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Why haven't roasters embraced freezing coffee?
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iHaveFeet
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Posted Thu Jan 16, 2014, 10:10am
Subject: Why haven't roasters embraced freezing coffee?
 

Given that the myth about freezing coffee, if done properly, has been debunked and it's a proven way to extend the freshness of a roast, I wonder why roasters haven't caught on to this? I find it so frustrating when I take a 15 minute drive to my favourite local roaster, Transcend, only to find that the only bags they have for sale at that location are already a week to 10 days old.

It would seem to me that roasters would benefit from storing their retail beans in a deep freeze and selling them to customers frozen, with detailed instructions on the bag about how to properly thaw the coffee. This way they could freeze the coffee a few hours out of the roaster and ensure all customers are able to experience their coffees at it's absolute peak. It would also likely lead to less coffee being wasted, as the bags could sit in the freezer for several weeks and they wouldn't have to worry about it not selling it because it's past it's life.

I wonder why no one does this? Is it just a case of old habits dying hard or is there some other motivation? I would imagine the cost involved for a small local roaster wouldn't be that much: you can fit a heck of a lot of coffee in a standard, home sized deep freeze. Certainly many more bags than they usually have for sale on their counters.

Brendan
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GVDub
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Posted Thu Jan 16, 2014, 2:54pm
Subject: Re: Why haven't roasters embraced freezing coffee?
 

The freezing is only valuable if it's sub-0F, and transporting in dry ice is very expensive.

Or such is my understanding.
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emradguy
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Posted Thu Jan 16, 2014, 2:55pm
Subject: Re: Why haven't roasters embraced freezing coffee?
 

I think that not everyone agrees the myth has been debunked. Not saying that's the reason, but it's one possibility.

Although I do freeze most of the beans I buy, there's is one particular blend that I feel suffers significantly when I freeze it.  These beans are treated exactly the same (by me) as all of the other beans I buy.  The beans are freshly roasted, and shipped to me the same day, arriving at my door on post-roast day 2 or 3. I divide them into small batches exactly the same, freeze them in the exact same jars, in the exact same part of the freezer, and thaw them exactly the same as all of the other beans, yet this particular blend goes flat within about 3 days of use after they've been frozen - before that they are fantastic! When a new shipment arrives, I always take a same sized portion for not freezing, and those unfrozen beans have a longer "shelf" life.

 
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CMIN
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Posted Thu Jan 16, 2014, 4:12pm
Subject: Re: Why haven't roasters embraced freezing coffee?
 

So far I haven't had a blend or S.O. that hasn't worked with freezing, I use ball caning jars and seal beans in zip bags inside each jar. I guess I have a good fridge freezer as I normally go 1 month, sometimes 2 and really no difference in grind settings or taste difference. I did pull out a jar that had been in there 4 months and it wasn't as good (still fine though) and had to grind a click forward tighter vs normal settings for that blend, but it worked. If that blend had just sat like that in a cupboard it would of been completely stale and nasty, even after 1 month for that matter it would have been noticeably stale.

But I usually only go a month, sometimes two. I wouldn't go longer with a fridge freezer, anything longer and a deep freeze chest would be best. I would use one anyway but have no room except in my FL room which is all windows and roofed like a normal room but no a/c since it's open to outside, my electric bill would be nutz with a deep freeze out there (neighbor did that once and quickly put it elsewhere when he saw his bill lol, uses his for fish).

Have to have a good fridge though in general, my friend has an older one and the defrost cycles are different and not as efficient, as he tried storing just like I did and it didn't work well multiple times. Which always makes me wonder if people that posted they couldn't get it to work had older not as efficient units, as I remember reading 1 or 2 posters that did say their fridge/freezer was old.

For a roaster though, I don't think they'll want to go through the trouble or cost, it would have to be packed in with dry ice etc.
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iHaveFeet
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Posted Thu Jan 16, 2014, 4:34pm
Subject: Re: Why haven't roasters embraced freezing coffee?
 

