* Prices may differ from that shown
A couple of weeks ago I got a bit carried away with my steam cleaner after doing some very successful cleaning with it outside on old garden metal furniture. As the cleaning bug clearly hit me, I went into the kitchen and set about waiting for the steam cleaner to heat up again after filling it up again and went about steam cleaning my worktops. Even after a year and a couple month's ownership later of a rather average Morphy Richards machine, I forgot that the little built in hose often has a mind of its own and at this point after steaming the work tops clean of grease and dried in coffee powder due to my new found love of fresh filter coffee, one of my supermarket Morrisons storage jars ending up flying off the work top and smashing to the floor. Thus, a new set of storage jars had to be sought and not any old set - what I wanted this time was exactly what my late mother had purchased five years ago - but finding a country style of large black gloss china/terracotta storage jars has been difficult to say the least.
The Producers, The Product, The Price & The Promise
These days there seems to be a rather strange occurrence going on for storage jars. On the one hand you have supermarket specials priced at bargain prices and then disappear for good to strange household appliance brands such as Morphy Richards thinking they can outdo the number one brand for premium jars, Brabantia by producing bright coloured stainless steel painted pieces such as bread bins and matching storage jars. How can one justify a brushed painted stainless steel canister jar priced at £13 to £15 for ONE jar by Morphy Richards when you can buy three silver stainless steel canisters with additional windows made by the specialists for storage and kitchen bin makers at £20? Thus, at the time of purchase and not putting up with the slightly garish bright red canisters offered by Morphy Richards, my money went to Brabantia, the maker of metal bins, storage bins and those rather expensively known bread bins. I still own the large capacity Brabantia push kitchen bin that we've had in our family for more than ten years, so it made sense to go with a company we've already had experience of, knowing that the design should be perfect and better than its rivals.
Each Brabantia "stainless steel" brushed jar has a 1.4 litre capacity, matching black pull lids with a rubberised plastic collar on the main jar that allows each lid to "flavour seal click and seal" each time they are removed or placed back on. Single "anti-static" view windows that sit vertically at the front with the classy brand name located on the bottom are handy and stylish. The jars have flush bases and the light silver colour matches the interior, handy to see how much capacity you have, not just helped by the large windows at the front.
Brabantia claim that this product is able to hold up to 500 grams of coffee or 1kg of sugar whilst the metal type chosen is a corrosion free metal, designed for longer life including a protective base. A 10-year guarantee also comes with this product for extra peace of mind. On their UK site, this set of three storage canister tins cost £26-75 but I found them at my local Home and Hardware store for £19-99 whilst Amazon UK sell these from £21-50.
General Quality & Design
Generally to the eye and fingers, this set of three medium sized food storage canisters are really quite classy to behold and ripped out of the packaging box appear to be well made. Smooth, thin, well made and flush fitting, they don't give anything away until you actually start to use them! The jars to the eye look very classy made up of different metal colours, designed to give a contrasting look and hence give off a professional look that has been taken directly from Brabantia's expertise with their larger kitchen press release bins and pedal bins. What I do like about these canister storage jars is that the brushed stainless steel finish seems to repel finger marks really well - but if you've been used to black storage jars generally - the Brabantia design here just moves things along to what I'm used to already.
The jars are quite compact, with a general size of height 17cm by width of 33cm and a depth of 10.5cm.
The interior doesn't have the same stainless brushed steel coating as the exterior jars but individually have more of a helpful bright chrome nature, easy to see what is in the jars when opened up and naturally light up when the black lids are taken off revealing the interior that reflects of the natural light in my kitchen not just by the handy view window at the front to see what you have placed in the jar. Smooth and grain free, the interior is very easy to wash out after every use.
However much the quality feels of the brushed stainless steel and the way in which the black lids just magnetically and magically hook on and off the top opening of each jar, I haven't been that impressed with the flexible like nature of the plastic windows - because even if Brabantia have gone to the trouble of adding a neat and flush border surround of contrasting darker coloured smooth metal to highlight the window, the window acrylic isn't a fixed design, moves about when pushed with a finger and actually feels liable to break with long term ownership. This aspect doesn't just limit the window from inadvertently being poked all the time by inquisitive minds and fingers, but also a worrying aspect of using the storage jars for dry and bulky foods such as certain pasta shapes that could push against the window if they are stored in the canister.
General Performance & Downsides
Now that I am left with just one storage jar from the original terracotta set I had, I'm at a loss as to whether to keep it or turf it. I wouldn't be of this opinion had Brabantia properly designed these jars gleamed from the usual process when cleaning just bought food prep articles before use. At first I thought I had bought a dud set of three jars as each Brabantia storage jar leaks with water, which isn't exactly what I expected from a company I've known to build distinctly better products. Checking other reviews about this product both on review sites and Amazon UK equally report from buyers and owners that Brabantia have purposefully made these jars leakable, thus in the hope that buyers would probably look for other known "windowless" canister jars that Brabantia also sell. So much for being completely airtight, then.
