There are differing opinions when it comes to coffee beans and ground coffee. Some argue that purchasing whole coffee beans is best, whilst others argue that the convenience of ground coffee makes it the better pick.
Whatever your opinion, we’re going to break down the good and bad about coffee beans and ground coffee.
The Pros and Cons of Ground Coffee
Ground coffee is perfect for those who want to enjoy coffee instantly in the mornings and, as such, value convenience over flavour.
If you prefer the convenience and ease of use of ground coffee but want to get the most out of your grounds:
- Buy smaller batches of pre-ground coffee to keep your cup tasting fresh and delicious. Most ground coffee tends to lose a lot of flavour after two weeks.
- Store your grounds properly away from heat, moisture and light.
Even if you purchase pre-ground coffee in vacuum-sealed packaging, you’re still going to lose out on the fresh flavours associated with freshly-ground coffee.
If you choose to buy whole beans instead and grind them the flavour will be significantly stronger and packed with flavours.
Why Do We Grind Coffee?
Beans themselves have a protective layer that protects the aroma and flavour found inside. By grinding the coffee beans, the water is able to extract those flavours into your cup of coffee.
However, after being ground, these beans have a limited life span and begin to lose their flavour instantly. The longer ground coffee is left for, the blander the coffee gets. That’s why it’s so important to grind as close to extraction as possible, to ensure you’re rewarded with all the coffee beans had to offer in terms of flavour, aroma, and complexity.
The Pros and Cons of Whole Coffee Beans
If you’re looking for quality and complexity, then buying whole coffee beans is your best option. Purchasing coffee in bean form gives you ultimate control over how you grind and brew your coffee in the morning. Whether that be in an espresso machine, percolator, or French press, you can grind for your requirement each time!
Here’s how it works:
- Grind size determines brewing speeds – smaller grounds extract quickly, whilst larger ones take longer.
- Coffee tasting bitter? This can be fixed. Bitterness within your coffee means you have over extracted your coffee. By grinding your beans at a coarser setting, you reduce the surface area for extraction.
- Coffee tasting sour? This happens when coffee is under extracted. Using a finer grind size (increasing surface are) can increase the speed of extraction.
Why Should I Consider Whole Coffee Beans Instead of Ground Coffee?
Fragrance and Flavour
A fresher bean means improved aroma and taste. The fresher the coffee, the better it tastes. With ground coffee having a larger surface area than coffee beans, the oxidation process quickens. This process results in lost flavour and aroma, if left to take place too long before extraction.
Coffee beans, however, are hygroscopic. This means that flavours readily shift based on different factors and elements within their surroundings. By not breaking up the beans, their volatile flavours are preserved for longer.
Keeping Your Coffee Fresh
When buying whole beans and grinding them just before extraction, you guarantee yourself a fresh, high-quality brew.
Whole bean coffee takes longer to oxidise than pre-ground coffee, due to the smaller surface area. By storing whole bean coffee and grinding only what you need before brewing, you can effectively lengthen the lifespan of coffee and get an extra 1-2 months’ worth of freshness.
Save Money for a Bit More Effort
Grinders are an inexpensive and great gadget for those who want fresh coffee every time. If you’re still on the fence about buying one, trying a hand grinder could be a worthwhile steppingstone into freshly ground coffee on a budget. If you enjoy the drink and the experience as a whole, you can upgrade to a faster electric grinder.
It's Part of the Coffee Experience
The process of brewing coffee is meant to be engaging. There are a number of ways to create your morning coffee, utilising different techniques, kits, and types of coffee.
Coffee breaks should be seen as a treat. Opening a fresh bag of whole coffee beans and going through the process of preparing it is a reward within itself. Taking a coffee break encourages you to take some time and properly enjoy every part of the process.
Whichever you choose to buy, ground or whole coffee there are things to consider: freshness, control and convenience. Whole beans will give you a fresher cup whilst ground coffee is ready without any additional work.