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Sep 16, 2010 03:09 PM

Coffee Canister

What's the best airtight coffee canister to store coffee beans?

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  1. My husband stores his freshly ground coffee in a Gianni storage jar by Alessi.. he uses their smallest size one as it requires him to freshly grinfd his beans on a regular basis. He's had it for almost 8 years. The seals varied a little bit from jar to jar so he had to test a few but eventually find one with an extremely tight fit which is the one he bought.

    3 Replies
    1. re: SeoulQueen

      Thanks for your reply! I love the way these look but I think I'd prefer one that isn't clear and that's all I can find in this brand.

      1. re: hhicks

        Yeah they are clear so you can see Gianni "hanging on" when you put the lid on - it's the whole point of the design. If you want something non-see through, try the Baba kitchen box by Alessi.. it's stainless steel. There is also mediterraneo by Alessi - it comes with a hermetic seal on the lid and although it is a glass jar, there is a coral pattern on it that obscures most of the glass. I definitely like the Alessi products as their designs are so different and unique.

        1. re: SeoulQueen

          Alessi has some cool products. I just checked out their website and they definitely have some things I like. Thank you for your help!

    2. You'll be ahead if you pull a vaccuum on those beans.

      If you already have one of the Vac-U-Vin wine bottle suction pump doodads, the same company makes various sizes of heavy acrylic cannisters that accept the rubber stoppers. Mine work great not only for storing coffee, but also marinating.

      1. hhicks: "What's the best airtight coffee canister to store coffee beans?"

        I am going to write something that is only half facetious, and I hope that you do not regard it as condescending; I do not mean it to be condescending.

        The best airtight container to store coffee beans is the one that the roaster employs up to the moment before roasting the beans.

        Once the beans come out of the roaster, they start to go downhill -- yes, they do need to de-gas -- and so the trick is to get them as soon as possible after roasting, and do what can be done at home to stop the bleeding. If you buy beans at any major supermarket chain, chances are they are two or three weeks out from roasting, and the damage largely already has been done.

        If you get freshly roasted beans, however -- no more than 48 hours out of the roaster -- the best airtight container is in the bag that you brought them home from the roaster in, itself placed inside a sealed-top plastic freezer bag that you then put inside your freezer. Not your refrigerator, your freezer.

        Here is the routine that we follow, and even some of the regulars at regard us as extreme; be warned.

        We purchase whole bean coffee at the site of the roaster (Kobos Company, NW Vaughn and 24th Avenue in Portland, Oregon), no more than one pound at a time. The coffee there is generally less than 24 hours out of the roaster. When we get home, we decant about one-third of the pound of the whole bean coffee into a bag from a previous purchase that we keep inside a ceramic gasket-top airtight container on the counter, to be the source for actual brewing of coffee. The ceramic countertop container is relatively small, large enough to accommodate the one-third pound inside a bag, but without a lot of free oxygen inside the container. One-third pound lasts us about three days, so the coffee that we drink in the morning is rarely more than three days plus time from roaster to sale away from being roasted.

        The other two-thirds pound, when we return home from the roaster, stays inside the roaster's lined bag,. from which we exhaust as much air as possible, them put inside a "zip lock" freezer bag, from which we, again, evacuate as much air as possible, before throwing the double-bagged coffee into the freezer.

        When the first third of a pound of coffee in the countertop canister has been consumed, we remove the bag from the freezer and decant another one-third pound of coffee into the bag that is kept inside the countertop canister, again evacuating as much air as possible from the bag that was in the freezer, putting it back inside the plastic freezer bag, evacuating air from the latter, before we seal it and throw it back in the freezer. The one pound bag of whole beans that we bring home from the roaster gets opened just twice, and then only long enough to decant one-third of the pound to another bag, until we get down to the last third of the pound. And until it is within a day or two of being ground for brewing, all of our roasted coffee is kept as whole beans, double bagged, inside the freezer.

        17 Replies
        1. re: Politeness

          Thanks, but I'm just looking for countertop storage for my beans since I grind them fresh every morning.

          1. re: hhicks

            hhicks: "I'm just looking for countertop storage for my beans since I grind them fresh every morning."

