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Discussions > Espresso > blends > Vacuum Canisters  
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ljguitar
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ljguitar
Joined: 28 Jan 2003
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Posted Thu Mar 4, 2004, 12:42pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

DrHog Said:

Another solution that I thought of was buying decaf ground espresso in small (i.e. 2 oz.) vacuum packs.  I just haven't found any of these on the market yet.  Any one know of a source for this?  BTW, I don't have a separate grinder, so I'm stuck with pre-ground options for decaf.

Posted March 4, 2004 link

Hey DR
How about roasting your own?

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ljguitar
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ljguitar
Joined: 28 Jan 2003
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Posted Thu Mar 4, 2004, 12:50pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

Dechelbarg Said:

How does using a vacuum canister differ from the the vacuum packed bags?  I've ready studies that suggest that in unopened bags coffee stays fresh for a long period of time.

I do roast my own beans, by the way, although only recently.  I will do an experiment, eventually, vacuum some beans and keep some of the same batch unvacuumed and see if I can tell a difference.

Posted March 4, 2004 link

Hi...
Good question...vacuum differs in that the professional roasters who vacuum pack merely draw off enough air to keep the bags from exploding in shipment. The bagged coffee that is nitro packed is probably what you are referring to. Those bags are pressurized, if I recall correctly, to delay the beans from degassing by using pressure from the inert gas to stall the process. This is the reverse of vacuum packing.

Nitrogen bagged may be usable for a longer period of time, but compared to the fresh roasted counterparts, one would hardly confuse them as fresh.

Good experiment you propose...
Roast some, vacuum some, keep some unvaccumend and then at the end of a week fresh roast another batch of the same coffee and compare all three. It will not totally fair without a fresh roasted batch to compare to.

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cafedj
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Joined: 3 Oct 2003
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Espresso: Bialetti, Aeropress
Grinder: Rocky doserless
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Posted Thu Mar 4, 2004, 1:21pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

I understand the frequent recommendations to home roast, I just find them beside the point in a thread about how to store beans.  Similar to me posting on one of those home roast threads lamenting all the problems with broken machines, smoke, chaff, etc. that all those problems could be avoided by simply buying commercial roasts. :)

There are perfectly legitimate reasons to discuss the best possible way to store beans.  Ok, that's out of my system.

I think it's fair to say there's some serious disagreement among very rational people as to whether vacuum storage is more effective than non-vacuum storage.  My personal experience is that vacuum combined with freezing is the best long term storage I can achieve at home.  I don't know exactly where the cutoff is in terms of how many weeks must elapse before I can taste a difference between fresh and vacuum/frozen but I'm currently brewing beans that were double bagged (original unopened valve bag inside vacuum plastic bag) in the freezer for 4 weeks, and they're outstanding.  I cannot distinguish them from the fresh beans I've had from the same roaster.  The aromatics and complex flavors seem undiminished, and there's no hint of anything lost or any unwanted flavors being added.  I've just recently acquired vacuum canisters and have some experiments going on in my freezer as I type, so can't say for certain what the effect will be of loose beans in a vacuum canister.   I suppose it's possible that freezing itself may cause some harm to beans, although so far I can't taste it.  But I'm convinced that low temps inhibit staling, so I have not sacrificed any of my precious beans to room temp vacuum storage yet, although it's a valid experiment to try.

I have tried on the shelf and freezer storage of valve bags alone without vacuum in the past, and it's abundantly obvious to me that this is a very poor storage method.   I also notice an obvious degradation after about a week to 10 days of storing beans in an airtight jar in my cabinet.  A reasonable test would be to use canister vacuum storage daily for opened beans and see if that 10 day limit is extended or shortened.  It's just an extra few steps in the morning I haven't been willing to undertake so far.  A good compromise could be to vacuum bag and freeze 1/2 lb batches, limiting the amount of time in the shelf jar.
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DEchelbarger
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DEchelbarger
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Posted Thu Mar 4, 2004, 1:34pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

cafedj


Please keep us informed on your findings.  This is a very interesting thread.  

Thank you ljguitar as well.  I'm glad I found this place.  Just finished roasting some beans, vacuum storing half and  we'll see.  These were French roasted so we should see some oil.
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DEchelbarger
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DEchelbarger
Joined: 12 Feb 2004
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Location: Negaunee, MI
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Espresso: Solis SL-70
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Drip: pour over, Chemex, FR Press,...
Roaster: RK Drum, I-roast, manual...
Posted Thu Mar 4, 2004, 1:46pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

One other thing to remember about the vacuum process.  I just took a cracker out of a canister.  Must have been in there a month.  Crisp.  Fresh.  vacuum gets rid of mositure.  We eliminate two nasty things.  Thanks again for this discussion.
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jgullam
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Posted Thu Mar 4, 2004, 3:35pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

