Should You Store Coffee Beans in the Freezer?

By Carole Vansickle

You don’t want your coffee tasting like frozen meat, but that is just want can happen if you store your coffee in the freezer. Fortunately, there are many other ways to store and enjoy coffee that will enhance rather than detract from your morning wake-up experience.


Coffee is actually made from the seeds of the coffee plant, commonly known as coffee beans. The existence of the beverage was first recorded around the ninth century, and has a long history of use in religious rituals and as an item of luxury. Brazil is the world leader in coffee production. Vietnam and Columbia also enjoy high revenues and reputations as noted producers.


Coffee is, for many people, one of the traditional small indulgences of their day. It comes in countless varieties and flavors. Gone are the days when one simply ordered a cup of regular or decaf. Now coffee aficionados can decide what types of flavors, flavorings, brews, and even roasts that they would like. Traditional coffee may be served with cream or sugar, but specialty coffee shops also offer options like vanilla flavoring, extra shots of espresso, and non-fat soy milk.


Coffee is not a particularly expensive beverage to brew at home, and many people opt to do this instead of forking over the money for a cup of “designer coffee” in a cafe. Many frugal coffee drinkers like to buy in bulk, resulting in the necessity of storing the extra coffee beans for extended periods of time. Following conventional wisdom, many of these brewers have placed their beans in the freezer, with dire results. Coffee beans are porous, which means that they are full of holes. These holes make it very easy for the beans to absorb other flavors of strongly scented or flavored items in the freezer, such as shrimp, fish or other seafood. The beans also absorb moisture, which can make them difficult to grind and brew, and can make them taste stale–kind of like the freezer. Fortunately, there are many other ways to preserve your coffee beans until you are ready to grind and brew them.


In order to enjoy the fiscal benefits of buying in bulk without sacrificing the taste of your coffee, you can take preventative measures to insure that your beans remain fresh as long as possible. Do not grind them until you are ready to use them. Ground coffee beans last a maximum of 2 weeks. Also, look for bags that are valve-sealed instead of vacuum-sealed. This allows the coffee to maintain freshness longer. Finally, store your beans in a sealed, dark place. Do the same once you have ground them if you do not brew them all at once.


If you follow these directions for storing coffee, then you will likely be able to enjoy coffee purchased as much as a month in advance with no ill tastes. Your beans will remain whole and hearty, thereby retaining oils and flavoring that make specialty coffees unique. Unfortunately, you should avoid buying more than 1 month in advance, as your coffee will certainly suffer before you use it all.


Because coffee is a caffeinated beverage, many people drink it to wake up in the mornings or to help them stay alert and focused during the day. Research indicates that drinking excessive amounts of coffee can cause serious strain on your heart as well as increasing mental and physical stress. Many people get headaches if they miss their daily coffee, but many doctors now suspect that those headaches may actually be caused by the coffee, and they may be worse if you give in to your craving. On the other hand, drinking moderate amounts of coffee can actually benefit your cardiovascular system, according to some researchers. Drinking coffee in moderation is safe for most people, but be sure that you do not develop and cater to a habit that could eventually harm your health.