Coffee: conservation with vacuum VS one-way valve

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By now we have all noticed: a new type of packaging has arrived, which in many cases replaces the more classic vacuum pack.

And the question immediately arises: is vacuum or one-way valve better?

I will not tell you what is better or what is worse, because neither method is really wrong. You decide which packs you prefer!

Let's start by saying that packaging is a really important phase, as the preservation of the organoleptic properties of the coffee and therefore its integrity depends on it.

It would be a huge waste to spend time researching and carefully selecting coffee, roasting it in the best possible way and then ruining everything with the wrong storage.

The biggest enemies of coffee are 4:

  1. Light - better to keep it in a non-transparent jar, placed in a pantry
  2. Air - best stored in an airtight jar
  3. Heat - avoid hot places in the house, such as near the stove or oven or in a pantry where direct sunlight is shining
  4. Moisture - best stored in an airtight jar

Furthermore, the data show that 60% of the aromas of a coffee vanish within just 15 minutes of grinding.

If you think about it, the data is really striking: many in fact buy already ground coffee, and if you don't use the right attention, it loses much more than half of its aromas, without even having time to reach the customer's hands.

This is why it is essential to choose the packaging of the coffee packet carefully.

The two main methods, when it comes to bags, are two:

1. Vacuum 

vacuum-pack

2.One-way valve, also known as non-return valve

valvola-monodirezionale-caffe-ernani-confezione

To understand the properties of both, it is right to know that immediately after roasting, coffee releases a large amount of gas, in particular carbon dioxide (CO2). This continues over time, albeit at a slower rate.

This is why it is said that coffee needs to degas after being cooked, that is, to "breathe".

In this sense, vacuum packing is not wrong, as it protects the coffee from oxygen and light, thus preserving the coffee appropriately. But being hermetically sealed with no escape route, all the gases naturally produced by the coffee remain inside the package.

So it can be said that in this direction, the one-way valve is a step forward. As it does not allow oxygen and light to enter the package, but at the same time allows gases to escape.

If a controlled nitrogen atmosphere is recreated inside the bag, it is even better!

Food nitrogen is an odorless and colorless gas, but which allows the perfect maintenance of all the aromatic components of coffee.

How do you know what type of coffee bag you have purchased and whether or not it contains food nitrogen?

First of all, you can do a very quick visual check, looking for the valve on the bag. Furthermore, if nitrogen is added, it is mandatory to report the information on the label. So it is easily accessible by anyone with a quick reading.

Finally, how to continue the correct storage of coffee even at home or in your bar?

For home it is always better to opt for small packages, so as to open a little coffee at a time and consume it in the shortest possible time.

Therefore, open the package only when the ground or grains have to be removed for extraction. After that, place it in a hermetically sealed and non-transparent tin, inside a pantry with a constant temperature.

Putting coffee in the fridge is not entirely wrong, but you have to be very careful. Coffee is like a sponge and if it is not sealed and then placed next to other foods it absorbs the flavor. None of us want onion coffee!

It also suffers a lot from thermal changes, so doing it in and out of the fridge deteriorates it faster.

If, on the other hand, you buy coffee for your business, the best advice I can give you is never to fill the grinder hopper to the brim, but only open the coffee that is useful for serving.

In addition, grind a little coffee at a time: also in this case, the dispenser should not be filled with ground coffee, because as we said before, in just 15 minutes, 60% of the aroma has already vanished.

The importance of cleaning goes hand in hand. All equipment in contact with coffee must be cleaned, otherwise it would compromise the quality of the new coffee just purchased and opened.

Martina Mazzoleni

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