Are you able to freeze a fresh cup of brewed coffee to enjoy later in the week?
How will it taste? Is there a particular way to freeze it properly?
We’ll explore all of these questions and more to ensure that any coffee you stick in the freezer will have the best chances of maintaining its savory taste and texture.
But the short answer is – yes, you can freeze brewed coffee.
Freezing coffee, why would you do that?
Aside from making a quick brew to save time, freezing coffee can also come with the benefit of preserving freshness by reducing oxidation.
When we store our favorite beans, we make good use of bags and canisters that keep out oxygen and bacteria that can degrade the product over time.
This is also true for coffee that’s already been brewed.
Freezing temperatures can reduce the amount of oxygen degrading your product and slow down any bacterial activity.
The main idea here is to reduce the coffee from perishing while preserving the flavor.
What kind of container would be best?
There are several kinds of storage containers for all kinds of budgets out there.
Some are plastic, some are glass, and others made from high-grade surgical steel.
However, the trick that most coffee connoisseurs strongly recommend is obtaining a container that keeps oxygen and light out.
Similar to oxygen, UV radiation from sunlight can also degrade the quality of your coffee, brewed or not.
So, whichever container you choose to freeze your coffee in, make sure it’s opaque (or close to it) and airtight.
For those willing to take that extra step for maximum flavor, you can also try vacuum-sealed bags.
These can be a bit expensive, ranging in the hundreds of dollars, but the quality won’t disappoint any coffee lovers wanting to experience a great-tasting brew after thawing their frozen product.
For those on a budget, you can try a plain plastic bag and suck out the air with a straw.
While cheap and relatively easy to do, beware, some coffee experts suggest that cheap plastic can degrade the overall taste after a good freezing.
As for the best kind of container material, it varies.
As mentioned above, it depends on how the container is used and where it is stored (dark places to avoid light).
However, some coffee enthusiasts recommend glass being the best, due to its ability to resist any stains and residual odors that coffee might leave.
However, any glass container that isn’t a dark color needs to be stored in an area where sunlight can’t penetrate.
How long can coffee be frozen for?
This depends on how often you consume coffee.
If seldom, some recommend up to two years provided that the beans and/or grounds have been vacuum sealed.
If you choose not to vacuum seal or simply forget, then freeze it for no more than six months.
The vacuum sealing is important for longevity, due to the freezer moisture that can get into your coffee, form ice crystals, and bring with it whatever odors are present in your freezer at the time.
However, this process takes a while to happen.
Just be mindful of your coffee product and how long you freeze it for.
However, coffee that has already been brewed has an even shorter shelf life.
Coffee experts strongly recommend that brewed coffee be frozen for a week maximum.
Can iced coffee be made from frozen coffee?
The short answer is yes, you can.
This can be done by making coffee ice cubes.
Brew a pot, pour it into an ice tray, and let it freeze overnight.
When it comes time to make your favorite cup of iced joe, simply brew some hot coffee, then take the frozen cubes and drop them in.
The Starbucks franchise is known to do this, so that the coffee doesn’t become too diluted with water.
Another trick you can use is to heat up some milk (or some dairy alternative such as soy milk) and then pour it over the coffee cubes in a cup.
Can you freeze other things with the coffee?
Whereas adding milk and sugar to your coffee before shoving it into the freezer for a time can be convenient, it’s not recommended.
Raw, black coffee should be frozen by itself, and adding anything else should come after the coffee is ready to be thawed.
This is due to how milk behaves after being frozen. It changes texture, and can taste weird.
This is especially true for milk products that have a higher fat content than others.
It comes down to preserving the flavor. If thawing a frozen ready-to-go frappuccino was a tasty idea, major coffee corporations around the globe would have made it available to the public already.
Most people who enjoy a few cups of caffeine every day simply don’t like the end result.
Will freezing coffee reduce its caffeine content?
No, in fact, freezing coffee (even brewed), can preserve its caffeine for many years as opposed to just letting it sit at room temperature.
So, you don’t have to worry about the coffee losing caffeine.
However, other things such as antioxidants might break apart if introduced to your freezer.
There’s also a mild risk of having the grounds settle to the bottom of whichever container you choose for freezing.
The longer it takes to freeze brewed coffee, the likelier most of the flavor and caffeine will settle at the bottom.
What about decaffeinated coffee?
The results of freezing a quality brew of decaf will be about the same as regular coffee, depending on the container and how fast it freezes.
Coffee enjoyers also warn that certain solvents are used to remove caffeine, and can reduce or even remove the savory tastes that most caffeine lovers take for granted.
Last sip of advice
Whether you are curious about frozen coffee, or simply can’t find the time to brew it fresh every morning, if done right, frozen coffee can retain its flavor for several days at a time.
Shop for the right container.
Don’t add anything else before freezing, defrost, and enjoy.
coffee ice cube image by jamieanne/Flicker, CC 2.0