storing, people often keep them in the bag, fireproof safe or in the freezer. But do you think it is the finest option to store coffee beans? I am sure you think otherwise. In that case, the best coffee canister can resolve coffee lover problem. What do you think? I think for storing coffee the coffee canister is the perfect one.

  3. james

    Very interesting, thank you for sharing. If you have a minute or two have a look at Presto Coffee Beans.

  4. Mrarvisr

    Hey, thanks for the post. All in all – I myself would disagree to storing the coffee beans in the freezer. Not to mention that frosting and defrosting can change the structure of the coffee, but it can also add moisture to the beans if it is not done prpoerly.

    Tho I agree that freezing the beans is not affecting them, but if not done carefully – that can harm them, and the taste.

    The best option I see is as explained here –
    Or, if you don’t want to read – buy smaller packages that you use up sooner, and go to the shop more often, that is the best way, tho involves more effort.

    Well worth it.

    But this was an interesting read, thanks.

  5. Chan

    Thanks for the article! Here’s the way to test this, as the question really is, “what’s better, storing at room temp or in the freezer?” It is not, “what’s better, fresh coffee or coffee frozen for 6 months?”

    Buy 2 identical bags, put one in the deep freeze and one in the pantry. Wait 3 months. Allow the frozen bag to come to room temp overnight. Cup the 2 side by side. Please share the results, as I don’t want to destroy any good coffee!

  6. Joni

    I have been putting my coffee in the freezer for years I also take the bag
    Out the night before . I have even used it right out of the freezer
    When I forgot to take it out the night before, my coffee tasted the same life went on don’t sweat the small stuff.👍

    • Marcelo

      Thanks for the article!

      In short: Is it worth keep unsealed bags on deep freezer, rather than keeping them on a dark cabnet, at room temperature?

      TL; DR:
      I agree on buying one-week package is ideal.
      Once a year, I travel to different coffee farms all over the country (Brazil) looking for new and different roasted coffee. Most of them won’t offer their coffee, in market, in regular basis (or we can’t find them at all).

      Well, past year, I’ve been storing on my deep freezer, 8-12 different roasted coffee in vaccum bags and I hadn’t had any problem (they all tasted good, in my opinion). Now, I’ve just bought 6 different roasted coffee and I ran out my vaccum bags (another thing which demands weeks to get delivered).

      I want to make sure I’ll keep their freshness once they’re stored on their unsealed bags, once I’ve never tried that “technique” before.

      Any advice?

      Thank you very much!

  7. James

    Thanks for the helpful article! I definitely prefer using fresh coffee beans however a few times when we have over ordered we have stored some in the freezer and it seemed to turn out ok.

  8. Andino

    Such an amazing article. Nowadays, It’s so hard to see something informative like this article. Such an informative article and straight to the point. Keep this up.

  9. Dr Chris Kear

    This is a great article, because it debates the pros and cons of freezing beans, in an informed way.

    I’ve experimented myself and I do feel that beans keep better in the freezer, if I’m not going to grind and use them immediately. However, I agree that it’s essential to properly seal the beans away from the atmosphere of the freezer, once the bag has been opened. My beans seem to be completely unaffected by months of freezing, as long as they’re in their original bag. When I open the bag, I transfer the beans to a properly airtight container until I use them. I’m not advising that opened bags be kept in the freezer, as I’ve seen that this can quickly result in ice crystals forming on the beans, and to me, that is a big no-no.

    I’ve kept sealed bags of beans in the freezer for months without any perceptible degradation in quality. But, it seems to be essential to get them into a sealed container as soon as the bag is taken from the freezer and opened. This limits the amount of condensation forming on the beans, which I think might be the key to all this.

  10. john

    The biggest factor people are glossing over is price. Its a very volatile commodity and this year for example, there are droughts affecting major coffee production, Its about buying it at an affordable price and storing for when it is not affordable or worse available.
    I’ll continue to but coffee on sale and store ours in the freezer and never be concerned about not having my cup of joe in the morning.

  11. Chris

    I have read a number of articles that end up on either side of this debate but my experience suggests freezing is a good option. Most of the pitfalls can be avoided by double bagging the coffee in zip lock sandwich bags which are then placed in zip lock freezer storage bag which are made from a different material and better at sealing out moisture, smells etc. The measure that I have for determining if freezing works is the bloom on my coffee. For those unfamiliar with the term, the bloom is the foaming that happens when hot water is mixed with the ground coffee as a result of remaining gases quickly being released. The fresher the coffee the greater the bloom. Old coffee has no bloom. Freezing very fresh coffee beans, (less than a week old) then removing the frozen beans I need, grinding and brewing days and even weeks after being frozen I still get a good bloom. That is not the case with keeping it in my cupboard. I have not used a vacuum sealer or container that pulls air out so that is possibly better though I doubt it. Looking into wine preserving methods which targets the same issue of oxidization, those devices that suck the air out of a bottle generally were not that effective at preserving an opened bottle of wine.
    Bottom line for me, freezing in a double bag with a freezer zip lock bag, is cheap, easy and seems to work.

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