One of Fellow’s newest products to hit shelves is the Atmos Vacuum Canister. And it’s an exceptional way to store freshly roasted coffee (or anything that stales, for that matter). The Atmos has been in development since the spring of 2014. Preorders shipped in November 2018.
The team at Triple Bar Coffee was lucky enough to get their hands on a couple of units to evaluate them. We’ve documented our findings in this review.
- Easy to use – The Atmos is super easy to use; just twist the lid back and forth to pressurize, then press the button on the top to release the pressure
- Protects the beans – The unit keeps air from tainting your freshly roasted coffee beans
- Beautiful design – Fellow is known for their aesthetic products; the Atmos meets all expectations on that font
- Satisfying whooooosh – Pressing the button to release the pressure is oh-so-satisfying
- Multiple sizes and styles – With three sizes and two styles to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find the one that meets your needs
- Manual takes time – Twisting the lid back and forth to pressurize the canister can take some time, especially as you empty the canister
- Not dishwasher safe – The Atmos is not dishwasher safe, but neither are many of our other coffee trinkets, so we’re used to doing the dishes by hand
Overall Score: 4.8/5
Fellow produces hight quality products and the Atmos is no exception. The Atmos feels solid in your hand and we think our canisters are going to stand the test of time.
Fellow priced the Atmos right in line with other coffee canisters. To us it’s worth every penny considering it keeps air out of our coffee beans.
The design of the Atmos is very modern, sleek, and sophisticated. Whether you opt for the glass or the matte design, you will not be disappointed.
There are a variety of sizes to choose from. We’re certain you’ll find the size you need.
How It Works
We all know that stuff gets stale over time. From breads to cookies to crackers, there aren’t many foods that hold up well to sitting out in the open for prolonged periods of time. Coffee, unfortunately, suffers from the same afflictions as cookies. If you leave it out in the open, it will begin to oxidize, which is a fancy scientific way of saying it starts to lose its deliciousness. The longer you expose oxygen to coffee, the more it degrades.
Slowing the Degradation
To slow this, there are a number of things the industry does which range from using one-way valves on bags to infusing the bags with nitrogen as they are filled at the roasting facility. The problem is that once you open the coffee and break the factory seal, there’s not a great way to keep the air out. You can always tuck your beans away in a container with a one-way valve or pour them into a Ball jar, but ultimately there still is oxygen inside that will harm your beans.
This problem is no different than what you’ve probably observed with freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. Even if you put bread in a sealed, airtight bag, it will still begin to stale over time. To fix this, you need to remove all the air from the bag. Thankfully, the smart folks over at Fellow found just the way to do that with the Atmos.
The Atmos likely got its name from the word “atmosphere”, which can be a unit of pressure in physics. The device is essentially a container that can be pressurized. The technology is similar to those vacuum storage bags or vacuum food saving bags. You stick a bunch of stuff in an airtight space and suck the air out of the space.
The unique thing about the Atmos is that you are the vacuum. The top of the lid rotated back and forth around half a turn each direction. When you make this twisting motion, you gradually pull air out of the container. The Atmos makes use of a an integrated vacuum pump, which prevents any air from sneaking back into the container. We think it’s a pretty ingenious way of getting rid of the air. Fellow claims that, with the Atmos, you can extend the shelf life of your coffee by up to 50%.
The Atmos comes in three different sizes. The sizes are 0.4 liters, 0.7 liters, or 1.2 liters. We picked up two of the 1.2 liter units and one 0.7 liter unit. The 0.4 liter is quite small, so we didn’t want to use that for our coffee.
The Matte Black Canister
The canister comes in either matte black or clear glass. The matte black Atmos has a really nice texture to it. It’s not smooth, but rather like an ultra fine sand paper. This makes it incredibly easy to hold onto and prevent any accidental drops, especially when you’re twisting the lid back and forth to remove air from the inside.
An added benefit to the matte black unit is that there is no way for sunlight to touch your precious coffee beans. Sunlight can seriously alter the flavor of the beans for the worse, so it’s always a good idea to tuck your beans away from ambient light sources. With the Atmos being 100% opaque, you can leave your coffee right out in the open.
