Grinding Your Own Coffee
Is Ground Coffee Always Rubbish?
In short, no. However delve the depths of social media and you will no doubt find a specialty coffee scene spouting the latest in brewing tips and tricks, where to get the best bag of coffee beans in any given place and the ritual online slaughtering of anyone who dares buy and consume pre-ground coffee.
There are definite benefits of buying your preferred bag of coffee as beans, as we will be explained later, however pre-ground bags have their place. Not everyone has the time, money or inclination to grind their own beans. This is even more true when first venturing into the world of coffee, sometimes its best to just be able to open a bag and get brewing.
Ground coffee can be great but can just as easily be dreadful, so we have put together a few tips to help you out…
1. Buy freshly roasted coffee. As soon as coffee is ground its start to lose aroma and begins to stale far quicker than beans will.
2. Ensure that the grind is right for your chosen brew method. Making Espresso? Make sure its ground fine enough. The same goes for filter, cafetière etc.
3. Buy Local or online and ideally from a specialty roaster. This should ensure that your coffee is as fresh as possible. Most specialty roasters will roast their coffee fresh each week and in small batches.
Buying Beans – Is It All That?
Although buying ground coffee is by no means bad, there are many benefits of buying beans. Predominantly FRESHNESS, AROMA, TASTE, GRIND and (for some) RITUAL.
FRESHNESS – This is one of the big benefits of buying beans. As soon as beans are ground they start to stale a lot more quickly. This is because a much larger surface is created from all the small ground particles. In turn this allows much more contact with oxygen causing oxidisation which accelerates the staling process.
AROMA – A bag of ground coffee smells great, but grinding your own smells so much better. The process of grinding your beans a pretty aggressive process. This may not sound like a good thing, however this process means lots of micro coffee particles will be floating around your kitchen, these same particles are carrying that lovely coffee aroma.
TASTE – While your beans stay whole all the lovely flavour is locked in. While there will be natural degradation in flavour as beans get older this process is significantly slower than in ground coffee. So grind what you need and keep the rest of your beans stored away in an airtight container.
GRIND – As you begin to play around with different brew methods (Aeropress, Espresso etc.) you will find that tweaks in the grind of your coffee makes a big difference to taste. Grinding your own coffee allows you to play around with the different brewing processes and what works for you.
RITUAL – This one is a bit more vague, however for many the ritual of making coffee from bean all the way through to the cup is a process that they relish. Just opening a bag of ground coffee and spooning it in wont quite cut it.
What To Look For When Buying A Grinder
If you have decided that you want to make the jump and invest in a grinder then its worth having a look around to see what your options are, because there are many. We have put together a few pro’s and con’s of the different types.
Pro’s: Cheap | Available in many shops on the high street and online
Con’s: Inferior grind quality | Often very loud | Often made with cheaper components so liable to break after a shorter amount of time
Pro’s: Far superior grind quality | Often made with better quality components so can last longer
Con’s: More expensive (expect to pay anything from £100+) | Not as easy to find on the Highstreet, especially if looking for the more upmarket models.