How To Keep Coffee Fresh

Have a coffee question…ASK COFFEENATE!

You can’t make fresh coffee if you don’t have fresh beans!  This post will help you to properly store you beans, as well as teach you why you must

only purchase whole bean coffee.  Buying whole beans is not just the coffee snob thing to do, but it will save you money as well as an upset stomach.  Coffee’s flavor is from the oils that are produced during the roasting process.  If properly stored, these oils remain protected inside of the bean for about 2 weeks after they are roasted.  However, once ground, these oils are exposed to their natural enemy…Oxygen.  The oxygen will immediately attack the delicate oils and begin to stale the coffee within minutes.  In fact, ground coffee can become stale in as little as 20 minutes. 

Coffee freshness is adversely affected by the following;

  • Oxygen
  • Heat
  • Light
  • Moisture

There are several products on the market that are good for coffee storage.  Most of them will help safeguard your beans from one or more of the above, but there is one product that I have found that surpasses them all.  Best of all, it is also the most economical!  Thank you for Richard C., who brought this product to my attention by posting a question about it on my CoffeeNate facebook page!  The product is called the TightVac.  The TightVac was originally marketed and sold as a tea storage container, but the rest of the food industry soon caught on that this simple to use product was invaluable in its design and how it could preserve any perishable item.  So naturally the coffee industry has taken notice as well.  The TightVac won a best product award at CoffeeFest in 2010.

I’m afraid I sound like a commercial here, but I really like this product for its purpose and value.  While the Tightvac can be used to store just about anything imaginable, it translates perfectly to the coffee industry because of its ingenious design that works just like the one way valves found on all specialty coffee bags.  These valves are necessary to allow the carbon dioxide, emitted by freshly roasted coffee, to escape.  There are other vacuum sealed containers on the market for sure, but I am not aware of any other that has this degassing capability while not allowing the outside air in.  The Tightvac is also easy for anyone to use, simply depress the easy to push button and slide the lid on.  Push the button again when you want to remove the lid.  No pumping, pulling, or plugging in needed.  The TightVac CoffeeVac is  simple, practical, valuable, and all for $15 for the 1 lb size.  The TightVac is available in several sizes from espresso shot size to 5 lb size.


You have until 11:59 pm est on September 30th to enter this month’s coffee contest. Enter the contest by leaving a comment, joining the facebook page, signing up for email updates, or clicking ‘Digg’, Stumble or ‘Tweet’ on any post. I’ll announce the winners via facebook and twitter on October 1st. Best of luck!!


Nate is a special kind of coffee lover. He began drinking the same swill that most others do, but thought there must be something better out there. Sure enough, he was right, even more so than he ever dreamed possible. He soon found his way into the specialty coffee industry, and was tasting exceptional coffees from dozens of roasters from around the country. He is now committed to teaching others how they can appreciate coffee, and how they can make the best coffee in town and save money at the same time! Cheers c[_]

Say something!

Please leave a comment or ask a question

  • Wouldn’t putting your coffee beans in a vacuum draw out more CO2 than they would otherwise emit? Would that effect the experience?

    I’ve just been using the resealable bags with the one-way valve on them, and squeeze out as much air as I can as I seal it.


    • Thanks for the question Evan. No, putting your beans in a vacuum will not draw out more CO2 from the beans. If you are referring to the Tightvac, it’s not a vacuum. It displaces the air inside of the canister, but allows for the beans to degas without outside air getting in. It is an airtight seal, but not a vacuum. Simply folding the flexible closure on your coffee bag is not sufficient for optimum storage conditions. If it works for you, then great. As long as you are drinking the entire package within a week you should notice just a little loss of flavor.

  • I’ve been using vacuum freezer bags lately, but the TightVac is on my list if they don’t hold up.

    • Thanks Mike. Those freezer bags will probably do okay for smaller amounts for short periods of time. The Tightvac is nice because it is dummy proof. I think it’s impossible to not use it properly. You may miss a part of the freezer bag seal, or the degassing could pop the bag if left for a few days. I appreciate you commenting!

  • My question on the Tightvac is: Does it push out any Oxygen that entered the container when you have to open it to make coffee?

    Either way good information. I will have to check out the Tightvac. c(_) cheers Nate! Enjoy your morning.

    • Thanks again Jason! It does displace some of the oxygen that you allow in when you open it. Of course, if you open it several times, it will not keep your coffee as fresh as if you left it sealed. That’s why I still recommend only purchasing enough coffee that you will use within a week or so.

  • Hi, nice post. I’ve been using OXO vacuumed sealed containers to store my coffee. I like the fact their are clear and good quality, although a bit pricey.


    • Thanks Louise! I’m happy you found my post helpful 🙂

  • Richard C.

    Hi Nate! I was wondering if you thought that an old Illy can with a valve on the bottom would do the same trick as a TightVac container. from: RichardC

    • Hey Richard! I suppose it would work okay if the lid was an airtight seal. Usually once you remove the lid it isn’t the same, but I can’t say for sure.

  • Terry

    Based on this post, I bought a 1 lb container two weeks ago–love it! So much so that I ordered another one to give as a gift. Great Job. I hope they send you a finder’s fee.
    And right now the 1 lb is on sale for $11.

    • Thanks Terry! Sorry I missed this comment earlier. I am happy that you are so very pleased with the coffee storage container. I do get a small commission if someone purchases via a link on my site, but I would never recommend a product at any price, if I didn’t personally like or use it! Cuz that’s how I roll 😉 Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • Fresh-roasted coffee can be packaged in valve-sealed bags to allow the gasses to escape and will taste best about 48 hours after roasting.

    • Yeah Marie, but there is no magic time for every coffee type. Some coffees are best after a week, while some are at their peak flavor just a day after roasting. Each coffee must be individually cupped repeatedly to find the sweet spot.

  • Nick

    Here’s one for ya.  I got clued into an Airscape about three months ago.  Absolutely no complaints.  It’s got a bunch of great features that the TightVac might be missing.  Here’s a link…

    • Thanks for sharing Nick!  Sure, the airscape is a viable option as well.  The thing I like about the tightvac, is that it is easy for people with weak hands.  Airscape wouldn’t be good for an older person as it takes a significant amount of strength to remove the lid. I think I’ll try it out though, because I do like my Planetary Design travel mug 🙂   

      • Nick

        I’ll agree with that.  Someone with less than a moderate amount of strength or poor leverage over the thing (short folks) may have an issue with it.  I got my 70+ year old mom one, and no problem though.  The thing I really like about it is the double airtight seal, along with double one way valves.  Anyone serious about trying to keep out the big four (light, heat, moisture and oxygen) would fare well with it. 

        • Great points Nick.  Thanks for sharing about your mother too…good info.  It just looked like the lady in the vid had a difficult time at it.  I’ll have to snag one and give it a go.  The sad reality is that no matter how well we store it, coffee does go stale rather quickly.  Best to drink it up! 🙂

  • There are popular misconceptions on the way roasted coffee should be stored and maintained. The enemies of roasted coffee are moisture, air, light, and heat. Storing your coffee away from them will keep it fresher longer. Therefore, an airtight container stored in a cool, dry, dark place is the best environment for your coffee.

  • suzan

    Thanks for the info.  I was not sure about what type of coffee storage container was best.