8 Best Coffee Containers that Will Protect Your Coffee Beans

Last update: 05 July 2020

Making a delicious cup of coffee requires two main things — clean water and quality, fresh coffee. While many of us put a world of focus on the coffee we buy, obsessing over our brew method and brew recipe, we rarely think twice about the way we store our precious coffee beans. We sometimes forget that coffee is not just a dried bean — it starts its life as a seed within a cherry-like fruit. Just like a juicy mango or a perfectly ripe peach, coffee has both a “best before“ date and a peak flavor window.

To preserve those blackcurrant and berry notes of a coffee from Kenya, or the earl grey-esque vibes from an Ethiopia Yirgacheffe a good coffee storage container is crucial. But which coffee container is the best? We’ve done the research for you and picked eight best coffee containers on the market, guaranteed to keep your coffee fresh for longer. Our choice – the Airscape coffee canister.

Our Pick
Airscape Coffee Canister
The best coffee storage container

Airscape Coffee Canister

Airscape Coffee Canister

Thanks to its partial vacuum, stainless steel construction, and its ease of use, the Airscape presents itself as an excellent option for keeping coffee fresh for as long as possible. Our top pick, and what a lovely container it is!

$24.15 from amazon

While there are many capable options when it comes to choosing a good coffee storage container — our pick goes to the Airscape by Planetary Design. The Airscape is an excellent option for storing both whole coffee beans and ground coffee. It looks beautiful, is fast, simple and straightforward to use. The Airscape requires no external pump to remove air, nor does it need its valve to be replaced unlike some of its competition.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty — the products — let’s take a look at coffee as a fruit, and why we need to take a few extra steps when storing coffee beans to keep their glorious flavors coming.

We will also give you recommendations on how to choose the best coffee storage container, as well as tips on how to store coffee — regardless of budget, the coffee you drink, and whether or not you have a sweet Barista beard.

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Airtight coffee containersVacuum sealed canisters

Storing Coffee in a Coffee Canister? Why?

Even the best and rarest coffee beans in the world will taste flat and ordinary without correct storage. This is due to a whole host of environmental factors, with the main one being the elixir of life, making up 20.95% of the air we breathe…yes, I’m looking at you, oxygen! Oxygen is vital for most life forms on Earth, including humans. It is also an oxidizing agent and will do no good for our coffee beans. Simply said — oxygen (O2) will cause coffee to stale.

If we manage to lock-out the elements that cause coffee to lose flavor, the freshness of a coffee can be extended quite substantially, from a couple of weeks to at least double that. That’s where the right coffee container is indispensable.

When it comes to containers for storing coffee, the options are aplenty — from budget solutions like keeping coffee its original bag or a simple airtight coffee and sugar canister — all the way through to more hi-tech options like a vacuum coffee canister (link to vacuum section). We will cover all of them.

How Long Does Coffee Stay Fresh?

As a fresh ingredient, and the handsome star of this article, roasted coffee has a peak flavor window — the time in a coffee's life when its delicious flavors and delicate aromas are at their most intense. This peak flavor window, as with any fruit, is quite short. For coffee, this window extends from five until fourteen days after the coffee’s roast date. The coffee’s roast date is usually printed on the bag (if the roast date isn’t printed, run like hell!)

You might be wondering how we arrived at this near ten-day window. What happens outside of this peak flavor period on either end and why? Good question.

Before five days, the coffee is degassing— rapidly releasing CO2 gas that has built-up inside the bean during roasting. Any coffee brewed during this period may brew unevenly, resulting in an unbalanced and harsh cup.

Once five days have passed since roasting, we are in flavor country. These finger-lickin’ good times will last for around ten days, after which the coffee will have had sufficient exposure to oxygen to really begin oxidation: a reaction caused by oxygen in the air which causes the coffee to stale, radically losing many of its aromas and flavors.

It’s good to note that the coffee won’t suddenly lose its flavor after two weeks— it’s more of a downward slope which steepens as time progresses.

Now we know a little about what oxygen alone can do to coffee, we can imagine why an airtight or vacuum coffee bean storage container is preferable to a beautiful handmade ceramic or a glass coffee jar. Specific coffee containers are made to keep oxygen away from the coffee.

So, how to keep coffee fresh? Is this odorless gas and giver of life the only thing we should protect our coffee beans from? No, my friends— oxygen is not alone. Meet its three friends and the four rules of storing coffee![

The Four Rules of Storing Coffee

We’ve just spoken about chaos inducing oxygen, but oxygen isn’t entirely to blame. There are four main environmental culprits at play that contribute to coffee losing its freshness. Oxygen, sunlight, heat and moisture — and all four can wreak absolute havoc on fresh coffee.

