Ankomn is a innovative Taiwan based company that specializes itself in high end plastic modelling. Since a while now, the company is also looking into developing new products and with the Turn-and-seal they hope to dominate the vacuum container market. Already proven to work amazingly on fresh products, the company asked for my help to test the Turn-and-Seal technology on fresh coffee beans. What are the effects of this product on the beans? How does it improve or affect the state of the coffee while using the Turn-and-Seal? Let’s find out!
Ankomn: Turn-and-Seal – Background information.
The Turn-and-Seal is a hard plastic container that uses a patented vacuum pump technology to keep products fresh for a longer period of time. The technology consists out of a turnable knob on the lid that sucks out oxygen from the container with each turn. This mechanism is developed in a way so that a 50% vacuum can be created in the container. To give a little more insight into this percentage:
A home use motorized vacuum container will have a 20% vacuum and a vacuum pump will create a maximum of 40%. Ankomn tested that their product creates a 50% vacuum and that it can be maintained for about two weeks. The two weeks are a huge step forward compared to the five to ten days limit that most vacuum pumps have.
What else is exciting to tell about the Ankomn Turn-and-Seal, is that it can be cleaned when it gets dirty inside. The mechanism is easily deconstructed and put back together by following a simple video. I can already disclose that it works like a charm.
Ankomn Turn-and-Seal: Test set-up
To test the Ankomn Turn-and-Seal I wanted to have two portions of fresh coffee beans from the same roasting date, same batch and same roaster. For this I turned to my friend Cilia Pothast, founder of Soet Koffie in The Netherlands. She was excited for her coffee to be part of the testing and provided me with two identical portions of 350 grams of coffee.
The coffee provided is called the Colombia Harmony and has beautiful notes of Caramel, Chocolate and Nuts.
For the test I put one batch of beans into the Ankomn Turn-and-Seal and leave one batch in the original package that has a degassing valve and a ziplock. Each week I will brew coffee out of both packages at the same time, leaving both packages open for the same amount of time.
I will test the freshness of the beans, the flavours of the coffee, the crema, body and structure.
At the end of 5 weeks of testing I want to be able to tell in what way the Ankomn Turn-and-Seal affects the freshness of the coffee, as well as the flavours. For this test I requested the help of two people for brainstorming the results: Cilia Pothast and Ron de Wit (SCA event manager and founder of ronscoffee.nl ).
Ankomn Turn-and-Seal: The testing.
Both packages are opened and I brew two identical shots of espresso to make notes of the coffee.
The espresso is beautiful in flavour and in aroma. When smelling the coffee it gives of aromas of caramel and nuts with a cotton candy sweetness. The coffee starts off nutty with hints of macadamia nuts, a faint hint of liquorice and a chocolate flavour that is close to cocoa. The aftertaste brings a sweet caramel to the table as well as a chocolate note. The aftertaste lingers for a long time.
The crema is thick and fluffy, the body is full and the structure is thick and creamy. This is a coffee perfectly suited for a test; the tasting notes are obvious and easily detected by anyone.
Turn-and-Seal Week one:
At the end of the week I noticed that the Turn-and-Seal vacuum indicator showed a sign of decreased vacuum. I checked the lid for dirt or dust but could not find any. I turned the lid a couple of times again to increase the vacuum once more. The vacuum seal reacted immediately and the vacuum was back in order again. This was the only time the vacuum seal failed to work. In hindsight it is my impression that it had to do with the freshness of the beans and the degassing that was still going on.
After one week there is no difference between the batches of coffee. Both the freshness and flavours are still the same. This was to be expected after such a short period of time since the coffee is only getting better at this point in time.
Turn-and-Seal Week two:
I came back from a couple of days of working and the seal was still in tact. I contacted Ankomn about the decrease of the vacuum in the container the week before. They explained to me that if it occurs again, I can clean the vacuum seal through the use of a video they sent me. This week I started brewing the coffee twice. When brewing the coffee there was, once again, no notable change in the coffees. The body and structure remained the same as well as the flavours of both coffees.
