Do You Really Need A Coffee Canister To Keep Your Morning Joe Fresh?

For coffee enthusiasts, anything that promises a better cup of joe is worth looking into. Coffee canisters, for instance, are widely considered an essential aspect of keeping grounds fresh and aromatic, but are they actually necessary for effective storage?

Interestingly, these containers gained popularity only as recently as the turn of the century, with more people learning how air exposure affects coffee quality as it can oxidize and dry out the beans. While it's true that an airtight canister can help extend the shelf-life of your coffee, any kind of airtight storage system will do the trick. Even the original packaging is viable, assuming it can be tightly resealed with all excess air forced out, and will ensure you always get the perfect cup of drip coffee and avoid less-than-perfect espresso.

In all cases, you should also store your beans or grounds somewhere cool and dark, like a pantry or cupboard, mirroring the conditions offered within a coffee canister. Sunlight and heat can be just as detrimental to coffee quality as air exposure, causing the flavor and aroma compounds to break down. For this reason, if you're going to use a canister, opt for an opaque one rather than clear glass.

If you buy a coffee canister, consider all its features

Again, there's no need to actually own a coffee canister so long as you store your coffee beans or grounds in a resealable, airtight container or bag, and making sure it's placed in a cool and dark cupboard. But that's not to say you can't still go the canister route; however, you should keep in mind that not just any coffee canister will do.

Most importantly, look at canisters with some kind of pressurizing function to remove all excess air inside, much like how you would squeeze the air out of a bag to properly seal frozen food. After all, what's the point in using a canister if you're trapping your coffee inside with a bunch of air?

Another good feature is CO2 removal. Although you don't want air entering your canister, you also don't want the CO2 released by your coffee beans to build up and create a sour home-brewed coffee. Instead, look for canister models that include a CO2 valve to let these gasses escape while still keeping air from entering.

More tips for keeping your coffee fresh for as long as possible

Although a coffee canister or other optimal storage conditions can keep coffee fresh for up to three months, a few other factors can play into how long your coffee retains its flavor and aroma. The most crucial of these factors is your coffee's form — ground or whole beans. As you can imagine, pre-ground coffee provides more surface area for oxidation and other natural processes of degradation. Conversely, whole beans are more resilient due to CO2 retention, which acts as a barrier against the coffee's environment.

In other words, the best way to preserve your coffee's quality is to buy whole beans rather than grounds. Coffee is freshest within minutes of grinding, so grind only what you plan to use. Likewise, you should buy coffee in smaller amounts, or at least in amounts you can easily finish off before quality starts to decline. Sure, it may take more effort on your part each time you want a cup of coffee, but we promise your hard work will pay off.