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Should You Refrigerate Coffee? Important Storage Tips for You

Whether you’re drinking a hot cup of French press coffee on a chilly morning or a refreshing nitro cold brew on a hot day, I guarantee that coffee will make your day better.

You’ve heard all about its health benefits. Smelling the coffee can reduce stress and make you happier. It’s great for your liver, especially if you drink alcohol. It can reduce your chances of getting skin cancer. Not to mention that it can make you a better athlete.

But how do you keep that coffee fresh to preserve its best taste and flavor? Should coffee be refrigerated?

Read on to find out!

To Refrigerate or Not to Refrigerate

There’s an intense debate on how you should properly store coffee. Should coffee be refrigerated or not?

We decided to do a little research ourselves and the results were incredible. As far as the taste is concerned, our refrigerated coffee seemed to taste better. So, we dug a little bit deeper to see what was in play and came up with a theory.

The theory is that the colder the air the lower the level of volatiles that is given off. We all know how important the volatiles are, considering that they are the ones that give coffee its incredible flavor and taste.

sealed coffee beans in a refrigerator

Technically, coffee refrigeration helps preserve more flavors in the coffee.

Some people are against storing coffee in the fridge because of all the moisture in there. And the higher the moisture levels, the higher the chances your coffee may go bad. But if you consider the relative humidity, the colder the air the less moisture it can hold.

Just make sure you use an airtight container for worry-free storage in the fridge.

What Scientists Say About Refrigerating Coffee

Did you know that some scientists recommend refrigerating coffee to improve its flavor and taste?

Some studies suggest that refrigerated coffee tastes way better compared to beans stored at room temperature. Chilled coffee beans tend to provide more flavor when ground. They’ve got an even grind and consistent surface area. This allows for a more effective extraction of flavors.

five levels of ground coffee beans

Researchers have put this hypothesis to test by grinding coffee beans at different temperatures. They found out that the grinds were finer and more even as the temperatures dropped.

These studies, however, don’t authoritatively state the benefits of refrigerated coffee, considering all the factors in play. But we hope future studies on this matter would come up with more decisive conclusions.

How to Store Brewed Coffee in the Fridge

We recommend using an airtight container or glass jar to make sure that your coffee brew doesn’t lose all of its flavor and taste. An airtight container also helps prevent the odor of other food from getting into the brewed coffee.

When dealing with hot brew, you must first allow it to cool to room temperature before refrigeration.

Which Is Better for Storing Coffee Beans – Fridge or Freezer?

Before we conclude which option is better, let’s first go through the various aspects of coffee that are usually affected during storage.

Acidity

woman pouring brewed coffee into cup

You may not like the sound of the word acidity near you, but it is actually a good thing. As far as coffee is concerned, acidity is what gives your brew its pleasant sharpness.

If your coffee doesn’t have enough acidity, the brew will taste flat. A well-balanced acidity interacts with an aromatic, fruity note, rounded by a slight almond aroma. It adds complexity to the brew while balancing sweetness and bitterness.

When we stored coffee beans in both the fridge and freezer, we noticed a slight change in acidity. The fridge and freezer results weren’t that different. We concluded that acidity isn’t usually preserved once you’ve opened the bag regardless of the storage method.

Intensity

This refers to the character of your coffee blend, which depends mostly on the strength of the aroma, the richness of the flavor, as well as consistency of the body. We found out that the freezer does a good job of preserving intensity compared to refrigeration.

Sweetness

In our opinion, sweetness is one of the most important and valuable aspects of coffee.

It mainly points to the smooth, mild flavor, which is usually referred to as a fruity and/or palatable taste. Fresh coffee beans have the best sweetness, followed closely by coffee beans stored in the freezer.

Smoothness

This is a taste aspect of balanced coffee, which doesn’t have pronounced aftertastes or tastes.

It is also referred to as soft, rounded, or round. Smooth coffee has the body but not jarring notes. We found out that an opened bag of beans stored in the freezer produced smoother coffee than the coffee stored in the fridge.

Verdict

You can get the best of everything from freshly roasted coffee beans, which are no more than fourteen days old. But once you have opened that bag, freezing is the better option than refrigeration.

Is Shelf Storage Better Than the Freezer?

If you’re a daily coffee drinker, then shelf, pantry, or room temperature storage is the better option for storing beans or grind.

Just make sure the coffee is in an airtight container that is opaque and stored away from moisture, heat, and light.

Freezing isn’t a very good option for a daily drinker because you will be repeatedly exposing your coffee to fluctuating temperatures. This could easily introduce moisture into your coffee beans or grind, affecting its taste and flavor.

On the other hand, freezing is the better option for the long-term storage of large amounts of coffee.

We, however, recommend that you split your beans into small portions and freeze them in airtight bags. Then, you can take one small airtight bag at a time whenever you want to grind and drink coffee. This technique will help prolong the shelf life of the remaining coffee beans.

The Bottom Line

Should coffee be refrigerated? In a nutshell, yes, for the grind and brew. The beans, however, are better off in the freezer.

What should be your biggest concern are the fluctuating temperatures whenever you get the coffee in and out of the fridge or freezer. So, if you choose refrigeration or freezing, then store it in small portions in airtight containers or bags.

This will ensure that you are only getting the amount you need at that particular time.

Avatar for Krista Haws

Known among her friends as 'the caffeine fiend', Krista loves all things coffee. From an extremely short, strong espresso to a 3 day cold brew, Krista loves them all.

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