To test the theory I stored cream crackers in one of the canister tins to see how they would fare, and to see if the "fresh click seal" on the lids and collar would keep the crackers crisp. Within a week the crackers were quite crisp, but after the second week, some of them started to become soggy, obviously with signs of air leaking in from the base. As much as I would like to say Brabantia have done their homework here, cheaper storage tins that have no perforations on the base are the way to go, regardless of the look they project.
Aside from the leaking nature, the Brabantia storage tins are fairly easy to fill and fairly easy to access dry food such as tea bags, sugar (though I would suggest keeping the sugar in the paper bag and putting it inside the canister) coffee, pasta and other dry foods. With a general diameter of 11 cm, I can easily access what I need at the time of need, but it is a pity that Brabantia's matt gloss black lids are slippery to the touch if trying to grip the lids with wet hands and the lids are a concave design at the top with no chance of these jars being able to stack. Thus, it's another couple of design issues to apparent evidence where design over function has been exercised here.
Brabantia also produce these jars with a matt black metal coating and matching black lids but cost on average £9-50 direct from Brabantia UK to £11 with other sellers. There are also other round canister jars that have different lids and no view windows - but measure the same dimensions with the 1.4 litre capacity sizing.
Although I can't find the supermarket storage pots that my late mother bought five years ago from our local Morrisons, I hold out in hope for other supermarket versions of likewise storage terracotta pots that don't leak and thus offer far more versatility with airtight seals being the first port of call over a solid base. Although Brabantia have produced a good set of stylish storage tins for effective dry solids and food prep, I find the whole design a bit of a disappointment with the excellent ownership of a likewise Brabantia metal bread bin and a far longer owned kitchen dust bin that appear to both, be of better design even if in the first couple of years, our family had problems with some of the build quality of the bin lids. It is unforgiveable that in the first place that whilst the silver finish of the outer exterior seems to be lovely on the eye, when it comes down to being versatile and practical, Brabantia's set of 3 storage canisters are left wanting as well as leaking. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2013.
One of the items that has been in my kitchen the longest is this set of 3 Brabantia storage containers. I was actually given these 1.4 litre containers as a house warming gift when I moved into my house some 9 years ago, and I've never changed them.
The containers themselves are in shiny stainless steel with a polisher shine, and come with black lids and clear windows in the front of the tubs. The black lids just pop on tightly, there are no clips,hinges, or screwing on involved. They are very easy to use, although the lids can be tricky to remove with wet hands or if, like my boyfriend, you have absolutely no nails due to a bad biting habit.
They are the same size as the sets you often see designated for tea, coffee, and sugar, although these allow you to make your own choice, bearing no writing on the front other than a small, unobtrusive Brabantia logo. I like the fact that I can store whatever I like in these - I use mine for flour, sugar, and dried fruit, and keep them on the side to hand whenever I need to bake!
The clear window is a feature I particularly like, at it allows me to see when I am starting to get low on a certain item, and to go shopping accordingly. The canister is exactly the right size for a bag of sugar or mixed fruit, but I do find I can't quite get a whole bag of flour into the canister. This isn't really a problem for me as I bake often enough for the remainder not to go stale.
The containers are easy to wash in the sink, I've never had any issues with anything sticking to the inside. Because of the shiny steel finish, I do avoid scrubbing these and wash them with a soft cloth, and find the outside can be buffed to a high shine and made to look as good as new with just a tiny dot of baby oil. After nine and a bit years, these still work perfectly - the lids still seal tightly, and apart from a couple of small dents, they still look shiny and new!
Although I plan on changing my kitchens colour scheme in my new home, I'll still take these with me, as even though they may not match my kitchens theme, they are still attractive and far too good to throw or give away. They do also sell these in different colours, so perhaps I may even buy some more of these when I move.
At around £20 the set, they are perhaps a little pricier than similar products, but having gotten nine years use out of my set, and bearing in mind that they do come with a 10 year guarantee, I think they were worth every penny.
Category: Kitchen storage / Cookware Utensil / These polished stainless steel canisters are designed to house tea coffee sugar rice couscous or other dry consumables / A perspex window at the front gives a flash of the contents inside which lets you know at a glance what you're looking for and also looks stylish if stored on a kitchen work-top / Flavour-tight click on lids keep food fresher for longer and lock in flavour / Made from corrosion-resistant materials these canisters are durable and come with a 10 year guarantee.