By Mike Pomranz
Updated June 20, 2016
Credit: © James Kerr

Many coffee lovers will go to great lengths to brew the perfect cup. But new research suggests we all may be overlooking a simple step that can improve coffee no matter how you make it: freezing the beans before grinding.

According to the UPI, researchers Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood and Christopher Hendon made the discovery while looking at the effect of temperature when it comes to grinding roasted coffee. They discovered that chilling the beans led to a more consistent particle size in the grind which in turn led to a better taste. “It will alter the taste, because subtle changes in particle size distributions make a huge difference in rate of extraction,” Hendon was quoted as saying. Colonna-Dashwood added, “I bet we will see the impact of this paper in coffee competitions around the globe.”

Since a more even grind leads to better extraction, not only does the coffee taste better, the researchers also claim you’ll need fewer beans and less time to make a perfect cup. “It could have a major impact for the industry,” said Hendon. “People are trying to produce a very high quality drink with really quite powerful tools and are willing to try new things.”

So just how cold should beans be before they hit the grinder? Apparently, as cold as possible. According to the paper, beans were cooled using three methods: a freezer (-19 degrees Celsius), dry ice (-79 degrees) and liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees). Though all three performed better than the room temperature beans, the coldest batch did best, with the study stating, “The distribution skewness is inversely proportional to temperature,” pointing out that “the biggest change occur[s] between room temperature and −19 °C beans.”

Turns out real coffee snobs keep some liquid nitrogen nearby.