Do you finish your coffee beans within 15 days of the roast? The best coffee shops won’t sell you coffee that old, because that’s when it gets stale. Y’know… tasteless, lifeless coffee without the fresh “pop” of flavor.
This is where the best coffee storage containers are a lifesaver. These clever devices trap the air around your coffee to make the staling process last way longer… and means your expensive coffee stays fresh for longer, too. We’ve rounded up a couple of great options that are easy to use, but also won’t break the bank.
Best coffee storage container
Our #1 choice: Airscape
Largest size container: OXO Good Grips
Comes with CO2 diffuser: Coffee Gator
Best budget option: Liuruiyu
The Airscape by Planetary Design is our number one choice for a coffee storage container. This container has a patented design that removes oxygen — a major cause of staling with coffee beans —from the container when sealing.
And because it’s patented? You won’t see this in any other container.
Here’s how it works… You have a seal (which is separate from the lid) that you push down inside the canister and onto your coffee beans. This forces excess air out, and you even hear a “swoosh” (Planetary Design’s word, not mine) of the air coming out. Click the link to see a short video that demonstrates it.
The Airscape was clearly designed with coffee in mind, which is why the lid is clear so you can see at a glance how many beans you have left.
It also comes in a range of snazzy colors like brushed steel or candy apple red. All done with top-of-the-line enamel paint on a stainless steel frame so it’s gonna look sleek. And the whole thing is BPA-free and was made in the USA.
|Size options||32/64 fl.oz (0.5/1 lb)|
|Unique features||Sucks out all the air|
The OXO Good Grips offers a larger size than other coffee storage containers. A typical size might be 1/2lb (225g) or 1lb (450g) because they are standard sizes for bags of coffee beans. But if you want a larger size? The OXO Good Grips is lets you store a massive 2lbs of coffee in its 4 qt / 128 fl.oz storage space.
It’s perfectly airtight too, of course. A nice touch is that when you push down the lid, you get a satisfying “pop” that lets you know your coffee is sealed.
The OXO, unlike other coffee containers, is a rectangular shape which stacks onto itself. So you might find it much easier to fit in kitchen cupboards, especially if you’re buying more than one.
Lastly, the case is transparent, so it’s super simple to see how much you have left.
|Size options||8 options (0.5 – 4 qt)|
|Material||Plastic + Stainless Steel Lid|
|Unique features||Transparent case, large size.|
The Coffee Gator has something I’ve not seen on any other storage container, a CO2 diffuser. This little device is kind of like a filter that keeps oxygen out (as that makes coffee stale) but releases carbon dioxide. The reason it needs to do this is coffee beans trap a lot of CO2 during the roasting process. Although, it’s not been fully established how well this works yet…
Still, this container keeps an airtight seal around the coffee using a latch mechanism, so you can really feel how tight the seal is that the lid makes.
Another hi-tech gizmo with the Coffee Gator is a date tracker on top of the canister. You can set this date so you know the roast date of your coffee, or when you’d like to drink it by (so it’s at its freshest). This means no messing around with setting stuff on your phone, and you can throw the packaging that has the roast date on it away, too.
The futuristic design comes in colors of gray, silver or black. And you even get a cute (and matching!) stainless steel scoop to dig out your coffee beans with.
|Size options||Three (11/16/22 oz)|
|Unique features||Date wheel, CO2 diffuser, stainless steel scoop|
The Liuruiyu is a cheap storage container that will work for those on a budget. Of course, it still provides a perfect airtight seal to make sure your coffee stays fresh for longer.
Rather than a funky gizmo, this coffee container uses a food-grade silicone sealing ring to create a seal. And even though it’s cheaper, the lid still fits nicely on and is easy to handle.
The design is lovely, with a glass exterior that lets you see how many coffee beans you have left, and a bamboo lid.
Because these containers are designed for more than just coffee, you have a range of different size options. And you can chose to go with a circular or rectangular design, whichever you think fits your storage space better.
Lastly, even though this is a budget option, the materials are all BPA-free. Nothing you need to worry about there.
|Material||Glass with bamboo lid|
|Unique features||Cheap, lots of size options.|
Coffee Storage Container Buyer’s Guide
When do coffee beans start getting stale?
Coffee beans go stale soon after being roasted, with the peak flavor and freshness going after 15 days or so. After 30 days, they are considered fully stale and lacking freshness, although they are still perfectly drinkable.
For a well-managed coffee shop, this amount of time is plenty. But if you’re buying coffee beans for use at home, it’s not much time to get through a bag of coffee beans for your average drinker. This is why how you store coffee beans is crucial…
How to store coffee beans
To store coffee beans so they stay fresh for as long as possible, we need to prevent four possible issues coming up. They are heat, light, moisture and air.
The first three can be avoided by storing your coffee beans in a dark, room temperature cupboard. The last factor, air, is why it’s so important to keep your coffee beans in a sealed, airtight container. If you need them to stay fresh as long as possible, that is.
The reason is that oxygen molecules in air interact with the compounds in the coffee. It’s oxidation, the same thing as rust, basically. And you need to stop this happening to to keep your coffee aromatic and fresh.
The following graphic gives a good insight into how storing coffee beans can help. I feel like I should say that it gives a good general idea, but it’s not perfect. I think it’s someone guessing rather than based on any science.
So the number one quality to look for in a storage container is that it’s airtight. Or vacuum sealed. Whatever you want to call it. Every option in this article does that, and I’ve tried to differentiate them by their other unique features.