I have a number of the VacuVin canisters that I use for coffee.
The first time I used them for freshly roasted, I noticed that the seal didn't last long.  My speculation was that the air sucked out had been replaced by the gasses coming from the beans.  I generally let the beans degas for a few days before using the vacuum.
For beans that will be around a while (decaf), I definitely think the vacuum help slow the aging process.
The point about sucking the essence out the beans, however, wasn't one that had occured to me.
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ljguitar
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ljguitar
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Posted Thu Mar 4, 2004, 4:37pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

cafedj Said:

--- There are perfectly legitimate reasons to discuss the best possible way to store beans.  Ok, that's out of my system.
--- I think it's fair to say there's some serious disagreement among very rational people as to whether vacuum storage is more effective than non-vacuum storage.  My personal experience is that vacuum combined with freezing is the best long term storage I can achieve at home.  I don't know exactly where the cutoff is in terms of how many weeks must elapse before I can taste a difference between fresh and vacuum/frozen but I'm currently brewing beans that were double bagged (original unopened valve bag inside vacuum plastic bag) in the freezer for 4 weeks, and they're outstanding.

Posted March 4, 2004 link

Yup, you are right. There are legitimate reasons to discuss this, and the first is freshness.

The way to avoid having to store beans is only acquire what can be used in a reasonable time - say a week or 10 days at most. Better yet, just roast fresh beans weekly.

It is not relevant to say that there is serious disagreement among rational people about storage. It is expert people who count in this case, not rational people. Rational people often go by feelings or speculation, and not scientific experimentation and/or fact.

Professional roasters who roast and sell beans for a living say the best way to do short term serious storage (6 weeks or less) is to freeze beans in the first hour after they are roasted - before degassing begins.

Freezing beans before they degass arrests the degassing process, and allows one to freeze these beans for up to 6 weeks without noticible deterioration. In fact, when removed from the freezer, they continue to degass.

Once beans degass, they will continue to stale even in the freezer. It does slow the staling some to freeze, but does not arrest it.

These roasters have done blind cuppings and repeated tests and have compared results. They also don't do long term storage of beans. One of these professionals, who is considered an expert by other professional roasters who know him, is the one who says vacuum sealing extracts aromatics at an accelerated rate, thereby speeding degradation of flavor.

There have been extended discussions at 'the other' coffee group (alt.coffee) and their endless discussions, questions, snipes, experiments and arguments are well documented. It makes for good reading.

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cafedj
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Joined: 3 Oct 2003
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Posted Thu Mar 4, 2004, 6:08pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

One of the innovators of roasting equipment has become convinced through experimentation that vacuum storage in fact does work very well with roasted beans, so I believe it is fair to say that rational people, and those very experienced with coffee roasting and storage can disagree.

http://www.sivetzcoffee.com/preservation_patent.htm

I've also read many posts on that other board on this topic.  Some of those experts you refer to once believed freezing was a terrible idea.  Some have changed their minds, some haven't.   I agree it make interesting reading, and as you point out there is anything but a consensus.

To me the "experts" simply give me ideas for my own experiments.  What they taste or don't taste doesn't dictate how I buy coffee or store it.

Nearly all of us make comprimises between freshness, convenience and cost.  How many home roasters roast beans daily or every 8 hours, which in theory would be necessary to insure a constant supply of beans that are at the peak of freshness and perfectly degassed?  The question becomes what degree of "freshness" is worth the effort to you.   Different people draw that line at different places.   Home roasting is not necessarily the best solution for everyone.
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cremaboy
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cremaboy
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Posted Sat Mar 6, 2004, 11:44pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

It is not relevant to say that there is serious disagreement among rational people about storage. It is expert people who count in this case, not rational people. Rational people often go by feelings or speculation, and not scientific experimentation and/or fact.



Actually, rational means having reason or understanding which would preclude feelings (emotion?) and speculation. Even acknowleged experts disagree on a great many issues within their fields.  Scientific data is subject to interpretation.
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dcbrown
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dcbrown
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Posted Sun Mar 7, 2004, 5:28pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

Professional roasters who roast and sell beans for a living say the best way to do short term serious storage (6 weeks or less) is to freeze beans in the first hour after they are roasted - before degassing begins.

Professional roasters brought us Folgers! Sorry but I couldn't resist ;)  Professionals, by definition need to profit from their operations. There are many reasons they may chose a particular method to do something.

A vacuum container that is frequently opened in a commercial situation WOULD cause accelerated degassing when it is repeatedly re-evacuated.  This wouldn't need to be the case in a home storage situation. Once the vacuum is gone due to slight degassing the accelerated degassing should stop. The sealed container could even become positively pressurized, which would slow degassing.
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