Best Coffee Storage Containers: 7 options to keep your coffee fresh
You spend hours researching the right coffee brewing method, the optimum water temperature, the perfect coffee grinder, even the most exceptional coffee beans – all with the singular goal of making a flawless cup of coffee.
All of this will be for naught if you don’t have a functioning coffee storage container for your precious beans.
A Coffee Canister. But Why?
The answer to this question can be summed up in one word: Freshness. But let me elaborate. Think of your coffee beans as your tiny little babies – lost in the world without you to care for and protect them. Okay, maybe that’s a bad analogy since you eventually grind them up, but you get the point.
If you want to consistently create that cup of coffee of your caffeine-filled dreams, you need your beans at peak freshness. When you leave your helpless little beans exposed to the open air, they can oxidize. And oxidation is bad, mkay?
You can avoid oxidation by keeping them away from light, moisture, heat, and air. The awesomeness of coffee is a cruel mistress, fleeting and fickle – but you can hold on to the magic by storing it properly.
A Good Coffee Bean Storage Container is CRITICAL
One of the tenets of perfect coffee is to buy high-quality whole bean coffee, store it properly, and then grind right before you brew. This is a crucial step and I can’t emphasize enough how important this is. Ground coffee loses its freshness and flavor many times more quickly than whole coffee beans (ground coffee starts to degrade within half an hour).
All you have to do is follow the coffee commandments:
- Always, always ALWAYS buy whole bean. Upon penalty of bad coffee.
- Buy in small quantities. Less is always more when it comes to coffee. (Yes, it's possible to buy too much coffee – never buy more than you can use in about a week.)
- Store coffee beans in an airtight container. You can find both ceramic and stainless steel vacuum canisters – we’ll get to that in a minute.
- Store your coffee container in a cool and shady place – cupboards or pantries are the perfect places.
OK, So How Should You Store Coffee?
You may have heard or read a lot of different ideas about how to best store your beans – everyone has a theory. Some people store them in the freezer, some in the refrigerator, and some just out on the counter. And some people have those fancy valve bags, while others go old school with paper.
So, what’s the right way? The simple truth is that as long as you avoid the four horsemen of the coffee bean apocalypse (moisture, air, heat, and light), then you’ll be golden.
Should Coffee Be Stored in the Freezer?
The whole point of debating the merits of different containers is preserving freshness, right?
Here’s a little lesson in coffee chemistry: Coffee is hygroscopic – file that word away in your mental Rolodex to whip out next time you’re at the coffee shop, it’s a winner!- meaning that coffee will absorb moisture from the air around it, as well as any odors and tastes in the air.
Most containers aren’t truly airtight, so even if you think you have a good airtight coffee canister, air can still get in. This means putting your poor little beans in the freezer not only puts them in danger of freezer burn, but it also puts them in danger of tasting like that frozen salmon that’s been in your freezer since roughly 2013. And fish flavored coffee isn’t something you want to experience.
But if you do choose to go with the freezer, make sure that the container you use is truly airtight. I’m talking International Space Station airtight. Besides that, also quickly take out what you need, when you need it, and then return it to the freezer. If you leave it sitting out, condensation can form on the beans. Remember, moisture is one of the mortal enemies of coffee bean freshness.
Instead of freezing, what you should do is make the smart choice and buy something that was made with coffee bean storage in mind. The good thing is that they are cheap, portable, and they work!
What To Look For in a (Good) Coffee Canister
So now that you’re in the market for the Fort Knox of coffee storage containers, what should you look for? The 2 most important things to look for are:
- Air tightness – Don’t assume that the more complicated the coffee container is, the better it will be for your coffee’s freshness. If it comes with a user manual akin to the manual for your car, pass it on by.
- Keeping the beans dry – Any coffee container that does this will also protect those precious beans from the perils of light and heat too.
This is how you ensure you will have the freshest coffee, and fresh coffee may just be the harbinger of world peace.
The 7 Best Coffee Storage Containers in 2020
At this point, you may be wondering where you should start in your pursuit of proper storage. What kind of coffee snob coach would I be if I didn’t offer you some options? Here are just a few options:
|Planetary Design Airscape||
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|Tightvac Coffee Vac||
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|Friis Coffee Vault||
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|LOVFFEE Coffee Canister||
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|OXO Good Grips Coffee Pop Container||
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|Coffee Gator Storage Canister||
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Do you want to talk about airtight? The Airscape Coffee Storage Canister might just be the technology they use in the space program. This container has a special valve that forces air out as it locks the lid in place, allowing nothing in or out. The small size (32 oz.) won't hold a lot of beans – about a half pound. So make sure you're getting the bigger size (64 oz.), which holds about a pound of coffee beans.
