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Ok, so yes - the best way to keep your coffee fresh is to just buy fresh coffee regularly, and not use it two weeks after the roasting date.

However, some people don't drink a lot of a coffee (or don't drink coffee at all!), but want to keep some 'nice coffee' in the house for when guests arrive.

In this situation, will keeping ground coffee in the freezer help retain freshness/flavour?

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Ground coffee keep fine in an air tight jar in the pantry for a few months. Try a blind test and see if you can spot the difference. Freezing coffee makes a lot of dust from the grinds –  TFD Apr 30 at 4:14
    
Since your question concerns ground coffee, read the answer and comments here: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/36751/… –  Jolenealaska Apr 30 at 13:27

1 Answer 1

Yes, buying fresh coffee is better and grinding right before using is optimal. I think we mostly agree on that. That said, it IS possible to freeze coffee without completely destroying it. There are a number of variables that you want to account for. Here is a short summary:

  • It should sealed very tightly, a mason jar would work well for example. Even better is to freeze the unopened bag (with the valve taped shut), but that defeats your goal I think of consuming slowly.
  • If at all possible, put into the freezer once, remove once. NO refreezing. Taking the whole batch in and out of the freezer every time you use it could cause condensation which will damage your beans.
  • Freeze the coffee whole. Grind right before use.
  • Take the coffee out of the bag, let it come to room temperature before grinding it.
  • Once it comes out of the freezer, it's back to being optimally consumed in a couple weeks.

There is a limit to how long you can freeze it. I wouldn't leave it more than a few months? Here's a good, but long read on the subject, including some taste test results. If you're really seriously interested, I'd give that a good read.

If you're not a big coffee drinker, and your guests aren't picky either, you might not care about all those variables. I'd do some testing to see what works for you (don't test with the expensive stuff of course...). If you and your guests can't taste the difference, the extra precautions are kind of for naught. I have certain family members who claim to prefer the crappy, flavourless stuff for example. :-P sigh

Last note. Never store coffee in the fridge. Why not? Quoted from here:

"The Starbucks web site says: "Think of coffee as fresh produce. The enemies of coffee are oxygen, light, heat, and moisture. To keep coffee fresh, store it in an opaque, airtight container at room temperature. Storing coffee in the refrigerator or freezer for daily use can damage the coffee as warm, moist air condenses to the beans whenever the container is opened."

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Why shouldn't I keep the beans in the fridge? It's in airtight jars. I keep another, smaller jar in the cupboard and refill it with beans so when I grind I have them in room temperature. –  zamber Apr 30 at 10:42
    
@zamber : Condensation. Each time you open the container, you let in new, moist air, and then putting it back into the fridge it adds extra moisture into the coffee. –  Joe Apr 30 at 15:18
    
I would add that roasted coffee has the tendency to absorb water (or moist). So if you're roasting at home, do it just before freezing, otherwise freeze just after unpacking if the packing was good. If not, you might want to find a way to partially roast again. –  spakendralo man May 1 at 12:22

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