You know Mr. Freeze. Dr. Victor Fries is a cryogenic expert that suffered a terrible accident trying to save his wife and now wears a cryogenic suit to survive. He’s one of Batman’s enemies and part of the villainous Rogues Gallery. He was originally known as Mr. Zero and uses a “freeze ray” to commit crimes. It’s the freeze ray that intrigues me most.
It instantly freezes whatever it touches, whether it’s a person or a thing. This allows him to commit terrible crimes against humanity, no doubt, but also has some potential positive uses. One of those positive uses would be to freeze coffee. Because we’ve all heard to put our coffee in the freezer before, right? Is that an old wives’ tale or not?
Should we freeze or should we not freeze? Well, a recent article over at strivefortone.com (careful, it contains profanity) tackles this issue in an excellent and scientific way. The author concludes freezing espresso beans after they’ve sat for a week and then grinding them straight from the freezer is the best, most consistent way to prepare espresso. The read is fantastic as it covers grind, ratios, water, and everything else coffee geeks care about. If you’re not a geek like us, can you still profit from the author’s research? Yes. Yes, you can.
But it’s a little tricky because it involves using a vacuum food sealer, like this one. You could use a commercial one or pretty much any one out there, but the key is to get all the oxygen out of the bag with the coffee. The author wants to wash the beans with nitrogen to ensure all oxygen is cleared out, but that’s kind of a side bar in the article. Vacuum sealing also removes all the moisture from the beans.
Getting all moisture and all oxygen out of the bag with the beans is the key. A one-way valve for off gassing will not so the same thing. The author does this for his fancier single origin espresso drinks at the shop, but it’s too time intensive to do it for all drinks. Still, it may not be too time intensive for you at home.
You would have to seal your coffee with the vacuum sealer and reseal it before you put it in the freezer every time. I haven’t tried this yet, but Mike and I have talked at length about roasting, freezing, and shipping cold. So it’s interesting to note that the author let the beans sit for at least a week. This makes sense with espresso, but not so much for other brew methods. Still, the flavors apparently get stuck at whatever time you froze the beans. This would mean you couldn’t go on the flavor change journey from immediate roast to 2-3 days to 4-6 days, to a week and longer. Coffee certainly changes flavor over time, and most coffee afficianados won’t drink coffee after two weeks.
It still seems like a lot of work, and we won’t likely be sending frozen beans out any time soon. But it’s worth a try and we’ll report back to you later if we ever end up pulling the trigger on our own tests.