Turn-and-Seal Week three:
After returning from a trip I noticed that the vacuum of the seal was still in tact. I gave the knob a couple of turns to make sure the vacuum was still optimal. When brewing the coffee this week I noticed a change. The normal packaged coffee was showing signs of a decrease in structure of the crema and the coffee. The coffee in the Turn-and-Seal was not showing this decrease. The flavours in both were showing signs of changes as well. The normal packaged coffee seemed to have more distinct flavours than the vacuum packaged coffee.
Turn-and-Seal Week four:
Looking at the vacuum seal over the week, there was no need to turn the knob for an increase of vacuum in the container.
The decrease in structure and crema with the normal packaged coffee seems to increase rapidly now. The Ankomn Turn-and-Seal keeps the coffee fresher in terms of crema and structure. When it comes to flavour, however, the normal packaged coffee tastes better now.
The crema of the normal packaged coffee looses it’s structure much quicker and the structure of the coffee itself is also lacking in terms of freshness. The Turn-and-Seal delivers a great fresh cup of coffee with a thick fluffy crema and bold creamy structure. The flavours seem less apparent, especially the nice caramel and chocolate aftertaste seem to become a little fainter. The normal packaged Colombia Harmony still has all the notes albeit a little less strong than in the previous weeks: macadamia, nuts, caramel and chocolate. The aftertaste also lingers quite a while.
Turn-and-Seal Week five:
This is the last week of the testing. I did not have to turn the knob of the Ankomn Turn-and-Seal at all over the course of the week. The seal is doing its job admirable so far.
The coffee is really showing differences now; when pulling shots from both packages I see huge differences in terms of freshness and flavours.
To pull a shot of the normal packaged coffee I now need to adjust my grind settings. The vacuum packaged Colombia Harmony still gets a good crema with the original settings albeit a little less than before. The coffee stays fresher in the container.
The flavours are a different matter. Where the flavours decrease in strength naturally in the normal packaging, the Ankomn Turn-and-Seal shows a real decrease in flavour now. You can still detect flavours but it is harder to do so with each passing week.
Ankomn Turn-and-Seal: Test results explained.
I called in the help of Cilia Pothast and Ron de Wit to brainstorm about the conclusions of the test.
How is it possible that the Ankomn Turn-and-Seal looses flavour but retains the freshness of the Soet Koffie Colombia Harmony?
For this we need to look at this from a scientific point of view. The Ankomn Turn-and-Seal manages to create a 50% vacuum in the container. The oxygen is pumped out of the container but, this in turn, makes the CO2 come out of the coffee beans more rapidly. Since CO2 is responsible for the flavours in your beans you will want to keep the gas inside your beans for a while longer. So storing coffee in a vacuum container creates an increased loss of flavours, but hat about the freshness?
The freshness of coffee is affected by oxygen. As soon as oxygen comes in contact with coffee it starts to oxidize. Look at it as if you just sliced and apple. The apple will go brown and mushy within hours. The same happens with your fresh coffee. The Ankomn Turn-and-Seal takes away a lot of the oxygen when you turn the knob. This ensures that the coffee oxidizes less than in a normal package. In short the coffee stays fresher for a longer period of time because there is less oxygen inside the Turn-and-Seal.
Ankomn Turn-and-Seal: Conclusion of the test.
The Ankomn Turn-and-Seal does exactly what it promises: the product creates a great vacuum inside the container that will remain for at least two weeks. The coffee beans inside the container are kept fresher for a significantly longer time in comparison to coffee kept in a normal packaging. The normal packaged coffee (a package with a degassing valve and ziplock) holds its flavours longer because the CO2 cannot evaporate as quickly as in a vacuum.
What I liked a lot about the Ankomn Turn-and-Seal is that you are able to clean the vacuum mechanism easily. The vacuum seal is a great indicator that shows if the vacuum is still in place. The user friendliness is a big plus on the Ankomn Turn-and-Seal part.