So far I've been getting my whole beans ground at the store most of the time and then bring the ground coffee home but as I'm researching manual burr coffee grinders I'm getting to the point where I'm going to be bringing whole coffee beans into the home as well. I will obviously need to find a good way to store them before I grind them which is the purpose of this post.
Everyone knows that whole coffee beans stay fresher longer than ground coffee but even in whole bean form roasted beans still go bad, just not as quickly. Air, light, moisture, and heat all contribute to the oxidation process which makes all coffee taste stale if given enough time. Even before the beans are ground.
For those people who roast their own beans CO2 is another major problem because the reoasting process results in released CO2 from the beans, which can also speed up the decline of the bean's flavor.
For me, I don't roast and I usually buy beans that are sealed and vented properly from my local roaster Quackenbush. What I need is a good way to move the beans into a vacuum sealed container that protects the beans from all the elements that slowly degrade their quality.
I for one like buying in bulk, you usually get a discount but with coffee you can only buy so much because even in the best natural environment the beans freshness won't last longer than 7-10 days or so.
This is what I'm doing. I've been using these nice airtight canisters that I got from Gevalia about a decade ago. They've been great and they've been featured in the background of a number of pictures and videos that I've added to this site but after doing plenty of research I'll be upgrading to the Vacu Vin Coffee Saver which is quite cheap compared to all the fancy stuff.
What makes this different is that when you dump your coffee beans into it you then put the lid on and then manually pump the air out of the bin. Most "vacuum" canisters aren't really vacuum canisters at all - they're airtight seals yes, but they don't vacuum.
The Vacu Vin has a smoky exterior which blocks most light. It's airtight and vacuum sealed and if you keep it in a cool location it should be the best way to protect your beans from oxidation for the best price possible.
There are some expensive canisters with automatic vacuum pumps but these cost a lot and don't seem to be any better than this one. I've always felt that simpler items were almost always better for longevity and I think that is the case with this item as well.
The following video should demonstrate nicely how this device is operated. You'll probably understand why I like it. It's manual but it's really fast and easy to do.
In any event there are other options out there but this is my favorite. You can see more on the Vacu Vin over on the product page or check out my list of airtight coffee canisters on the following page.
One thing to note, this is not the best way to store coffee beans that were home roasted. You need to use a canister that properly vents CO2 but for store purchased beans coming from a bag that was properly vented I'm confident this is the best method.