Should coffee be vacuum sealed?

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
ojaw

#1: Post by ojaw »

Possibly controversial, but should a canister be vacuum sealed?
Most roasters sell their stuff in bags that allow for off-gassing and I assume recommend leaving the beans there until used.
My beans have usually been recently roasted, like a week previous or so. I go through a small bag (340gm) every week and a half.
I just put the beans in a stainless canister that has a close fitting but not sealed lid.

Moderator note: This discussion was split from Cafelat Robot User Experience so others will more easily find it.

aut0maticdan

#2: Post by aut0maticdan »

ojaw wrote:Possibly controversial, but should a canister be vacuum sealed?
Most roasters sell their stuff in bags that allow for off-gassing and I assume recommend leaving the beans there until used.
My beans have usually been recently roasted, like a week previous or so. I go through a small bag (340gm) every week and a half.
I just put the beans in a stainless canister that has a close fitting but not sealed lid.
Definitely controversial. :)

I kill a 12oz bag fast enough that I don't really bother, but when I did some roasting myself, I would do a light vacuum in a mason jar (via food saver) and then leave the screw-on band loose or off so that gases could still escape. Actually, I didn't do the vacuum seal at all for the first three days, just the loose lid. I think vacuum sealing is more controversial because the reduced pressure may accelerate off-gassing and evaporation, which seems plausible. Mason jars should be in the cupboard away from heat and sunlight.

James Hoffman did a taste test of different storage containers, maybe @shaferdaniel can find one in there that match aesthetics and performs well. I believe he did slightly prefer the vacuum seal variety.

ojaw

#3: Post by ojaw »

aut0maticdan wrote:I believe he did slightly prefer the vacuum seal variety.
Yeah, but after six weeks...
I'd say my coffee improves over the time I go through it, 2.5-3 weeks after roasting by the time all the beans are used up.

shaferdaniel

#4: Post by shaferdaniel »

Ive done a little home roasting with a Behmor so I knew the beans need to off gas a few days, but I had always assumed after a certain point you need to vacuum seal them to keep them fresh. I blow through a pound a week by myself so maybe it doesn't matter, but I think it's fair to say you learn something new EVERY DAY with this amazing community. Another thing to research!

Will check out that link to James Hoffman for the matching canister if it does matter. Thanks fellas.

User avatar
Radio.YYZ

#5: Post by Radio.YYZ »

I go through a batch (1 lbs) in about 22-23 days now that guests are not very frequent.

I start using the coffee 5-7 days post roast (i let it sit in room temperature in jars), as i usually use light roasted coffees.

I do vacuum seal the rest and keep it in fridge and not freezer, i found the freezer changed the coffee too much so i stick to fridge and i find the coffee's aging process gets lengthened.
Good Coffee: Technique/Knowledge > Grinder > Beans > Water > Machine

aut0maticdan

#6: Post by aut0maticdan »

ojaw wrote:Yeah, but after six weeks...
I'd say my coffee improves over the time I go through it, 2.5-3 weeks after roasting by the time all the beans are used up.
I too have had some beans that aged well. This hobby has enough variables to drive you mad. That's why I pretty much just leave my beans in the bag they come in these days and hope for the best. If I buy a large bag, like 2.5 - 5lbs, I freeze and pull out ~12oz at a time into a mason jar.

If it doesn't go well, there is always my next bag!

Nate42

#7: Post by Nate42 »

Here's a James Hoffmann video where he reviewed some different coffee storager canisters. His overall conclusion was that the vacuum based ones were a little better, but the difference wasn't all that pronounced. I personally am in the crowd that goes through a bag fast enough that I don't worry about it. And if I know I am not going to open a bag for a while, I put it straight into the freezer until I am ready for it.

Edit: somehow failed to notice exact same video is posted above, sorry!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0JWuhE8a-w

tennisman03110

#8: Post by tennisman03110 »

Nate42 wrote:Here's a James Hoffmann video where he reviewed some different coffee storager canisters. His overall conclusion was that the vacuum based ones were a little better, but the difference wasn't all that pronounced. I personally am in the crowd that goes through a bag fast enough that I don't worry about it. And if I know I am not going to open a bag for a while, I put it straight into the freezer until I am ready for it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0JWuhE8a-w
Out of curiosity, what's "a while" and do you put bags in a standard freezer?

Also, Milford, NH, ehh? Do you ever get Flight Coffee? I live in NC now, originally from Bedford, and have a subscription with them. I'm wanting to try the bigger bags (2 pounds) for espresso, but not sure how I'd store and keep it fresh.

Nate42

#9: Post by Nate42 » replying to tennisman03110 »

I play it by ear, but if I know I'm not going to open a bag for a week or close to it I will probably put it in the freezer. And yes just a standard freezer although I am sure a deep freeze would be better. I don't take things in and out, I freeze the sealed bag and once I open it it stays out until its done.

For those bigger 2 lb bags, I would recommend dividing it into mason jars and freezing those. I personally don't have that problem since I home roast and supplement with commercial coffee, I don't ever buy a large amount from any one place at a time.

As to Flight Coffee, haven't tried them but I will have to give it a shot, thanks for the tip. Googled them, looks interesting. Also looks like my local coffee shop right down the street carries them.

jpender

#10: Post by jpender »

James Hoffmann's video was lacking in certain ways. For the taste testing he only did it once so the differences he think he perceived may not have held up if he'd repeated the blind tests multiple times. As he admitted, the differences were pretty small. I've done tests like this and even saw a clear pattern after multiple rounds only to find out after performing more that the apparent results were due to chance.

The espresso test he did was interesting in that it seemed more coherent. I'd still prefer to see him do it several times at least because, once again, you could have what appears to be a convincing result by chance alone. But it looked somewhat compelling.

One big problem was that he just stuck the beans in those contraptions and left them there for six weeks. That's not how most people would use a storage container like this. Most people would open them, probably every day. The repeated introduction of oxygen would likely have an effect that James's test wouldn't be able to measure. And as a simple control he could have compared it to just using the bag the coffee came in or maybe a ziplock.

The biggest omission in his tests is to have left out the freezer as an option. It was like was comparing models of skateboards and bicycles for cross country travel but not considering an motorcycle or automobile as alternative.