The degradation process slows down by a massive amount when you freeze. The degradation is caused by oils evaporating and volatile compounds escaping. Freezing does a number of things.
Firstly, the lack of moisture in the bean makes it ideal. Most issues with freezing food happens when water freezes and expands and it breaks down the cell walls. That can’t happen in coffee. Secondly, the oils contract into the bean when it’s frozen, protecting them from breaking down. And thirdly, by dropping the temperature, the volatile compounds that give coffee aroma and flavour are prevented from escaping.
Like I said, I read about it in a Scott Rao book (And he’s probably forgotten more about coffee than I’ll ever know) and he tells a story about finding beans he had frozen years previously in his parents house. Instead of tossing them he defrosted and brewed and was amazed at how well they held up. I think it was 4 or 5 years in the freezer.
And it’s as simple as freezing in the unopened bag and defrosting before opening. I suggest you try it yourself.
For what it’s worth I have tried it, but It doesn’t suit what I want as I’ve already said in good quality lightly roasted beans.
Yet again I didn’t say you couldn’t do it. I said most people won’t do it. Think of the thawing chicken analogy.
And yes food degrades slower in a freezer but it still degrades.