Keep Your Beans Fresh With These Coffee Storage Containers
- What Turns Coffee Stale?
- What Is The Best Way To Store Your Coffee?
- 7 Best Coffee Storage Containers To Keep Your Coffee Fresh
- Final Thoughts
- Can I leave my coffee in the bag or container it comes in?
- Is coffee that is purchased pre-ground better than coffee beans?
- What is the purpose of this small plastic chip that I sometimes see in coffee bags?
- Can I keep my coffee in my grinder’s hopper?
- Can I store coffee in the refrigerator?
- Is it possible to preserve coffee in the freezer?
So you go home with your bag of magic beans–let’s be honest, coffee beans are the magic beans of the muggle world–and put them away.
While you may have bought the best, freshest coffee on the market, if you store it in a low-quality or makeshift container, it will be stale long before you can use it all. Stale coffee has an unpleasant, sharply bitter taste. Definitely not the flavorful experience you were hoping for!
Though many people are under the assumption that coffee, unlike other natural food, can’t go bad, it actually has a very finite shelf life. (1)
It is helpful to think of coffee as produce with a seasonal cycle, just like apples, peaches or asparagus.
So when it comes to storage and keeping your beans fresh, what is the best approach?
Invest in a proper coffee container! We promise it is worth the time and money, because without one, you essentially throwing out all the beautiful coffee you just bought. Let’s talk more about why coffee needs protecting and then jump into finding you the best airtight coffee storage container possible.
What Turns Coffee Stale?
The undisputed enemies of coffee in any form are oxygen, ultraviolet (UV) light, humidity and temperature fluctuations.(2)
Oxygen causes oxidation, which robs coffee of its freshness and flavor by drying out the natural oil content of the coffee. The influence of oxygen combined with the beans’ steady release of carbon dioxide is what leaves beans tasting dull.
Ultraviolet light from the sun breaks down the chemical compounds in the coffee which preserve its flavor and quality, leaving it lacking in aroma and taste.
Temperature and humidity fluctuation can disturb the equilibrium of the beans, as with most food, and impact flavor. As we mentioned before, coffee in any form should be stored in a room temperature environment with mild levels of humidity
Time, of course, can also affect the freshness of coffee, particularly if it is not stored well. However, regardless of your storage method, there is a finite amount of time that coffee beans or grounds will be fresh enough to enjoy.
What Is The Best Way To Store Your Coffee?
The best way to keep roasted coffee from going bad is in an opaque, airtight container. Ideally, one that is vacuum-sealed.
Coffee beans can be beautiful, but avoid clear canisters which will allow light to compromise the taste of your coffee.
Now, while the airtight seal is important, an ideal coffee storage container will have a valve that allows the natural CO2 emitted by roasted beans to escape. By allowing the beans to “de-gas,” you are allowing for easier extraction when you are ready to brew. (3)
A little bit of degassing is a good thing, especially when pulling espresso shots. If there is too much carbon dioxide in the beans during brewing, the release of these will disrupt the immersion of the coffee grounds into the water and so hinder extraction.
When it comes to the various forms of coffee, there are general recommended ways to store it.
- Ground Coffee – Pre-ground coffee from a shop can’t go stale, because it already is! Use it right away! As a general rule, only grind as much coffee as you are ready to use right away, so you capture the best possible flavor.
- Roasted Whole Beans – Best stored in a cool, dark place and maintained at room temperature. When stored away from light and oxygen, roasted beans are generally fresh for about 15 days.
- Green Coffee Beans – Place them in an airtight container in a room temperature and in an environment with neutral humidity. Properly stored, green coffee lasts for about a year or even longer. If exposed to air and humidity, green coffee beans can either dry out (low humidity) or grow mold (high humidity).
Related: Best Home Coffee Roasters
7 Best Coffee Storage Containers To Keep Your Coffee Fresh
We highly recommend investing in good coffee-making gadgets such as milk frothers (see our top picks), gooseneck kettles (like these), measuring devices, and containers as they make our coffee-making experiences and the taste of coffees a lot better.
While a mason jar or similar container may do an ‘okay’ job of keeping your coffee fresh, you are still missing out on the best flavor notes lost by not storing it as well as you could. Just as with food preservation, there are good and bad ways to make the coffee last as well as possible.
While there are lots of coffee canisters on the market, they are certainly not all created equal.