The Glass Canister
As for the glass Atmos units, we think they’re still a great investment for other dry goods that you may want to prevent from staling. Cereals, cookies, crackers, or pasta are all great options for the glass canister. If you don’t mind putting your coffee away in the cabinet when you’re not using it, you should definitely consider the glass container for your whole beans.
Makeup of the Atmos
Each Atmos is made up of three main parts: the canister base, the silicone seal, and the vacuum lid. When the device is pressurized, the silicone seal is the ultimate harmonized between the base and the lid. It keeps the unit airtight and prevents any damage from the lid compressing against the base.
The Atmos has an integrated vacuum pump that is activated by twisting the lid back and forth. The pump is completely manual, but in the future, we’d love to see an upgraded model that is battery powered so that you don’t have to twist the lid so much.
Pressurizing the Atmos
As you twist the lid back and forth, you’ll feel the resistance increase quite a bit. This is because your canister is becoming pressurized and it’s getting harder to pull the last bit of air out of it. On the top of the lid, there is a little circular indicator that, when the canister is pressurized sufficiently, will reveal a small green ring. This indicator is a great way of letting the user know they can stop twisting.
Releasing the Pressure
After you’ve pressurized the container, the lid will stay suctioned onto the base of the unit. To release the pressure, there is a button on the top of the lid. Press this down fully and you’ll hear a satisfying hissing sound. This is the sound of air reentering the container. Once the hissing sound has stopped, the lid can easily be pulled off of the base of the container.
It’s been pretty neat to see how strong the vacuum in the unit is; we haven’t been able to remove the lid yet without first depressurizing it.
The Atmos isn’t limited to being used for coffee, as we mentioned above. It’s the perfect kitchen tool for combatting staleness in any food. We’ve found it’s best suited for dry, whole foods like pasta, cookies, or hard candies.
The Atmos doesn’t perform as well with powdered goods. This is because fine powders can get suctioned through the filter on the lid and end up clogging the vacuum pump. We wouldn’t recommend using the Atmos for anything smaller than the holes on the underside of the lid.
Cleaning and Maintenance
As with any kitchen appliance, there are specific ways to clean and maintain your new Atmos. We’d like to preface this section by letting you know that the Atmos is not microwave safe, dishwasher save, or oven safe. If you want your Atmos to last awhile, we recommend not putting it in any of those places.
When you first open your Atmos, you’ll want to clean the entire unit before its first use. There are separate cleaning instructions for the lid and the canister. Don’t clean the lid under running water or submerged it. This can cause all kinds of problems with the vacuum pump. You’ll want to separate the lid from the filter and the gasket. The gasket is the rubber ring that holds the metal filter onto the lid. You can wash the filter, gasket, and canister with soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge. The lid should be cleaned with a damp cloth, but make sure not to let any water get inside.
After you clean the Atmos for the first time, make sure to leave everything out on a towel or drying rack until there is no moisture left on the components. From there, you can reassemble the unit.
Over time, you may find that your Atmos gets dirty from coffee oils or cookie crumbs. Follow the care instructions outlined above and you’ll be all set to use your Atmos again after it dries.
A couple of other things you’ll want to remember with your Atmos:
- Be sure not to put any liquid in your canister; the vacuum pump doesn’t work with liquids
- Never store your Atmos upside-down; if you do, small particles can get stuck inside the lid and prevent the vacuum pump from working properly
- Avoid storing fine substances like flours or ground coffee in the container; it can easily jam your vacuum pump and render your Atmos useless
Overall, we really are enjoying the Atmos Vacuum Canister from Fellow. The container perfectly locks in all of the delicious flavors of freshly roasted coffee beans in and keeps harmful air out. We especially like the versatility that the container has to offer: you can use it with all kinds of foods from pasta or nuts to hard candies or cookies. We love the ‘whooshing’ sound when you depressurize the canister, but aren’t super fond of how many twists it takes to pressurize it. In the future, we’d like to see a battery-powered version that can pressurize at the press of a button.