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Discussions > Espresso > blends > Vacuum Canisters  
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Descartes
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Descartes
Joined: 28 May 2004
Posts: 406
Location: USA
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Posted Tue Jun 15, 2004, 8:21pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

I'm a winemaker, and as most anyone who enjoys wine knows: Oxygen destroys wine.  We take measures to ensure that our wine doesn't come into contact with oxygen after the fermentation process (the CO2 blanket created by the yeast is heavier than air and thus keeps air from contacting the wine), because oxygen interaction with ethyl alcohol molecules results in acetic acid; it's basically vinegar.

Why did I bother with the above?  Well, as Yeger said, a shot of nitrogen will displace the oxygen.  We use the same measures to ensure that oxygen is not left in a bottle of wine right before we cork it.  I am not yet roasting my own beans, but I plan to adapt my methods for wine preservation in bean preservation.  I'll shoot nitrogen into an air-tight container and see how long it holds.

Yeger, or anyone else, do you see a problem with that?  Also, what air-tight containers do all of you use to store your roasted beans?
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brokencup
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brokencup
Joined: 18 Feb 2004
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Posted Tue Jun 15, 2004, 9:37pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

DEchelbarger Said:

ljguitar,

How does using a vacuum canister differ from the the vacuum packed bags?  .

Posted March 4, 2004 link

If you pull a vacuum in a canister all of the empty space in the canister is filled with, well, vacuum. Since "nature abhors a vacuum", it will tend to fill it with anything at hand, volatile and not so volatile coffee oils, co2, whatever. Storing your beans that way is like sucking the good stuff out with a vacuum cleaner. OTOH with the food saver bags, while there is some of that going on, the bags fit tightly around the bean mass, so there is not so much empty space left after the bags are sealed. Vacuum bags keep the beans dry and in a compact mass for freezing and in contrast to mason jars, are unlikely to break if dropped.

Bob
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da_russky_007
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da_russky_007
Joined: 8 Jun 2004
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Posted Tue Jun 15, 2004, 9:54pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

Descartes Said:

I'll shoot nitrogen into an air-tight container and see how long it holds. Yeger, or anyone else, do you see a problem with that?

Posted June 15, 2004 link

I don't see any problems with that. If fact, it sounds like a great idea. Nitrogen is a pretty darn inert gas, it's not going to react with anything that attributes to flavor. It is should better than vacuum packing, since the infused gas creates positive pressure, keeping slowing down degasing :)

Descartes Said:

Also, what air-tight containers do all of you use to store your roasted beans?

Posted June 15, 2004 link

Here is the picture of air-tight containers I have used to store the beans before I got my beauty FoodSaver (which is proundly pictured also :)
;)  By the way these are great for storing home-made salsa also :D

da_russky_007: 01010103_low.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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da_russky_007
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da_russky_007
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Posted Tue Jun 15, 2004, 9:58pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

brokencup Said:

Since "nature abhors a vacuum", it will tend to fill it with anything at hand, volatile and not so volatile coffee oils, co2, whatever. Storing your beans that way is like sucking the good stuff out with a vacuum cleaner.

Posted June 15, 2004 link

Still, storing beans in a vacuum canister will preserve flavor much better, than storing them in an air-tight container (speaking from experience)

-Yegor
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brokencup
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brokencup
Joined: 18 Feb 2004
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Posted Tue Jun 15, 2004, 10:22pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

da_russky_007 Said:

Still, storing beans in a vacuum canister will preserve flavor much better, than storing them in an air-tight container (speaking from experience)

-Yegor

Posted June 15, 2004 link

You know those canisters that come with the food saver? I tried them. I found that after awhile the vacuum disipated and the lids were quite easily removed. In otherwords I was no longer storing the beans in a vacuum but in co2, which probably accounts for why your beans were fresher. The mason jar stored beans probably outgassed as well. (I remember something about partial pressures and boyles law from a chemistry course I took in the middle of the last century ;-)) but since the closed lids prevented the 02 from being displaced,  the o2 continued to stale the beans. That's my guess as to why the vacuum canister works better than a mason jar.

Bob
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jeffmac
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jeffmac
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Posted Tue Jun 15, 2004, 10:30pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

Where (i.e what kind of store) would I go to to buy liquid nitrogen? Beer & brewing? Hardware? How would you go about using it with, say, a normal jar?

