Yay, Coffee. Go, Science.


By: Beth Garrison, CEO

This blog post is a follow up to our previous one: "To Freeze or Not To Freeze"

So I tried the "freeze the beans" experiment.  I outlined this study using the scientific method below (please note: the following is just a case study, and should not be used as vigorous evidence of the benefits of freezing coffee beans.).

The Experiment

"Participants" and Setting

The participants for this study were 2, one week old bags of whole beans named, "Watson I and Watson II."   They were chosen because they were the only bags of coffee the researcher had available.  Both were obtained from the same small batch of roasted coffee beans.  The setting was a kitchen located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, which contained a freezer.  Watson I was the control group, and Watson II was allocated to the experimental group.  


Materials included a "Chemex," a manual pour over coffee maker that resembles a laboratory flask (because, you know, if we are going to experiment, we better "science the sh$!t out of it" (thanks, Matt Damon)).  See below:



The researcher also used a ruler, cone coffee filters, an electric grinder that ground for 15 seconds per cup, a kettle, two airtight plastic containers, and filtered Brita Philadelphia tap water (yup, I know...this is where you all are going to pounce on me for the lack of precise materials).


At the start of the experiment, Watson I was allocated to the control group, and was stored for one week in an airtight plastic container at room temperature.  Watson II was allocated to the experimental group and was stored for one week in an airtight plastic container in the freezer.  

Prior to brewing, the water was brought to a boil using the kettle.  Beans were ground using the electric grinder, and the grounds were placed in the Chemex and filter, using a 17 to 1 brewing ratio (17 parts water to one part coffee).


The "coffee bloom" is a chemical reaction that occurs during the brewing of coffee.  As the beans are roasted, the heat traps CO2 in the beans, the gases slowly escape the bean, as the bean is stored for longer periods of time.  The "bloom" in brewing coffee, appears as the grounds when touched with water, "bloom" up into the air.  When the hot water touches the grounds, the gas that is still stored in the bean is released.  For coffee drinkers, this "bloom" is the indication of the "freshness" of coffee (See this article for more information). 

For this experiment, we measured the bloom of coffee for each cup.  The control cup was brewed from grounds stored at room temperature and the experimental cup was brewed from grounds stored in the freezer, each day following a week of storage.  We measured this in centimeters using a marker on the chemex and tape measure.



Results experiment.jpg


Freezing of the beans kept the bloom over a longer period of time.  Future research should look to studying the effect of freezing the beans for longer periods of time, different blends, and utilizing different water types.

Oh by the way, the frozen coffee beans cup of joe tasted better too.

Go science.