Jul 6, 2023
Did you know that one of the most popular and common freeze-dried food is instant coffee? Yep! That jar of instant coffee that perks you up in the morning is freeze dried. It’s a complicated process that many companies invest in. But can you actually make your own freeze-dried coffee at home?
Quick and short answer to that is yes. You can freeze-dry your own brew and have your own instant coffee whenever you need it. The best part is that you can do this in two ways.
This is going to be expensive, which defeats the purpose of freeze-drying. But if you love your brand, this is going to be worth it.
Don’t worry if you see bubbles. If you’ve ever tried freeze-drying food with high sugar content, you’ll notice that they form bubbles. This is actually a great way to know if your favorite brew is loaded with sugar or not.
Storing coffee is as easy as you would other food items. The only difference is that you have to keep it away from moisture more than the rest.
To store, scrape off the freeze-dried brew from the trays. Don’t worry about breakage. The best way to know if you did it right is when the product crumbles almost into powder.
If you’re going to store it for later use – like 3-5+ years down the road or more, go for Mylar bags. These bags are impervious to gases, but it’s still good to throw in an oxygen absorber. You have a freeze-dried product protected from oxygen, humidity, and light. Heat, not so much. So keep the bags in a room with temperatures no higher than 72°F (22 °C). Although the bags help keep moisture away, it’s best to keep the humidity below 40%.
You can also use mason jars, as long as you have a vacuum sealer. Just like with a Mylar bag, keep the mason jars away from heat, moisture, and light.
It can last for 20+ years unopened and in ideal conditions. If you ever decide to open a bag, the theory is that it’s still good to go for 10 years. That is, as long as it’s dry. When it gets wet, that’s when you’ll have problems.
Will the taste change after the storage bag or container’s been opened? Yes, it could. Technically speaking, most of the flavorful coffee notes stay in the brew for 1-3 weeks. Once oxidation sets in, the flavors and aroma start to break down. This is why it’s very important to keep your stash air-tight. And if there’s a freeze-dried food that needs O2 absorbers bad, this would be it.
This is a different matter altogether. It’s hard to freeze dry coffee beans because they are one of the planet’s most permeable and absorbent materials. Throw it in your freeze dryer and it will get the aroma and taste of the last food you processed. Unless you want onion-flavored coffee, or a cup of joe that has a hint of burger or lasagna to it.
Don’t worry if your freeze dried coffee doesn’t smell as good as other brands. True that freeze drying locks in flavor, texture, and even aroma. Still, a bit of aroma gets lost along the way. Companies “bring back” the lost aroma as they prepare the brew for packaging.
Although it’s possible to freeze dry coffee at home, it won’t have the same aroma as store-bought instant coffee. It’s definitely not a thing for you if you’re a coffee connoisseur. But if you’re coffee insecure and need your fix yesterday, trust that this won’t matter.
Have you ever tried freeze-drying coffee? What method did you use? What was the outcome? Share your triumphs and challenges with us!