Here are a few golden rules when it comes to storing coffee — applying to coffee as a whole, regardless of the chosen storage method.

  • Free of oxygen. Oxygen is the main culprit behind staling, and is, therefore, the biggest issue we face in regards to keeping coffee fresh. Try to keep the storage container as oxygen-free as possible. Ever thought about using a regular sugar container for coffee? Many of them are not truly airtight, making them not the best way to store coffee beans.
  • Away from light. Keep coffee away from direct sunlight. The chosen coffee storage container must be lightproof. Sunlight and UV rays damage the coffee and contribute to the aging process.
  • Away from moisture. Coffee will suck up any moisture that gets near it, so it doesn’t do well under moist, humid conditions. While keeping coffee in a cool place can certainly slow the oxidation process, don’t keep coffee in the refrigerator. Refrigerators provide an incredibly moist environment that doesn’t go down well will our fickle little friend, coffee.
  • Away from heat. Store coffee away from heat. Near an oven or stove are bad places for coffee to be, as are near windows that have warm sunlight pouring through. Room temperature is good.

We have gathered by now that we need to store our coffee in a cool, dry, dark, and oxygen-free environment. Where does such an environment exist in a regular household? Do I need to install some kind of lightproof, NASA grade oxygen-free igloo in my garden?!

While it would extremely cool if you did (yes, pun intended), here are eight storage solutions for keeping your whole coffee beans fresh for as long as possible. As a little bonus icing on the cake, we’ve included a few tips for the grinder-less folk out there who want tips on storing their ground coffee.

Storing Coffee in the Original Packaging

Most coffee comes from the roaster sealed in an air-tight coffee bag that is fitted with a one-way valve. The one-way valve allows CO2 to escape, without letting any oxygen in. Coffee stored in the original unopened bag will stay at its best for two weeks, but can still be tasty up to a month or more after roasting, so long as one sticks to the other rules listed above. Sure, it might not be as good as a specialized coffee storage canister, but as a zero-cost option, it’s pretty great.

Once the bag is opened, it is best to use the coffee within one week.

Tips when storing coffee in the bag

  • When sealing an open bag, press as much of the air out as possible.
  • Consider separating the coffee out— half into an airtight storage container, with the other half left in the bag. This way, only one of the containers is being opened and closed repeatedly at any one time, therefore exposing only half the coffee to fresh oxygen.

Airtight Coffee Containers

While an airtight coffee container won’t create an oxygen-free environment the way a vacuum coffee canister will, it will only allow oxygen in when the container is open.

Tips when storing coffee in an airtight container

  • Use as small a container as possible. The bigger a container is, the more oxygen can fit inside. The more oxygen, the faster the coffee will stale.
  • Airtight storage containers must be lightproof.
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OXO Airtight Coffee POP Container
Simple, clear and affordable coffee container

OXO Airtight Coffee POP Container

OXO Airtight Coffee POP Container

What we love about the Pop, other than its straight-up simplicity and proper airtight seal, is that it is clear and UV tinted— meaning you can see your coffee inside without opening the container, while still keeping the light out.

$20.99 from amazon

The Pop coffee container by OXO is a neat, affordable airtight container with a few really cool features that make it stand out— it is UV tinted rather than opaque, making visible your delicate little coffee beans while still protecting them from sunlight and damaging UV rays. And, it can create a legitimate airtight seal by pressing the button on the lid, keeping your coffee beans fresh for longer.

Its build is solid, with a BPA free plastic body and stainless steel lid. On the downside, some people have had an issue with the button not popping up when pressed, meaning that, depending on how strong the seal is, the beans lay trapped inside (a worse fate I couldn’t imagine).

In case you were wondering, the ‘pop’ in the product’s name is in reference to the button on the lid, which is designed to pop up when de-pressing.

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Tightvac Multi-Use Vacuum Seal Portable Storage Container
Inexpensive, lightweight container that creates partial vacuum

Tightvac Multi-Use Vacuum Seal Portable Storage Container

Tightvac Multi-Use Vacuum Seal Portable Storage Container

The Tightvac is an inexpensive, partial vacuum container that comes in a huge variety of sizes and colors. While it may crack if treated roughly— treat it well and it’ll keep your coffee tasting at its best.

$10.22 from amazon

The Tightvac sits proudly in the land between a true vacuum coffee canister and an airtight storage container. While the Tightvac doesn’t create a full vacuum— upon pressing the side button and pushing down the lid, it does suck out an amount of air, creating a partial one. This partial vacuum will do wonders for coffee freshness. There is actually a plus side to not creating a full vacuum— the coffee’s aromatics won’t be sucked out with the air.

