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If you’re at all serious about enjoying good coffee, freshness is of absolute importance. And unless you’re immediately buying and grinding freshly roasted beans, it’s vital that you store your coffee beans in the best coffee container you can, in order to properly maintain that freshness.
The right container for storing freshly roasted coffee will keep your beans’ flavour at its peak. A subpar container will allow your beans to age and fade faster than you want.
We think the Bean Envy Airtight Coffee Canister is the best container for storing coffee.
Here’s their promotional video, which is straight-up coffee porn, right down to the soundtrack:
When weighing all attributes, Bean Envy comes out on top. But it’s not the only quality option on the market. While the Bean Envy gets our nod, we’ve also picked out six other excellent coffee containers.
The 5 best coffee containers
After trying out a number of coffee canisters, these are the five we recommend:
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Any of these canisters would be a worthy addition to your kitchen or office, depending on your preferences and needs.
Why freshness matters in coffee
There’s a reason that roasting coffee is such an art form. The process is a complex, multi-step operation that causes major changes to both the surface and interior of a coffee bean.
Those changes give coffee its distinct flavour, but the reactions that take place during roasting begin to break down rather quickly. Over time, coffee beans become sapped of their flavour, leaving dull, tasteless coffee.
What happens when coffee gets old
A number of factors cause coffee beans to “get old” and lose flavour.
A clear container full of coffee beans might look great in your kitchen, but it’s not good for long-term coffee storage.
Another cause of deterioration in coffee beans is contact with moisture. The water causes chemical reactions with the bean, destroying the delicate flavours.
All living creatures need oxygen, but roasted coffee beans most certainly don’t. Oxygen also reacts chemically with the bean, and over time will ruin the flavours imparted by the roasting process.
You’ll eventually heat up your coffee up when you make it, but until then keep your beans away from high temperatures. You won’t be able to keep them completely away from oxygen, and the chemical reactions caused by oxygen simply speed up at higher temperatures. If you’re wondering what temperature to store coffee at, the ideal would be room temperature or slightly lower.
How to store coffee beans
When it comes to storing coffee, keep a few simple rules in mind:
- You want an opaque container, so that light doesn’t hit the beans.
- You want an air-tight container, to limit the amount of oxygen and moisture that come in contact with the beans
- You want to store your coffee in a cool environment, to prevent excess heat degrading the quality of your beans.
How long can you store coffee?
If you store your coffee beans properly, they should be good for at least two weeks. That’s not to say you can’t drink it past that point, but the flavours begin to lessen past that threshold.
Should you store coffee beans ground or whole?
Ground coffee won’t last quite as long.
The delicious flavours we love about coffee come from a combination of the oils in the coffee bean and the numerous chemical reactions that take place when the bean is roasted. Those chemical reactions will begin to degrade over time, and the oils will dissipate.
One of the big factors in coffee beans losing their flavour is exposure to oxygen. Oxygen reacts to create new chemical compounds in a process called oxidization, changing and diminishing a coffee bean’s flavour.
For this reason, storing coffee beans after you grind them is a bad idea. The grinding process exposes more of the surface area of the beans to air, which means the flavours will break down faster.
Ideally, you want to store freshly-roasted coffee beans in an air-tight container, grinding only what you need to make the coffee you’re about to drink.
Storing coffee beans in the fridge or freezer
Hey, if we need to keep coffee beans cool, we should store them in the fridge or freezer, right? Wrong! This would be a mistake, unless you take Dr. Molly Spencer’s advice on how to store coffee beans in the freezer.
Dr. Spencer recommends an airtight container even if your beans are going in the freezer. If you toss them in the refrigerator or freezer in the paper bag from the coffee roaster, they’ll accumulate moisture and possibly take on the tastes of other food items stored with them.
Coffee container checklist
The ideal coffee container will feature:
- An air-tight seal that keeps unwanted oxygen out.
- An opaque surface that shields coffee beans from the light.
- Sufficient space to store a full standard-size 16 ounce bag of coffee.
- An attractive aesthetic that fits with a modern-looking kitchen or office coffee area.
Our favourite coffee containers
Bean Envy Coffee Canister
The Bean Envy Airtight Coffee Canister is virtually flawless. It has an opaque surface that keeps direct light away from your beans, a reliable locking airtight seal to minimize oxygen exposure, and it holds a 16-ounce bag of coffee.
On top of that, the Bean Envy container has a sleek, attractive, modern look that will fit in with many kitchen aesthetics. The Bean Envy also comes with a coffee scoop that matches its appearance and works well with the size of the container. A freshness dial built into the lid helps you keep track of how long your beans have been in storage.
Airscape Coffee and Food Storage Canister
Another quality coffee container is the Airscape Coffee and Food Storage Canister. Like the Bean Envy, the Airscape has an air-tight seal and an opaque surface to protect the freshness of your coffee. If you’re looking for a canister that will get the job done, the Airscape will does so without many frills.
It’s a versatile container as well—good for storing other food items. One particularly nice feature of the Airscape is that it features a clear plastic inset on the lid, which lets you peer into the container to check the level without having to open it.
Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister
If your biggest priority in a coffee container is the air-tight seal, the Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister might be your top pick. The Fellow Atmos has the strongest and most air-tight seal we could find.
The Fellow Atmos features a screw-on lid, and a green indicator that will let you know when you’ve achieved an air-tight seal. It features a release button for opening the container up again. If you’re looking to stretch the limits of how long you can keep coffee beans, the Fellow Atmos may be your best pick.
The downside to the Fellow Atmos is that, depending on your usage patterns, the vacuum seal could be overkill. Sometimes you just need a standard air-tight seal, and the Fellow Atmos might seem to be a bit much.
Primica Stainless Steel Coffee Canister
One of the more attractive offerings on the market is the Primica Stainless Steel Coffee Canister. While the Primica offers many of the same benefits as other entries on the list, it does so with a particularly nice-looking design.
In addition to the opaque container surface and air-tight seal, the Primica features a venting system on its lid which vents off carbon dioxide—a gas produced by coffee. It also comes with a scoop that fits with the look of the canister.
The knock on the Primica is that the seal isn’t quite as good as some of the other entries, especially over time. This may be due to the carbon dioxide venting system. For more long-term storage, the Primica isn’t an ideal choice, but if you want a high-quality, nice-looking canister, it’s a fine candidate.
Friis 75051 16oz Stainless Steel Coffee Vault Canister
The Friis Stainless Steel Coffee Vault Canister is a dependable choice. While it might not quite measure up to the quality of a few of the other canisters, the Friis is reasonably priced and gets the job done.
Featuring an air-tight seal and opaque exterior, the Friis will keep your beans fresh. It comes with a plastic scoop, and it has a characteristic stainless steel look that, while not quite as nice as a few others, isn’t unappealing or jarring.
For any given feature, there’s a coffee canister that probably eclipses the Friis. But there’s no area where this one is exceptionally weak, either. And with a bargain price, you’re getting quality for a decent deal.
Our choice for best coffee container
In the end, any of these coffee containers may suit you depending on your personal situation. But our pick for best coffee container is the Bean Envy Airtight Coffee Canister.
This canister has a nice aesthetic look, provides an air-tight, dependable seal to ensure freshness, and comes with accessories to complete the package.