Blue Bottle recalls highly touted coffee bean cans due to explosions

Graphic: Blue Bottle

It’s too easy to dunk on Blue Bottle for unveiling its coffee-bean packaging to great fanfare—Daily Coffee News reports the company promised its new bean cans are “revolutionizing the way we think about coffee freshness”—only to recall said packages because some might explode. Har har har. It’s far more interesting, to me anyway, to discuss why these coffee canisters might explode.

Beans can inflate about 20% during roasting as they absorb gasses. Afterwards, the beans slowly release the carbon dioxide they’ve absorbed during roasting in a process called de-gassing. That’s why many coffee bags have that one-way valve on them to let carbon dioxide escape while prevent staling oxygen from entering. (They’re not smellin’ holes, FYI.) Without those valves, bags would puff up with gasses.

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Or, a container might explode. Presumably it’s the build-up in gases with no release mechanism that caused some Blue Bottle can lids to “detach rapidly with force” upon opening. Per the company’s recall notice, it has received 13 reports of such incidents, with one resulting in a cut on a person’s finger. Customers who purchased any of the 194,000 containers may return them to retailers or call Blue Bottle toll-free at 1-888-222-6246 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday for instructions on how to return the can. Find more details here.

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.