Coffee experts have long been telling us to keep our beans out of the freezer. Instead, we've been told to buy freshly roasted beans, more frequently, for the best flavored cup. But a recent study published by the University of Bath is shaking up that philosophy and telling us to put our beans in the freezer to get the most flavorful coffee.
The study discovered that cold beans are better for grinding. Cold beans, it turns out, grind more evenly -- and into smaller particles. The even grind claims to ensure a better cup because each ground is extracted at the same rate. And the smaller grind means more flavor can be extracted from less coffee.
The scientists, working with local coffee shop Colonna and Smalls in Bath, tested the beans at increasingly colder temperatures. They started at room temperature and went down to the temperature of liquid nitrogen (which is -321 degrees Fahrenheit). They found the colder the bean, the more uniform the ground and the better testing cup in the end.
It's believed that this study will have a profound effect on the coffee industry. Only time will tell if Starbucks or other major coffee chains will change how they grind their beans. One coffee roaster we know who isn't jumping on the wagon to give it a try is Stumptown.
We reached out to Josh Groff of Stumptown, one of the most reputable coffee roasters in the country, for his thoughts on this study. He shared that the roaster hasn't experimented with freezing beans before grinding yet -- and it doesn't sound like they're biting at the bit to try it any time soon. Instead, he stressed Stumptown's basic rule of thumb for good coffee: "The better quality you start with, the better the output, regardless of grind uniformity or bean treatment. Better beans make better coffee."