Is the foodsaver like an electronic pump that removes air from the plastic bags? I have a manual version of that.

Jeff
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da_russky_007
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da_russky_007
Joined: 8 Jun 2004
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Location: USA
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Espresso: Rancilio Silvia; Starbucks...
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Posted Wed Jun 16, 2004, 1:50am
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

jeffmac Said:

Where (i.e what kind of store) would I go to to buy liquid nitrogen?

Posted June 15, 2004 link


try a welding or paintball supply store?

jeffmac Said:

How would you go about using it with, say, a normal jar?

Posted June 15, 2004 link

In my experience liquid nitrogen is very cold... like freaking cold... like if you got it on yourself, it would feel really bad (after the body part you got it on thaws off (and maybe falls off) :)))))) But you can get the non-liquid version of nitrogen, it is much safer and easier to work with :D (in my experience).

jeffmac Said:

Is the foodsaver like an electronic pump that removes air from the plastic bags?

Posted June 15, 2004 link

yep. here is the link to the one I have, i just payed about $100 less for it cuz I got it on ebay :)
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Whodat
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Joined: 21 Jan 2004
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Espresso: Bezzera BZ02S, La Peppina
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Posted Tue Jun 29, 2004, 9:09am
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

I'd think that there are 2 more issues in the "vacuum cannisters suck out the good stuff vs. vacuum cannisters protect the good stuff from nasty oxygen" debate:

1) The most important would be that oxygen doesn't just make the "good" chemicals disappear.  The oxidization products are going to have their own tastes, many of them unpleasant.  Thus, it may be worth losing some of these "good" chemicals in order to prevent the formation of "bad" ones.

2) What is the proportion of the "good" volatiles lost from the bean into the head space relative to the total content of the bean and the proportion that is extracted in a shot?  It may be that the losses are a relatively trivial proportion. (Obviously the answer to this depends somewhat on the amount of headspace and the duration & temperature of storage).  Also, there are some less tasty compounds in the bean that will also be lost into the headspace in proportion to their volatility, so that may also minimize the effect of the loss of "good" compounds.
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Atomic_Dave
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Joined: 12 Feb 2004
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Posted Wed Jun 30, 2004, 7:19pm
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

jeffmac Said:

Where (i.e what kind of store) would I go to to buy liquid nitrogen? Beer & brewing? Hardware? How would you go about using it with, say, a normal jar?

Posted June 15, 2004 link

You'll probably need to go to a gas supply store for that. Some welding shops also sell gas. First you'll need to buy a nitrogen regulator. Then you can rent or buy a tank. They usually swap out your emtpy tank for a full one for a decent rate.

Personally I think it's sort of silly. To do this correctly you will need a container that can hold pressure and has a valve on it to release pressure. If you just pump nitrogen into something, you are not completely eliminating anything else that's already in there. You would need to purge the container using the valve.

Is the point of this to find the "best" way to store coffee? In that case....I would put mine into a nitrogen-filled kryponite container and then shoot it off into space. That should keep it good for a while....and keep superman from trying to steal any of it (I heard he likes Yirgacheffe from the press pot)! If anyone wants to come over for a coffee there's going to be a slight wait though.
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thisisfranciswu
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thisisfranciswu
Joined: 25 Sep 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Montreal, Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Bialetti Brikka
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Posted Tue Sep 25, 2012, 7:41am
Subject: Re: Vacuum Canisters
 

Newbie stumbling upon an interesting discussion here.

I've been favoring the vacuum approach, putting beans in a dark vacuum-pumped wine bottle.  I prefer this for a number of reasons:
  • It looks great;
  • it has a small footprint;
  • the beans are kept in relative darkness;
  • the narrow width of the bottle limits the exposure to air (I think);
  • the wine vacuum stopper is specifically designed to keep air out of wine bottles -- I figured if it's good enough for wine, it's good enough for coffee.

The wine vacuum and stopper set is also pretty inexpensive.  I use two bottles, one for regular and one for decaf.

It's worth noting that a 750ml bottle can hold almost an entire 12oz bag of beans, leaving you a tiny handful.  16oz, not so much.  I usually keep the remaining 4oz in the bag and consume that first.

So if anybody's still interested in taking a vacuum approach to storing beans, this'd be a relatively simple way to go about it.

--
Francis
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