I might not have been clear in what I was envisioning:  I realize that the logistics of shipping frozen coffee would be complicated and expensive.  I'm thinking it could be useful for coffee sold locally out of the shop.  Any home sized deep freezer should keep temperatures well below -20c, which is plenty cold enough to preserve coffee's freshness.  I envision the bags for sale being stored in a deep freezer, and when a customer says "I'll take a bag of the Yirgacheffe" the barista grabs a bag from the freezer and hands it to them, saying "be sure to let it warm up for 6 - 8 hours before you open the bag" or whatever.  That way every bag sold would be almost virtually as fresh as the day it's roasted.  They could still sell bags 6 weeks after roast.  They wouldn't have to throw coffee out (or do whatever they do to it) because it didn't sell in time and now the freshness window is over...

Brendan
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DavecUK
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Posted Thu Jan 16, 2014, 8:47pm
Subject: Re: Why haven't roasters embraced freezing coffee?
 

I've never found freezing to be good for coffee.....
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Buckley
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Posted Fri Jan 17, 2014, 5:38am
Subject: Re: Why haven't roasters embraced freezing coffee?
 

[quote655869Although I do freeze most of the beans I buy, there's is one particular blend that I feel suffers significantly when I freeze it. [x]

Which one is that, Ron?
IHaveFeet: The standard business model for roasters and other producers is to move product and let the retailers deal with wastage/spoilage issues.  For 90% of retail customers, there is no downside to buying stale roast; it is a problem that does not exist - except for coffeegeeks, and how many of us are there?  The wholesale business subsidizes the stature of the roaster with respect to his peers, conventions, spro-downs, cognoscenti, hobbyist buyers and the like, who buy fresh product.
The business model does not call for babysitting surplus and producing a fragile version of the real thing (ie, can't be refrozen, etc.).  Breakage and spoilage are factored into price/profit calculations for all standard businesses.
B
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CMIN
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Posted Fri Jan 17, 2014, 7:00am
Subject: Re: Why haven't roasters embraced freezing coffee?
 

Buckley Said:

Although I do freeze most of the beans I buy, there's is one particular blend that I feel suffers significantly when I freeze it.

Which one is that, Ron?
IHaveFeet: The standard business model for roasters and other producers is to move product and let the retailers deal with wastage/spoilage issues.  For 90% of retail customers, there is no downside to buying stale roast; it is a problem that does not exist - except for coffeegeeks, and how many of us are there?  The wholesale business subsidizes the stature of the roaster with respect to his peers, conventions, spro-downs, cognoscenti, hobbyist buyers and the like, who buy fresh product.
The business model does not call for babysitting surplus and producing a fragile version of the real thing (ie, can't be refrozen, etc.).  Breakage and spoilage are factored into price/profit calculations for all standard businesses.
B

Posted January 17, 2014 link

this! I mean people still flock to Folgers Instant lol
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calblacksmith
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Posted Fri Jan 17, 2014, 7:19am
Subject: Re: Why haven't roasters embraced freezing coffee?
 

A slightly off point but still in the ball park, I think that the reason that roasters do not endorse freezing for customers is that most customers are, well, lazy. They put the big bag-O-beans in the freezer then open it every day to get some more and close the bag. This assures that moisture enters the bag EVERY time they open it, wetting the beans and starting the extraction process on the surface of the beans.

Done properly, I do not find much if any loss in quality over the month that I store them from purchase to purchase of 5 pound bags. Then again, I do break the lot into several bags each about 3/4 pound, evacuate and deep freeze in the bottom of the freezer and only open a bag after it hits room temp and never refreeze.

 
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emradguy
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Posted Fri Jan 17, 2014, 9:23pm
Subject: Re: Why haven't roasters embraced freezing coffee?
 

Chromatic Gamut is the one that seems to go flat. Fresh, and the first couple of days after thawing, it's one of the best spros I buy.  I just got 3 12oz bags. i'm doing one fresh and have the other two broken into 8oz ball canning jars (instead of the 16s), so I'm hoping to thoroughly enjoy tis entire batch

 
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