The coffee supply chain is long and loving. The amount of people who play a role in getting your favorite coffee beans to your kitchen is truly extraordinary. We created Atmos Vacuum Canister to be the final bit of love in this chain before you brew. By simply twisting the lid back and forth, Atmos sucks air out to prevent oxidation and extends coffee’s shelf life by up to 50%. The care put into each and every bag of coffee can now last longer.

Since Atmos is a new innovation, we’re sure you have a few lingering questions before bringing it home. After combing through our social media comments and customer support emails, we’ve rounded up our most frequently asked questions:

What exactly is a “vacuum canister”? I thought my coffee bag was airtight!

To set the stage, let’s define what a vacuum is. A vacuum is a closed system in which pressure is less than atmospheric. In order for this to happen, you need a constant amount of space (i.e. a rigid container) where air particles are removed. There’s a lot of airtight containers/bags out there that get rid of some air, but these aren’t necessarily a true vacuum. An easy way to tell if you don’t have a vacuum container is if your container shrinks (i.e. is it a bag or does it have a lid that collapses into the container). If your container shrinks, it is not a vacuum and will not decrease the pressure below atmospheric.

GIF of Air Entering Atmos Vacuum Canister and Shrinking Marshmallows Inside the Container

Umm Fellow, Atmos is definitely not the first vacuum canister on the market. What makes Atmos special?

Unlike other vacuum canisters, Atmos does not have an external pump or part that attaches and detaches. The magic of Atmos is all in the lid. This makes removing air from Atmos super simple. Also, the vacuum mechanism in Atmos is so strong that it reduces internal pressure down to half an atmosphere. In fact, pressure is so important to coffee freshness that we wrote a full blog post on it.

How long does the vacuum hold?

Atmos is optimized for regular to semi-regular use (daily or every couple days). It is intended to keep your coffee fresh while using it throughout the week, so the lid seal is designed to be open and closed easily. The lid is designed to hold a vacuum seal for about four to five days before it needs to be retwisted and resealed. But what about when you go on vacation? Or you want to keep that special coffee for extra special occasions? 

Air molecules are tiny, and we've found that eventually air will find its way through even the best seals. It’s just like why you need to regularly inflate your bike or car tires. For this reason, we don't recommend Atmos for long-term vacuum storage (more than a week). Obviously, you can store your beans for as long as you'd like, but they will not indefinitely preserve the freshness of your beans. 

Photos of Atmos Vacuum Canisters Filled with Coffee Beans Next to Ode Brew Grinder, and Photo of Atmos Vacuum Canister Pouring Beans Into Ode Brew Grinder

Hey! Mine is definitely not staying sealed for 4-5 days. What gives?

Here's a little breakdown of what might be happening and how to troubleshoot it. This issue is often caused by dust getting in the valve that helps remove the air to create a vacuum within your Atmos. This dust might have gotten in there at our factory line, and it can also be collected from the beans being stored in your Atmos. Regardless of how it got dusty in there, we have an easy way to fix this for you! 

Follow these steps:

  1. Remove the gasket that surrounds the lid.
  2. Remove the metal and paper filter.
  3. Locate the slit for the pressure valve.
  4. Blow really hard to clear any dust stored in there. If you have a can of pressurized air, even better!
  5. Clean the filters. Use a very clean brush on the paper filter, then clean the metal filter. Make sure it has fully dried.
  6. Clean the gasket and make sure it’s completely dry.
  7. Reseal your Atmos.

Once you've followed these steps, it should hold a seal between four and five days. Please remember that Atmos is designed to hold whole beans and not ground coffee. You can repeat the above process as you see fit to maintain your Atmos.

**If cleaning your filters or gasket do not work, you can contact us for replacement parts!

How does Atmos differ from other storage containers on the market?

Coffee (and other dry perishables) go stale for two main reasons: exposure to oxygen and humidity. Atmos and other containers on the market solve the oxygen problem by removing excess air. Atmos does so by lowering the pressure, whereas other devices remove excess air by physically shrinking the container. They're both effectively doing the same thing, but what makes Atmos unique is that it reduces both oxygen and humidity, subsequently extending the life of your coffee by up to 50%.

