Freezing roasted coffee is gaining momentum and putting a stop to stale beans once and for all. Ona Coffee explains why age is no barrier to coffee freshness. Imagine going into a café in five years time and asking the barista for a look at the vintage menu of coffees on offer: a 2013 Panama Geisha, Sasa Sestic’s 2015 World Barista Championship (WBC) winning carbonic maceration-processed coffee, or perhaps the number one Brazil Cup of Excellence coffee from 2018 is more to your liking. By traditional standards, consuming such coffee years later would prove stale and lifeless in the cup, but what if they were frozen? It’s a concept Ona Coffee is exploring in order to preserve and extended coffee’s shelf life, and by all accounts, it’s got potential. George Howell saw that early on. He started freezing green coffee in 2001 to help preserve freshness and flavour, and at Re;Co 2017 he presented a series of vintage harvests from 2012 and 2013 to demonstrate how freezing coffee could preserve its integrity, telling the audience “by all standards, these coffees should have been dead and buried”. But they weren’t. They were very much alive.