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Published: October 16th 2022
The Arrhenius equation, states that for every 10-degree Celsius increase, the reaction rate doubles. What makes coffee
special is its volatiles or the chemicals that produce its distinct aroma. Likewise, the reaction rate halves for every 10-degree Celsius decrease, so keeping coffee cooler will preserve the smell.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to store java in the freezer. The best practice would be to keep beans in an airtight container like a Tupperware or Mason jar to keep moisture out. Brianne Linne, a researcher, also recommends batching out the beans and checking each portion individually to ensure it’s completely thawed before use.
Pre-ground coffee, Linne says, is extremely dry. Dry things want to absorb moisture, so improperly storing ground coffee in the freezer
could make it stale even more quickly. In other words, unless you are going to care for it like a house plant, then store your ground coffee on the counter, too.
Linne does sing the praises of whole-bean coffee over ground coffee
She says that a coffee bean is porous like a honeycomb. During the roasting process, the volatile compounds that create that enticing scent are released into these pores, so
once the beans are ground, those aromas waft out. Linne says that grinding fresh beans yourself means there’s a greater surface area holding the volatile compounds since they’re trapped inside. Freshly ground beans equate to maximum flavor.
From a food safety perspective, no. But as a delicacy that many enjoy for its flavor and aroma, the taste can go stale. Over time, some flavorful compounds created during the roasting process degrade as they’re exposed to oxygen or oxidation. Oxidation reactions can transform some redolent fat-based compounds into a stale or un-coffee-like scent.
Or, if you leave the coffee out in the open the volatile compounds can simply evaporate. This change doesn’t shift the flavor profile, but it does sap flavor altogether.
There’s no risk of getting food poisoning from coffee
, whether you keep it in the freezer or at room temperature. Linne keeps whole beans on her countertop and prefers to drink black coffee to get the full flavor profile, in case you were wondering.
The most scientific verdict, according to Linne, is to keep coffee at room temperature.We store our Peet's ground coffee at room temp. We no longer buy the whole beans and grind ourselves
(too much trouble), though we have an excellent grinder.We also add a teaspoon or two of Kauai Coffee to flavor our Pett' a few times a week. It mellows the coffee even more, and imparts a pleasant taste and aroma, for a good change of pace.And most importantly, we take Peet's French Roast coffee with us wherever we go, foreign and domestic.
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