Unfortunately, because the Tightvac’s construction is fully plastic and not so durable, if you drop it and it cracks as I did with mine, you can say goodbye to the vacuum seal. Let this be a lesson to me: be less clumsy. Or a lesson to the Tightvac: be more durable.

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Coffee Gator Canister
Well designed airtight coffee canister with freshness wheel

Coffee Gator Canister

Coffee Gator Canister

For those wanting to keep their coffee as fresh as possible, and look damn good while doing it, definitely check out the Coffee Gator. With its adjustable date wheel and valve for venting CO2, this stainless steel canister is a decent option.

$28.99 from amazon

This stainless steel coffee canister is a simple airtight container with one very important difference — it includes a CO2 release valve in the lid. Similar to the bag that many coffees come in, the CO2 valve allows the coffee to degas while staying locked in an airtight chamber. The Coffee Gator includes a cool little adjustable date wheel on top, to help keep track of when the coffee within the container was roasted.

The one major issue with the Coffee Gator is that the CO2 valve needs to be replaced semi-regularly, and while it does come with extra valves, once these are spent, you’ll need to order more.

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Friis Coffee Vault
Airtight coffee canister, complete with CO2 release valve

Friis Coffee Vault

Friis Coffee Vault

The Friis coffee vault is designed to expel CO2 gas from the container while keeping oxygen and other nasties out— and in turn, keeping coffee fresh.

$15.24 from amazon

What better place to keep your fresh and juicy roasted coffee than a vault? An airtight, CO2 releasing vault, of course. The Friis Coffee Vault is an airtight, stainless steel coffee container that uses a special CO2 vent which expels gas from the canister while keeping an airtight seal— protecting the coffee from its own kryptonite: oxygen.

As with the Coffee Gator, the Friis Coffee Vault also requires its CO2 vent to be replaced every sixty days. It does come with a year’s supply, which is nice. This may not be an issue for some but seems to be the only real downside for others.

5
BlinkOne Coffee Canister
Screw-top coffee canister with magnetic scoop

BlinkOne Coffee Canister

BlinkOne Coffee Canister

This large capacity screw-top coffee canister creates a nice, airtight seal, keeping up to a pound of coffee fresh. No gimmicks, no-frills, just a competent airtight storage container that does its job well.

$28.99 from amazon

The BlinkOne is a simple, elegant and uniquely shaped (sort-of looks like an egg, no?) screwtop coffee canister that can hold a whopping one-pound bag of coffee. It’s a big boy. It is stainless steel and fitted with a silicone seal to keep the canister airtight— helping your precious coffee stay fresh and at its best. The BlinkOne includes a neat magnetized coffee scoop that can fix to the inside of the lid for convenient storage.

On the downside, some people find the lid of the canister too big for their hands, making opening it a wrestling match. Not an ideal scenario if you’re desperate for a cup of coffee ten minutes ago.

Vacuum Coffee Canisters

Vacuum coffee canisters stand above airtight storage containers in terms of effectiveness, because they actively suck air that is trapped within the container, out. This creates an almost completely oxygen-free environment which will slow the oxidation process dramatically and in turn will keep your fresh beans at their sweetest.

Tips when storing coffee in a vacuum coffee canister

  • While there is some debate around this, many believe that a full vacuum is not ideal for storing something as aromatic as coffee. With this in mind, if using a vacuum canister that can achieve a full vacuum, it may be best to not quite go there fully. Try going for a partial vacuum only.
  • Some vacuum canisters, like the Fellow Atmos, can only be used for whole beans. Ground coffee can clog the vacuum valve.
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Evac Airtight Storage Container
Beautiful clear glass coffee container that creates a near-vacuum

Evac Airtight Storage Container

Evac Airtight Storage Container

For those keen on a glass coffee container, the Evak is a solid choice. While clear glass is not ideal for storing coffee, it does create a partial vacuum, locking out the other troublesome elements like moisture and most of the air.

$20.84 from amazon

This glass coffee storage container began its life back in 2014 as a Kickstarter campaign that gained funding in just two days. The Evak’s patented lid forces air out of the container as the lid is pushed down, creating a nearly oxygen-free environment for your delectable coffee bean babies. The Evak checks all the boxes we need for an excellent coffee container, bar one. Being made of glass, it is clear, so is in no way light proof. Due to the sub-optimal relationship between coffee and light, the Evak is only a credible option for those who are already storing their beans in a dark place.

If you are looking for a coffee canister set – Evak offers a set of 3 Evak Mini canisters; a good option for those who like to drink a different coffee depending on the occasion, mood or time of day.

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Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister for Coffee
A true vacuum coffee canister

Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister for Coffee

Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister for Coffee

For a container that creates a true vacuum, look no further than the Atmos. It is durable, good looking and will keep your coffee safe from oxygen, light, and moisture. Simply twist the lid to remove air from within the container.

