There is, but most of the research that's been done is to try preserving the quality of coffee for several months to years, at a level that 50% of consumers would find acceptable. That's a big-coffee-company approach. At the quality level we're chasing, there is no scientific research. There's just not enough money at stake in the third-wave coffee market to justify the cost of such research. You might see this post for a recent review. Illy's book Espresso Coffee: The Science of Quality has a very good chapter on storage also.
Or companies wouldn't be sinking in their dollars to R&D their "vacuum canister" designs. Their own approaches. Also, there is a company called Foodsaver. They have this device you use to put over the first lid of a mason jar to vacuum seal it. Again, there must be enough positive testing to warrant it's design and production. And they are selling so...
Marketing drives sales, which drives R&D. Sales or R&D is not an indication of effectiveness.
The valve lets some of the aroma escape. I assume it's okay. Or they wouldn't have designed these bags this way. Which most coffee supply stores use. I guess it's good enough for transport? For a few days?
The valve, although one-way, is not an absolute oxygen barrier. The one-way valve was designed to overcome the problem of sealed bags bursting as a product of off-gassing (and taking up excess space) during storage and transport. That said, to the extent that CO2 drives the oxygen out of the bag, you're good. The valves are pretty good, but not absolute at allowing gasses to pass into the bag.
Overall, the main thing that degrades coffee flavor is oxygen and the oxidation reactions it occasions. the vacuum may accelerate the off-gassing at room temperature, and potentially allow lipids to reach the bean surface, which would accelerate their oxidation after the vacuum is broken. But the combination of vacuum and freezing stops or greatly retards the off-gassing process, so seems to be the optimal strategy for medium to long-term storage with relatively inexpensive equipment. The optimum for long term storage is to store the coffee under a pressurized oxygen-free environment - maybe a nitrogen flush with an oxygen scavenger/absorber to remove any residual oxygen, but that equipment is not cheap.
The thing is, at our level of chasing quality, we don't need to store coffee for more than 6 months. My advice (worth what you paid for it): if you really need to save some money, home roast. If you want to save money but don't want to or can't roast, order in quantity from a commercial roaster, vac seal in mason jars and freeze. If you can, order in small quantities 1-2 weeks worth) from a commercial roaster.
My current solution: I home roast, and store the green beans under vacuum (foodsaver bags). After roasting enough for about 2-3 weeks, I de-gas for a couple days, then vac seal in mason jars in 3-4 day quantities. I pull a jar from the freezer a day before I need to use it. Then dump into a vacuum coffee storage device (Coffee Bean Vac I got for Valentines Day), which keeps a vacuum overnight. That gets used up in about 4 days. Stir. Repeat. The storage solution also works great for ordering 5 lbs of Red Bird.
Regarding the decline of beans from freezing, I trust Ken Fox (gasp!) over Seattle Coffee Gear. You can read his very carefully done test here on H-B. Also worth reading is Ken & Jim Schulman's follow-up here. From these results there is no reason to believe there's a degradation of flavor at up to 4 months.
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
germantownrob Senior Member Joined: 2 Dec 2007 Posts: 2,018 Location: Philadelphia Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,... Drip: Brazen Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Sat Mar 19, 2011, 9:32am Subject: Re: Coffee Storage
So you found, using vacuum sealing, that after 2 weeks it was still loosing it's freshness?? What kind of vacuum sealing were you using?
Also, I just found out yesterday that many are against freezing beans. Though the testers "Seattle Coffee" (find them on YouTube) were testing beans frozen for a few months. :) Was pretty sour tasting. HEH!!
I have a food saver vacuum, I have used vacuum bags and mason jars and both did not slow the aging compared to just storing in a sealed container (mason jar) as far as I can taste. My experience says that when a bean has fully de-gassed the bean is stale and nothing you can do will change the bean from de-gassing except freezing.
From what I have read de-gassing can be stopped at -40f but I have had excellent results at -5 to -10f for up to 3 months. Many are against freezing and that is fine. I roast my own beans and have been for many years so having absolutely fresh beans around is not a problem, freezing for me is about convenience and I can not taste the difference from 5 day old roasted beans from same bean frozen for a month. In your thread " Bean and/or grind storage" JasonBrandtLewis posted a bunch of links that a worth reading.
Posted Sat Mar 19, 2011, 12:13pm Subject: Re: Coffee Storage
Thanks for your advice people. Perhaps I might still buy a Foodsaver vacuum and mason jars and freeze if I foresee wanting to store for weeks if not a month or two. For now I think the Airscape canisters will do. And the degree of oxidation from vacuum sealing is probably minimal. Over a few weeks. Especially if you don't open and close a lot.
The "coffee bean vac" device I've heard can fail. Some one said they had one for 2 months and then it stopped working for some reason. So that's why I bought the Airscape.
Mine is only about a month old - fine so far. The first one was DOA, and the company sent a replacement quickly. I pulled it apart and diagnosed a bad circuit board. The vacuum pump was fine, and the switch was fine but the bit in between was a no-go.
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
I'm still going through my 2 pound supply of roasted beans (Kenyan AA, Jamaican BM, Kona Fancy). Using Planetary Design's Airscape canisters. Will later freeze the beans when I order my next fresh batch. Was wondering how long I have to wait after removing the frozen beans from the freezer. I will either use the Foodsaver machine (haven't bought it yet) or just use freezer bags (Zip-lock) like one of the other posters did. He said he didn't notice a difference between using the Foodsaver vacuum seal machine and just using freezer bags. Opinions?
Posted Sat Jun 11, 2011, 11:34pm Subject: Re: Coffee Storage
While shopping for groceries, I came across a bag of roasted whole beans that had an Expiration date and a Manufacturing date written on it. Since there was no Roasting date to be found on it, could the Manufacturing date be also considered as the same day it was roasted?
Posted Sun Jan 22, 2012, 4:56pm Subject: Re: Coffee Storage
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