So, let's say your coffee has a 10-day window where it is in its prime (beginning 3-5 days off the roast date). Storing your coffee in Atmos will effectively give you a 15-day prime window. That's not to say your coffee isn't good after this timeframe, just that the unique flavor profile will begin to fade each day thereafter. On a side note, coffee that is more than 20 days off roast is the prime candidate for a killer cold brew, so don't let it go to waste if you find it no longer yields the perfect hot cup.

Since Atmos is a sealed environment, will this mean there is a buildup of CO2?

Commercial coffee bean bags with CO2 degassing valves are designed to relieve CO2 pressure build-up and prevent bag rupture, not to necessarily keep coffee fresher for longer. In a vacuum chamber, the pressure is low enough that CO2 buildup is not a concern. CO2 in the air around the beans is non-reactive and will not affect the flavor of the coffee. CO2 does, however, affect your coffee’s flavor once you start brewing, so make sure to bloom your bed of grounds before brewing!

Why did you make a clear glass Atmos if sunlight is a big contributor to coffee freshness?

If you anticipate storing coffee in your cupboard or a shaded area, clear glass is great! You can see the contents, which is especially important if you’re storing pantry items. But if your brew station is near a window or you want to put your Atmos Vacuum Canisters on display, then our matte black and matte white stainless steel make more sense. You can also keep your beans inside their original packaging when using the clear canister, so you can easily identify your beans while also keeping them protected from sunlight. We think both designs are beautiful, so it comes down to your preference and needs.

I have more than one Atmos. How can I label them to tell the difference?

Every Atmos can be labeled in a variety of ways. For instance, you can use liquid chalk pens on both matte and glass finishes. It washes off easily with a washcloth, soap, and water.  We also love using a strip of washi along the body, which is also useful for both finishes. You can also invest in adhesive washable chalkboard stickers, which are a great reusable option to label the exterior of your containers. Also, for glass options, you can cut the label off of your roaster’s packaging and slip it in with the beans. It’s a great way to appreciate your favorite branding. If you have the largest size (1.2L), you can keep the beans in the bag and put the bag directly inside of Atmos. 

How much coffee does each Atmos hold?

Atmos is available in three sizes. The .4 L Atmos holds up to 6 oz of coffee beans, the .7 L canister holds up to 10 oz of coffee beans, and the 1.2 L canister holds up to 16 oz of coffee beans. But remember, some varieties of coffee beans are bigger than others (looking at you, Pacamara).

Can I put Atmos in the freezer?

You can freeze Atmos, but it’s not the best use of the product. Since coffee beans should be frozen in individual servings so as to not refreeze and freeze beans continuously, Atmos doesn’t make the most sense. Atmos is intended to hold multiple servings, so it would be a waste of space in your freezer to put only one serving of beans inside. Also, placing Atmos in the freezer will also eventually reduce the life-span of the vacuum seal.

Can I store ground coffee in Atmos?

Nope! Powdery or ground substances do not play well with the seal and can clog the intake valve. Since we always advocate for coffee to be ground right before brewing, Atmos was not designed with the intention of storing ground coffee. In addition to ground coffee, please avoid putting any powdery substances inside Atmos such as spices (like turmeric or cinnamon), flours, sugars, and matcha tea.

And lastly, a boring but necessary question. How do I clean my Atmos?

Atmos is not dishwasher safe. When it comes to the lid, please prevent liquid from getting inside and do not clean the lid under running water. Instead, clean with a damp, non-abrasive sponge or cloth and use mild soap, if needed. For thorough cleaning, the gasket and filter can be removed and washed separately. Similarly, we recommend hand-washing the stainless steel and glass canister with a damp, non-abrasive sponge and mild soap. Using a coarse sponge, brush, or other rough surfaces will scratch the finish of the lid and canister. To remove any dust or powders, you can use a pressurized can of air or use a squeaky clean blush brush. 

No coffee grinds or powdery substances, got it. What else is good for storing in Atmos besides coffee beans?

The sky’s the limit. Atmos extends the shelf life of your pantry items, too. Toss in loose leaf tea, nuts, cookies, granola, candy, and other “relaxing” plant-based things you have in your house.

Atmos Vacuum Canisters in All Three Sizes of Glass and Matte Black on Pantry Shelf

If your question didn’t make the list, don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer service team at hello@fellowproducts.com. We’re here to help!