$32.50 from amazon

Thanks to its integrated vacuum pump, the Atmos by Fellow is a true vacuum coffee canister. Twist the lid until the indicator pops up and you’re done— your coffee is now vacuum sealed, protected from air, moisture and light. It is constructed of stainless steel, comes in three sizes and colorways and is incredibly easy on the eye.

There are a couple of little downsides to the Atmos. The first is that it is a coffee bean container and can’t be used to store ground coffee — small particles like coffee grounds can clog up the vacuum valve. Lastly, when only a small amount of coffee remains in the Atmos, twisting the air out will take a little time. All in all, not a huge sacrifice to make for this level of storage control.

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Airscape Coffee Bean Canister
Best coffee canister 2020

Airscape Coffee Bean Canister

Airscape Coffee Bean Canister

The Airscape coffee canister wins ticks all round. Airtight? Check. Lightproof? Check. Durable? Indeed it is. Removes most of the oxygen while leaving the coffee’s delectable aromas intact? Double-check! This coffee canister is excellent value for money, and our top pick of best coffee storage container.

$24.15 from amazon

When using most non-vacuum sealed containers, one will eventually face the issue of trapping more and more oxygen in the container, as the contents within are used up. The Airscape, with its double lid design and release valve, doesn’t have that issue. This feature along with the overall design makes it the best coffee container.

Here’s how it works: an inner-lid that is equipped with a valve is moved down within the container, pushing air out as it goes. Once the lid comes into contact with the contents of the container, the lid can be locked— shutting out the air in either direction. What this means is coffee that has been exposed to less oxygen, which equates to a longer freshness window. Rejoice for longer freshness!

The Airscape canister also comes in an all-black version that includes a removable ink pen, making it super easy to label and decorate the canister— a reflection of its contents. Beautiful.

Oh, and one more thing: if you want to see your beloved coffee beans again, do not place the lid in the canister upside down (you’ll never get the lid out again. The seal this thing creates is real)

Plastic, Glass, Stainless Steel or Ceramic Coffee Canister?

Most coffee storage containers are made of one of four materials - Stainless steel, glass, plastic or ceramic. And while they all have pros and cons, when done right, they are all capable of keeping coffee fresh. Let’s take a look at these four materials.

Stainless Steel

Thanks to its durability and the fact that it is lightproof, stainless steel is a great option for storing coffee. It is also a non-porous material, meaning the oils in the coffee won’t stain and trap smells as with some other materials. The only real downside of stainless steel containers is that they can be more expensive than materials like plastic.

Glass Coffee Containers

Glass has a couple of things going for it that make it a pretty tempting option to store coffee. First, they look beautiful, especially among other coffee brewing gear. The second is that they don't collect the smell of previous coffees stored in them. The downsides are that glass is breakable, can be expensive, and will allow light to contact the coffee— making a glass coffee container only a good option if you either store your coffee in a dark place such as a cupboard, or your store your coffee in their bag within the container.

Plastic

Plastic is a nice in-between point— more durable than glass, and less expensive than stainless steel. Most plastic coffee containers are either UV tinted or completely opaque, making them excellent for keeping the light from damaging the precious caffeinated cargo. On the downside, with plastic being rather porous, the oils in coffee can stain it easily, meaning it will need cleaning often. A plastic coffee container also won’t last nearly as long as a stainless steel one will.

Ceramic Coffee Canister

Ceramic is probably one of the better materials to use in a coffee container. It checks most of our boxes — it is lightproof, does well with heat and doesn’t absorb much smell. The only downsides are that vacuum coffee storage containers made of ceramic are rare, are as breakable as glass, and are expensive.

Storing Ground Coffee

While we will forever shout praise from the rooftops in support of grinding coffee immediately before brewing, we get that not everyone has a grinder at home, or is interested in that sort of thing. And that’s ok. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. So, how to keep ground coffee fresh?

Because ground coffee, due to its size and relatively large surface area, is especially susceptible to attacks made by oxygen and light, we must be ever more vigilant when storing it. Here are a few guidelines, or best practices, when storing ground coffee.

  • Only buy as much as you can use within one week.
  • Espresso sized grounds go bad much faster than filter or french press sized grounds — go for as course of a grind size as you can manage.

A container like the Airscape is an excellent option for keeping both whole beans and ground coffee fresh.

Conclusion

While we love the Airscape, the reality is that any container from our shortlist that can help us stick to the four rules of storing coffee — away from oxygen, light, heat, and moisture — will certainly do the trick. Just buy coffee fresh, only buy as much as you can use within a week or two, store it in one of these containers and you’re golden.