How much longer does a coffee storage container keep coffee fresh?
Let’s get one thing out the way, coffee storage containers aren’t going to make your beans last forever. Or even for very long. After only 30 days from the roast date, even in perfect conditions, most people will notice a drop in freshness and flavor. What you’re trying to do is keep it at 30 days and not 3 days.
So the coffee storage containers in this article will give you the best conditions for storing coffee (so long as you remember to keep them in a dark, cool place). And that means 15-30 days of peak freshness.
Do I need a storage container for my coffee?
You buy preground (Yes)
If you buy preground coffee, then an airtight storage container is a must. Preground coffee goes stale very fast. We’re talking most of its freshness is gone within a day. An airtight container will buy you some extra time to keep that freshness locked in.
Of course, if freshness is really important to you, then you’ll want to invest in a quality coffee grinder so you can grind it fresh every time you brew.
You buy fresh high-quality coffee beans (Yes)
Coffee storage containers are designed to keep high-quality coffee fresh for longer. So they’re really aimed at people who shell out the dinaro on decent coffee. If that’s you, then maybe you’ll enjoy seeing the good stuff stay fresh.
You buy green/unroasted coffee beans and roast yourself (Yes)
A great reason to get a good storage option for your coffee beans is if you buy them green/unroasted. Green beans are often kept for longer periods before they are roasted, so need somewhere to go. And green beans can go off, too. In fact, thet are very susceptible to mold. A vacuum-sealed environment can go a long way to ensuring they stay in tip-top condition.
You buy beans without a roast date (No)
Buy cheap coffee beans? The stuff they sell at the grocery store that doesn’t have a roast date on it or anything… Well, your coffee beans are stale anyway. No containers are gonna make that stuff fresh. Check back in when you’ve made the switch to fresh roasted coffee.
You’re inexperienced with making coffee at home (No)
There’s no point investing in a coffee storage container until you need it. Still in your coffee noob stage? I’d focus on buying and brewing quality fresh roasted coffee, and just try to drink it in the first few weeks after you bought it. Walk before you can run. That kinda thing.
Can you store coffee in a freezer?
Coffee beans can be stored in a freezer for months while keeping the same freshness, so long as an airtight container is used.
I used to have a different opinion on this, by the way. And I actually used to tell people it was a waste of time. I’d heard things that made sense to me like oils separating and condensation being a problem. That kinda stuff.
So let’s look at the evidence. Hopefully, this can convince anyone else who’s doubtful that you can actually store coffee beans in a freezer.
Here’s an astonishingly exhaustive and in-depth blind taste trial from Home Barista.
To save you a few pages of reading, they work out that so long as the container is airtight and the coffee is fresh (i.e. recently roasted) then freezing has no noticeable impact on taste. They reckon a freezer can offer an extra 8 weeks of freshness in total. Not bad.
Another vote for freezing coffee beans comes from Scott Rao in his book Everything but Espresso. I don’t have his book to hand, but from memory, he spends some time on the subject of freezing coffee beans. He agrees with the other source, too. It works.
Do bear in mind that while it seems like using a freezer works, you still need an airtight container. The lack of oxygen is crucial, however you want to store your coffee.
What else can you store coffee in?
Coffee is best stored in containers with an airtight seal, so let’s look at a few options.
A ziploc bag seems like it provides an airtight seal, but actually it doesn’t. You can tell because you can smell what’s inside. It’s more correct to say that ziploc offers a watertight seal, which isn’t as useful for coffee beans.
Most home storage containers like tupperware fall into this category, too. To properly store coffee beans and maximise their freshness, you need a proper airtight seal.
A mason jar is airtight, or at least it’s supposed to be. The problem with mason jars is they are not 100% reliable in making an airtight seal. Also, there’s not an easy way to check.
It’s actually quite difficult to find something with a reliable airtight seal, and chances are you don’t have one in your kitchen already. And this is why coffee storage containers are so popular.
Do I need a CO2 valve in my coffee storage container?
A CO2 release valve — also called a CO2 diffuser — is a one way filter that releases carbon dioxide but doesn’t let oxygen in. The picture below is of one from a large bag of coffee beans I bought.
The idea is you remove the gases from your coffee beans to stop them going stale, and carbon dioxide is a gas emitted from the coffee itself.
Do you need it for fresher coffee? I think the evidence points to no.
They allow the CO2 inside the bag that is released by the (fresh) coffee to escape without letting oxygen in. They work, but they don’t provide any benefit to freshness.
CO2 is emitted from coffee beans, sure. It comes from the roasting process. But the reason oxygen is a problem is beause of its chemical structure is highly reactive — the reason rusting happens from oxygen. Carbon dioxide doesn’t have the same effect.
Here’s an excellent article on one of the coffee containers that didn’t make my list: the Friis Coffee Vault. The summary? A CO2 valve is little more than a marketing gimmick.
Here’s some more reading if you’d like: CO2 venting is not necessary or desirable.
I know that the jury’s still out on this one to some degree. At least, people still argue about it. But I remain unconvinced.
With all that said, I’ll remind you that the Airscape by Planetary Design is our number 1 choice here. It’s got that perfect airtight seal that’ll keep your coffee beans fresh as long as possible. And the cool “swoosh” thing when you put the coffee in. What’s not to love?
Interested? Click here to check out the latest price and reviews of the product.
Great blog, nice content, good read and informative.