            Of course, we grind ours fresh every morning also. Once ground, the beans are used immediately -- if not sooner -- to brew coffee.

            But if you store a whole pound (or more) of beans in a countertop canister, then it matters not at all how airtight the seal of the lid of the canister is. Every time you open the canister, you introduce a whole lot of new oxygen-rich air into the bean storage -- much more air than ever would seep in through even a loose-fitting lid if you did not open the canister.

            Of course, if you do not open the canister to get to the beans, you cannot brew coffee. What our elaborate procedure does is reduce the number of times the beans get exposed to a whole new whoosh of oxygen-rich air. It is the oxygen that stales the beans.

          2. re: Politeness

            What you say makes sense, Politeness. But isn't the ultimate going to be pulling raw beans out of the freezer and roasting them daily? Is this practical for the coffee gourmet to do at home in small batches?

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Not at all. Just roasted coffee beans need at least 24-48 hours to de-gas. If you do roast your own, it is not necessary to keep the green beans in the freezer. The greens should be stored in the bag they came in. They will last for up to 15 months.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                kaleokahu: "isn't the ultimate going to be pulling raw beans out of the freezer and roasting them daily?"

                Poser has answered the daily _roasting_ question. But how about the intermediate step: wouldn't it make sense to throw the whole pound of whole beans into the freezer, and daily measure out just enough for that day's brew?

                No again, and here is why: when you pull the raw beans out of the freezer and open the bag or other container where they have been kept, at the same time you let a lot of fresh room temperature air into the bean container. Not only does that air contain oxygen, it also likely contains moisture that condenses on the frozen beans. The idea is to reduce to a minimum the number of times any given bean gets exposed to a new charge of air and then goes back to storage.

                1. re: Politeness

                  Geez, maybe one should grow coffee bushes in one's living room!! or follow a Civit cat around plucking up the beans from the cat's poop!!

                  1. re: Politeness

                    Well, if poser's answered the daily roast question, I assume the just-roasted beans can de-gas pretty much in any airtight container or under a vaccuum. So pardon my coffee ignorance, but whatever that ideal gas-off time is (and I'm sure you'll tell us), why don't you roast your own daily, and vacuum seal the next (or 2nd) day's supply? That way you open ONCE and have the optimal freshness.

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      We used to have the same kind of debate back in the day (late 1980's, early 1990's) when the Baby Boomers were seriously into high-end stereo systems. In the attempt to get the perfect reproduction of recorded performances into their living rooms, some people were making their living rooms into performance venues, useless (because the equipment and the precisely positioned listening chairs got in the way) for the usual purposes for which most of us have living rooms.

                      Among the pleasures in life is drinking a good cup of freshly brewed coffee, but when life itself comprises nothing more than brewing the next cup of coffee, then the master has become the servant, and the servant the master.

                      1. re: Politeness

                        Of course you are right about coffee and its making servants of folks. I was mostly tweaking hhicks over the holy "open the least number of times" grail. If you're talking with your spouse/lover ABOUT coffee OVER coffee, I think something's wrong.

                        I, too, remember those "high fidelity" debates, and it's a good analogy. But I remember then from earlier decades...

                  2. re: kaleokahu

                    Just had to say - NOT picking a fight, but rather, spreading the joy - I roast probably 3 times a week for myself, with an air popper. Best food geek thing that I do for myself. And since it's always so fresh, mine just live in a mason jar. Life doesn't have to be hard!

                    1. re: Vetter

                      As long as the roasting is part of the fun, that is so very cool. But, Vetter, you must have a pretty powerful vent fan or a very fragrant kitchen. I know that you cannot be roasting with the windows open all the time on the Olympic Peninsula. :-)

                      1. re: Vetter

                        Vetter, DO TELL! I have a kitschy old air popper, and I WONDERED if it would roast coffee, even in a 1/2-ass way. PLEASE POST ANOTHER THREAD and tell us how you do it. I read somewhere there's a pop, and then a second one, and you want to stop after that. Is that right? I SO want to be rid or Corporate Coffee!

                        If it's like most things in food, home-done is better. Is it true for coffee?

                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          Kaleokahu: "PLEASE POST ANOTHER THREAD and tell us how you do it. I read somewhere there's a pop, and then a second one, and you want to stop after that. Is that right? I SO want to be rid or Corporate Coffee! If it's like most things in food, home-done is better. Is it true for coffee?"

