Canned Coffee Packaging Is Superior To Bagged Coffee

You may scoff at the canister of Folger's on your grandparents' shelf, but that classic coffee packaging design has quite a bit going for it. Many of us reach for the paper or plastic-bagged specialty coffee at the grocery store or cafe without giving it much thought. And no doubt, most specialty coffee contains far superior beans compared to pre-ground Folger's. Nevertheless, its packaging has its downsides. 

One problem with most bagged coffee is that you have to cut off the top and then are left with a band to fold the excess paper or plastic over, or you'll have a press seal. Both leave the coffee open to oxygenation, which quickly deteriorates the quality of the bean. Additionally, coffee beans are coated in natural oil, and just like a bag of hamburgers from the fast-food joint, that flavor-rich oil will leak through. Coffee in a tin-coated aluminum vessel with an airtight seal is much better preserved and protected against contaminants such as pests or water. Even though coffee cans may be regarded as a relic, they are still one of the best preservation systems for fresh coffee. 

Packaging makes a major flavor impact

So what if a bit of air gets at the beans or some of the natural oils leach away? These small things make a huge difference in the flavor. Exposure to oxygen causes the coffee flavor and aroma to leak out. Just as you put a jar over a candle when it's not in use to preserve its scent, you want to seal off your beans from the air. That little plastic band on your coffee bag is no match for oxygen. Of course, you can always buy an expensive air-tight canister or just give canned coffee a shot. 

When buying canned coffee, you should still look for the same things you would with any coffee. Look for whole beans with a semi-recent roast date. Think between 1 to 2 weeks prior, depending on how quickly you consume coffee. For an affordable, crowd-pleasing pick, try Trader Joe's Colombia Supremo, a 100% arabica whole bean, medium roast coffee that's highly drinkable with notes of chocolate and caramel. To keep canned coffee at its freshest, store it in a dry, cool place, and always be sure to firmly secure the lid after each use.