Freezing Coffee - Intuition or Logic?

We rely on both intuition and logic in decision making. Intuition is the process of arriving at a decision based on instinct or feeling, without conscious reasoning. Logical decision making, on the other hand, is a deliberate and conscious process of weighing options, analyzing data, and considering consequences.

We tend to make more intuition-based decisions for daily decisions because it is quick and efficient. However, it can also lead to biases and errors. An example is confirmation bias, where we seek information that confirms our preexisting beliefs and ignore information that contradicts them. For example, we might only listen to news on MSNBC but not Fox News or vice versa. Confirmation bias can lead to flawed decision making because it prevents us from considering all the relevant information. This can be particularly problematic in fields such as politics or finance where decisions can have significant consequences.

Even coffee gurus make intuition-based decisions. For years, there has been a war among coffee gurus over the best way to store roasted coffee. There are pro-freezer storage proponents, and dark cabinet storage proponents. Many of the gurus are dogmatic and have no respect for opposing opinions. In fact, there are coffee gurus who will not talk to us because we don’t share their coffee storage opinions.

The amazing thing about storing coffee is that many of the opinions are based on intuition. For example, a coffee guru, Dr. Chahan Yeretzian admits that the coffee aging process slows as you cool the temperature. However, he states that the small benefits you get from impeding the aging process are more than offset by the risk of structural damage to the coffee as well as the possibility of odor contamination and staling by condensation. Incredible Myths of Coffee Freshness, Revealed. Sprudge 23 September 2015 Notice he states a logical fact, (freezing slows down aging) but then states two intuitive suppositions – risk and possibility.

Another example is the recommendation from The National Coffee Association: “To preserve your beans’ fresh roasted flavor as long as possible, store them in an opaque, air-tight container at room temperature.… Don’t store in the fridge or freezer: Contrary to popular belief, storing coffee beans in the fridge or freezer can actually cause them to absorb moisture and odors from the environment, which can negatively affect their flavor.”

The assumptions are based on the intuitive belief that coffee consumers will store their coffee in poorly sealed bags with lots of oxygen, water and odor absorption. The assumptions are odd considering the logical fact of the amount of perishable food safely stored frozen by consumers in freezer bags and vacuum sealed bags.

There are several experiments by coffee professionals where they compare dark cabinet stored beans to frozen beans week by week for a number of weeks. Where the frozen beans have been well insulated from light, oxygen, water and odors, the frozen beans always come out on top.

Based on the experiments by coffee professionals, we conclude that roasted coffee beans will remain fresher in the freezer if they are insulated from light, oxygen, water, and odors. So, we suggest:

1. After your first use of a bag of roasted coffee put the remaining beans in a sealed light, air, moisture, and odor proof container. If you wish, you can split the beans into smaller packets, so you don’t open them as often. You have a lot of choices: vacuum canisters, vacuum food bags, mason jars, double zip lock bags etc.

2. Keep the beans frozen in a dark freezer until you need them.

3. Remove the beans you need and grind them. Do not thaw the beans out.

4. Return the unused beans back to the freezer.

5. Immediately, put the frozen grounds in the brewer.

6. Enjoy the coffee.

Bon Appetit

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