Warning, putting the lid in upside down will cause issues. Don't do this.
A vacuum sealed coffee storage solution, the Tightvac Coffeevac coffee container takes freshness seriously! Its distinctive vacuum seal design keeps the light and air out while at the same time allowing carbon dioxide from the beans to vent out.
It's very easy to use – one button opens and closes the lid. This coffee container will hold flavor and freshness in for 2+ weeks. The biggest downside is that it's tall and may not fit in all cupboards. (Too tall for ours.)
BeanSafe’s Coffee Storage Solution is another airtight coffee container that keeps the air out while allowing the carbon dioxide to vent. It’ll keep your beans safe from the four horsemen of the coffee apocalypse. It's also BPA free, the valve is dishwasher safe, it comes with a scoop and it holds about a pound of beans.
The downside of the BeanSafe is that the plastic clasps on the lid seem a little brittle. It also does not provide a true vacuum seal as some other containers do.
This stainless steel canister can hold up to one pound of coffee. It has a one-way valve filter to help vent carbon dioxide, which may keep your coffee fresh longer.
But when a product has “vault” in the name, it creates some expectations about airtight seals. Unfortunately, that isn't the case with this coffee container. Because the filter doesn't allow for a completely air-tight seal, this canister is best for people who go through their coffee quickly. To add to that, the carbon dioxide filters need to be replaced on a regular basis and are thus an extra, ongoing cost. We do need to mention that the manufacturer sends you filters for free for up to a year after you register the canister online.
The LOVFFEE Coffee Canister doesn’t just have a catchy name. It’s one of the few ceramic storage solutions on the market that also claims to create a vacuum seal. It has a one-way valve in the lid to vent carbon dioxide and also works to keep light, moisture, heat, and air out.
The great thing about ceramic is that it's also heat resistant, which is super important for freshness. To protect the canister and your countertops it sports a soft silicone base. It comes with a coffee scoop.
Some people have found it difficult to open. And of course, the downside of ceramic is that it can break when you drop it. But it does look beautiful, doesn't it?
Simple solutions have a charm all their own, and the OXO Good Grips Pop Container is utterly simple. Push a button to create an airtight seal, then push it again to open.
The 1.5-quart size can store a pound of coffee, and the entire Pop Container line is designed for easy stacking and storage on shelves and in pantries. The rounded corners are designed for easy pouring; this may or may not be a benefit if you use a scoop to measure out coffee beans onto your scale, but it's a nice feature for many other food-storage uses.
About the only negative of the container is that it's clear, meaning light can still affect your precious beans if you keep the container in the open. The simple solution, again: store it in a pantry or cupboard where light can't get to the beans.
Every container on our list covers the bases: airtight, convenient, many of them (including the Coffee Gator) with one-way valves to vent carbon dioxide from your beans while in storage.
The Coffee Gator goes beyond that: there's a wheel on the lid to track how long your coffee has been in the Gator. So if you're really attentive to how long your beans have been in storage, you don't have to remember – this container will keep track of it for you.
Its stainless steel construction prevents light from damaging your coffee beans, and the vacuum seal protects against both air and moisture. This means all you have to take care of is storing it in a cool part of your kitchen, and you've got all four threats – heat, moisture, oxygen, and light – neutralized.
THE VERDICT: What's The Best Coffee Storage Container?
In the end, we find true air-tight vacuum seals to be the most important characteristic in a coffee storage container. Ceramic or not, all we really care about is freshness. That’s why the winner for us is the stainless steel Coffee Gator Storage Canister.
When you think about the four horsemen of the coffee apocalypse – air, moisture, heat, and light – this helps to thwart three of them. The fourth, heat, is every coffee lover's duty to avoid themselves.
What sets the Coffee Gator apart is the design. Not only does it have a valve to release carbon dioxide and air, but it also allows you to lock the lid down in order to make sure you’re getting the tightest seal possible by forcing all of the air out of the container. The control it gives you over air exposure is what makes it a clear winner in my book.
You may have started drinking coffee out of necessity for one reason or another, but you now drink coffee out of enjoyment. So, don’t sell yourself or your coffee short by failing to store your beans properly!