Since finding a quality coffee canister requires a bit of research and know-how, we went ahead and did the work for you. Below are our top 7 picks for the best coffee storage containers. Find the one that fits your needs and kitchen aesthetic and show your coffee some TLC.
The OXO Good Grips Pop Container stores coffee in a BPA-free container. It can hold up to 1 pound of whole bean coffee, ground coffee, or pretty much any other dry goods you like.
Coffee is kept safe from air with the simple push-button vacuum seal on the lid of the container. Even with the button on the top, this container is still conveniently stackable, making for easy kitchen or pantry storage. These Pop containers by OXO come in all shapes and sizes, so you can pick up multi-packs for all your food storage needs.
Unfortunately, while these OXO good grips containers certainly don’t allow any air in, they also don’t allow the natural CO2 produced by roasted coffee to escape. Other coffee storage canisters are equipped with a one-way valve to expel the CO2 to keep coffee fresher for longer, so if you don’t buy fresh beans all that frequently, this is not the best option for you. We also wish these containers were opaque, since the clear polypropylene can’t protect coffee from harmful UV rays, so make sure you keep them in a dark place.
The Lovffee Coffee Storage Container features a patented venting system to allow the CO2 naturally released by roasted coffee beans to escape from the canister. At the same time it prevents oxygen from entering and turning your coffee from pure alchemy to a bad-tasting, bitter water.
The classy ceramic Lovffee coffee container holds up to one pound of coffee and comes with a convenient measuring scoop. It is also easy to keep clean since all parts are dishwasher safe.
While we love the aesthetic of the Lovffee and all the colors it comes in, the one-way aeration valve on top does make it impossible to stack. The un-stackable quality of the Lovffee is no biggie, unless you are dealing with less available counter space.
The Coffeevac Coffee Container may look basic, but it is one of the highest-rated coffee storage units on the market today. For people looking for versatile coffee tools, the Coffeevac can also be used to keep other dry foods fresh.
It has a partial vacuum seal to keep coffee fresh along with a pressure-release valve to release any CO2 buildup inside the container. The Coffeevac Coffee Container is airtight and holds up to one pound of coffee, so you can store a whole bag’s worth without worrying about it going stale.
Like the Lovffee Coffee Canister, the Coffeevac Airtight Coffee Container is dishwasher safe, making cleaning and maintenance super-easy. That being said, it is known to crack easily, so take care when cleaning your Coffeevac.
Aside from coming in plenty of color combinations, the Coffeevac is also 100% recyclable.
The sleek, Friis stainless-steel Coffee Vault is well-built canister capable of storing a full pound of coffee beans.
The lid provides an impermeable seal to keep out air while the freshness valve simultaneously allows CO2 to escape. These valves typically last around 2 months before they lose their maximum efficacy. Users can buy replacement valves on the company website.
The combination of stainless steel and BPA-free plastic provide adequate protection from sunlight and look nice in any kitchen. The Friis comes in silver, black, and red and is not washable in the dishwasher, so take a minute to just hand-wash this canister.
The Coffee Gator stainless steel canister features a convenient date wheel on the lid so you can know at a glance how long your coffee will remain fresh.
The canister keeps out air via the secure lid latching system while CO2 is still allowed to escape via a valve on the lid. Unlike some of the other options on this list, the valve on the Coffee Gator has a premium look to match its quality. Coffee Gator recommends replacing the valves every 6 months, with extra valves available for purchase on Amazon.
The Gator stainless steel container protects your coffee from harmful sunlight and comes in plenty of different colors, so you can choose the one that vibes best with your kitchen aesthetic.
This coffee canister is available in sizes small, medium, and large, each capable of storing about a half pound, .9 pounds, and 1.3 pounds respectively. The Coffee Gator also comes with a 30mL stainless steel scoop and a 4 oz. travel coffee canister for convenience.
The Coffee Vault Storage Canister is constructed of high-quality stainless steel, geared toward a lifetime of durability and keeping your coffee fresh.
The opaque, airtight design keeps coffee safe from all sources of light as well as damage from CO2 and oxygen. With a date dial on the lid, the Coffee Vault keeps track of your coffee’s freshness so you don’t have to.
The canister comes with a matching 30mL stainless-steel coffee scoop for convenience.
Despite being incredibly similar in design and price to the Coffee Gator, it does not come in the same variety of sizes and colors. The Coffee Vault is made of silver stainless steel and can keep up to one pound of whole bean coffee or up to 21oz. ground.
