Freeze-Dried Coffee: Everything You Need to Know

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For most people around the world, drinking a cup of coffee is deeply embedded in their daily routine. Some people prefer fresh grounds for their everyday brew, but others who prioritize convenience typically use instant coffee to get their caffeine fix. Depending on how it’s made, this type of coffee can be freeze-dried coffee. 

But what makes the freeze drying process better? Are there benefits to choosing this type of coffee versus others? Here, we’ll talk about how to freeze dry coffee and everything else you need to know.

What is Freeze-Dried Coffee?

Freeze-dried coffee is essentially instant coffee that’s made through the freeze drying process. If you are not yet familiar with what freeze drying is, it is a three-step method that preserves food by removing a significant amount of moisture. This makes it last much longer while preserving its nutrients and original flavors. Coffee is one type of product that can be freeze-dried and consumed later on, among others. 

Advantages of Freeze-Dried Coffee

While instant coffee can also be made through spray drying, freeze drying coffee has greater benefits. Here are some of them: 

1. Freeze-dried coffee retains flavor

Since coffee beans are not exposed to higher temperatures in the freeze drying method, the original aromatic compounds do not escape. Other elements such as sugars and acids in the coffee beans are also not altered or affected. This ensures that the coffee retains the fullness of its flavor and complexity, with an appealing taste and beautiful aroma.

2. Freeze-dried coffee has a longer shelf life

Freeze-dried coffee is very shelf-stable. It can last for years as long as it is stored properly. To store your freeze-dried coffee the right way, make sure it is placed inside an airtight container away from moisture, heat, and direct sunlight. 

3. Freeze-dried coffee has several important health benefits

Some coffee drinkers may be wondering if freeze dried foods are healthy, including coffee. Coffee is known to have health benefits, such as lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes [*]. Since freeze drying preserves the natural compounds found in the coffee bean, it also retains its health properties. 

4. Freeze-dried coffee is easy to prepare

Freeze-dried coffee is very easy to prepare and requires no equipment such as a coffee maker or a percolator. All you need is hot water and a coffee cup! Freeze-dried coffee is ready as soon as the coffee granules dissolve in the water. Coffee drinkers can also control the strength of their coffee quite easily by adding more granules or water.

5. Freeze drying produces better-quality coffee

Freeze drying allows for the retention of the bean’s original structure so that coffee is ground more uniformly and has a better extraction when brewing. This results in a more consistent cup of coffee each time while minimizing bitter flavors. Freeze-dried coffee also rehydrates better and produces a smoother and less astringent flavor. 

How is Freeze-Dried Coffee Made? 

In this process, a coffee concentrate is first extracted from coffee beans using high pressure and water. The next step is to remove the water from the concentrate by freezing it quickly in a vacuum chamber to avoid the formation of large ice crystals. The coffee is then cut into granules. This is called the freezing phase.

Next is the primary drying phase, which involves raising the temperature slightly so that the water sublimates. Here, ice goes from a solid frozen to a gaseous state. By skipping the liquid phase entirely, it leaves the coffee granules mostly dry.

In the secondary drying phase (also called adsorption), a bit more heat is applied so that any remaining water molecules are turned into vapor. The coffee granules that are left behind are now left with only about 1% to 4% of moisture. 

These three steps all take place under 32°F. Since moisture is removed from the coffee without using heat, most of the valuable flavors and nutritional content in coffee are preserved.

Freeze-Dried Coffee vs. Ordinary Instant Coffee

Instant freeze-dried coffee and ordinary instant coffee share many similarities, but they’re also different in many ways. 

First is the production method. While freeze-dried coffee is made by freezing a liquid product and removing the ice via sublimation, ordinary instant coffee is made by evaporating the water, a process called spray drying.

Second, instant freeze-dried coffee is better in quality since it is able to retain the original flavor. Spray-dried coffee loses some of its flavor and aroma, resulting in a lower-quality coffee powder that can taste more burnt. Furthermore, ordinary instant coffee has a shorter shelf life than freeze-dried coffee. 

While freeze-dried coffee is more flavorful, thanks to the higher concentration of coffee solids, ordinary instant coffee dissolves more easily in water, making it a better option for iced coffee recipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

While we’ve already covered most of the basics of freeze-dried coffee, there may still be a few questions on your mind: 

Is there caffeine in freeze-dried coffee?

Yes, freeze-dried coffee has caffeine. Instant coffees, including those that are made by freeze drying, typically contain slightly less caffeine than ground coffee beans. A brewed cup made with one teaspoon of ground coffee may contain 70 to 140 milligrams of caffeine. The same amount of instant coffee, on the other hand, would only contain about 30 to 40 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the brand.

Does freeze-dried coffee have antioxidants?

Since the components of the coffee beans are mostly preserved in the freeze drying process, there are some antioxidant benefits from having freeze-dried coffee.

How long does freeze-dried coffee last?

Freeze-dried coffee has a shelf life of about three to five years without losing its flavor or aroma. If stored any longer than that, it may begin to taste and smell more dull. 


Even if you’re a coffee drinker who prefers fresh coffee grounds, a pack of instant freeze-dried coffee would still be a great addition to your pantry. Not only will you get an instant cup of flavorful coffee, but you also enjoy the benefits of the freeze drying process, such as longer shelf life and greater nutritional value in a cup! 

Coffee is just one of the few food products that can be freeze-dried. If you have other foods that you would like to freeze dry for personal consumption or for your business, contact Empire Freezing & Drying by calling 973-649-9800 or emailing today.

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