                          Yes. It is a specialized topic where people who do it all the time are very passionate.

                          1. re: Politeness

                            Thanks, but Dear God, protect me from another board addiction.

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              All well and good, but if you are interested in home roasting, you will learn there, not here.

                          2. re: kaleokahu

                            "If it's like most things in food, home-done is better. Is it true for coffee?"

                            Not necessarily. It will more than likely be fresher, (which is half the battle) but better? With the major increase in micro- roasters popping up through out the country, really great coffee is available just about everywhere.

                            Where do you live? Maybe Politeness or some other coffee enthusiast can put you in the right direction.

                            1. re: poser

                              I divide my time between Ballard in Seattle; Mt. Vernon, WA; and Kapa'a Hawai'i

                    2. Of course, everything Politeness is saying is completely true, but, in the spirit of the original question, and for those of us who aren't willing to go to quite those extremes, I like this device very much:


                      5 Replies
                      1. re: trombasteve

                        This is the what I'm looking for. I appreciate the response to my question!

                          1. re: hhicks

                            I have (well, until my mom stole it!) one of the liquid planet insulated steel French presses. I'm hard on stuff, and it kept looking good. I finally got it after I broke my eight billionth glass French press. Just FYI in case you're ever looking.

                            1. re: Vetter

                              Oooh, nice! I'll have to bookmark this thread, I too have broken too many glass french presses!

                          2. re: trombasteve

                            Thanks for the link. I just called them to ask which size holds a pound of beans: the 64 oz canister.

                          3. Not having read this entire thread, and coming very late to the conversation, the most reliable way to store coffee beans in an airtight container is with one of those food vacuum sealers. I gather you (or others) are interested in roasting your own as well. If that's the case, divide the coffee beans in appropriate amounts for one roasting. If you freeze the pouch(es) of beans, allow them to sit long enough to defrost completely before roasting OR grinding. Enjoy.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Caroline1

                              Are the Oxo pop-up canisters a good choice for storing coffee beans? They come in all these different shapes and sizes, and one of them has a packaging that show cases coffee beans so presumably that's the best one to store coffee beans.

                              Now, I know the see through nature of the Oxo pop-up containers will be a problem since it will expose the beans to light. But, I store my coffee beans in the pantry, where they aren't exposed to light, so that won't be a problem.

                              But, I'm curious if there's any difference from the storage vessel- from plastic to ceramic to glass or whatnot- will do to the beans.

                              1. re: hobbess

                                hobbes: "Now, I know the see through nature of the Oxo pop-up containers will be a problem since it will expose the beans to light."

                                Over the time frame that one can reasonably store coffee beans on a counter, light is no problem at all. What robs roasted coffee of its freshness is oxygen, not light. In a real sense, coffee rusts -- combines with oxygen -- but even a year's exposure to sunshine will not amount to a hill of beans (pun intended).

                                When you decant coffee beans into any canister, you decant a slug of room air, about 20 percent of which is oxygen, along with the beans right into the canister. The oxygen component of that air immediately will combine with the chemicals of the coffee beans start to make the beans stale, but over time the limited supply of that oxygen inside the canister will be depleted and the staling will slow down. Then you open the canister to scoop out some beans in order to make a pot of coffee, and fresh new room air rushes in along with your coffee scoop, and the staling process accelerates again with the new oxygen inside the container.

                                Therefore, the only rational strategy for maintaining bean freshness (assuming that you start with fresh beans at the outset) is:

                                1. Do not purchase more roasted coffee than you will be consuming over the following week or ten days; if you purchase too much, freeze (not merely refrigerate) the excess, double bagged, in the freezer until you have exhausted your room-temperature supply.

                                2. Open the room temperature container where the beans are stored as infrequently as possible, and leave it open only the minimal time necessary to get out the beans you need for the brew that you are making at the time.

                                As long as the lid on the container is reasonably tight, it is risibly silly to worry about the tightness of the seal on the lid. There will be minimal circulation of air in and out of any capped container UNTIL the lid is opened, and then, when the lid is opened, there will be a LOT of air circulation in and out of the container.