The Airscape Coffee Storage Canister features a patented valve system that forces out oxygen and CO2 and then securely vacuum-locks the lid into place. This canister is built to meet every acute need of coffee storage by allowing users to adjust the lid to fit more snugly according to the amount of coffee.
The canister comes in several classic colors and in two size options: 64oz, holding up to 1lb. of coffee, and 32 oz, holding up to ½ lb. The Airscape can also be used to preserve dry food items.
Beyond the airtight lid that fits onto the top of the canister, the Airscape features an internal lid that can be inserted into the container to the exact level of the coffee. This feature and its sleek design has made the Airscape highly-regarded as one of the best tools for secure coffee storage.The top lid is made of clear BPA-free plastic, allowing you to see exactly how much coffee remains in the canister.
While there are plenty of coffee canisters out there claiming to guarantee fresh coffee, many of them are little more than tupperware with a fancy label. While there are dry food containers that do a decent job with coffee, they rarely rank with the canisters we listed here.
We chose to share these 7 coffee containers based on their sound technological foundation in airtight storage and coffee freshness preservation. They are the best of the best! Let us know which one you pick to match your needs and style. You can also send one as a present to your coffee-loving friend!
Regardless of the canister you choose, remember to check the lid to make sure no wayward coffee beans or grounds are lodged there, compromising the vacuum-seal.
No, your coffee will go stale very quickly if stored in its original container. These types of storage containers are meant to keep coffee fresh only for a limited amount of time and may not be airtight. The best way to preserve the flavor integrity of your coffee is in one of the coffee canisters we listed above.
Definitely not. Coffee becomes stale right after grinding, so if you purchase your beans already ground from the supermarket, they are already past their flavor prime and are on the way to being unusable. The best coffee flavor and experience always comes back to a fresh grind, so try to grind just the amount of coffee you need right now.
If you are grinding your coffee at the grocery store or perhaps at your local roastery, you are obviously going to be a bit limited in terms of grind freshness. However, good quality burr grinders don’t have to cost a fortune or take up too much space on your counter top. Aside from guaranteeing you a far better cup of coffee, grinding at home gives you direct control over particle size, and therefore far more freedom to personalize your brew. Check out some of our favorite burr grinders here.
Freshly roasted coffee naturally releases CO2. Those valves make sure that CO2 inside the sealed bag can escape without allowing oxygen to enter.
While it is not inconceivable to keep your coffee in the hopper on your grinder–we hope you are using burr and not blade–we don’t recommend it. Most hoppers are not fully airtight and do not protect your beans from sunlight. The folks at Blue Bottle Coffee agree, pointing out that this practice can also be harmful to your grinder.(4)
…besides causing coffee to go stale more quickly, [storing coffee in your grinder] can also cause oil to build up inside the grinder. Storing it in your grinder doesn’t make sense if you like to drink more than one kind; different coffees will inevitably mix in the grinder, making it harder to adjust to differing grind sizes – Blue Bottle Coffee
Rather than compromising your coffee and maybe even your grinder, we suggest you buy a coffee canister.
No, coffee should never be stored in the refrigerator. As we mentioned before, coffee should be kept at room temperature and mild level of humidity. The cold and varying humidity levels of a refrigerator will absolutely destroy the integrity of the lovely coffee you just bought.
Yes, whole coffee beans can be preserved in the freezer under a few specific conditions. The recommended method is to divide your coffee into small quantities and seal them in airtight freezer bags. The coffee can then be left in the freezer for no more than 1-3 months. If you leave your beans in for longer they are likely to develop freezer burn and will be unusable. If you absolutely have to freeze your beans, make sure to never freeze the same beans more than once!
- Green Coffee Storage. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://legacy.sweetmarias.com/library/green.coffee.issues
- National Coffee Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ncausa.org/about-coffee/how-to-store-coffee
- Tark, S. (2019, April 9). How to Store Roasted Coffee & Prolong Its Freshness. Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2019/04/how-to-store-roasted-coffee-prolong-its-freshness/
- The Best Way to Store Coffee. (2017, March 2). Retrieved from https://blog.bluebottlecoffee.com/posts/how-to-store-coffee
Coffee lover and Dad, on a budget. Since the wishes of my beautiful wife and two charming kids are of course of much higher priority than my own ones, I always keep an eye out for coffee products which give me the biggest bang for the buck!