Coffee is a staple drink for many people. The caffeine present in coffee helps you stay awake and feel more active. Coffee comes in various types and tastes. You can buy the easy to make pre-ground coffee effortlessly available everywhere, but there is a huge difference between aroma, flavour, and richness of fresh ground and pre-ground coffee.
This is important if you want to make more than one type of coffee, such as espresso, French press, cappuccino or drip coffee. You can even buy whole coffee beans and grind them to store, but it tastes the same as store-bought pre-ground coffee. So, to get the rich flavour of fresh ground coffee, you will need to grind coffee beans right before you make the coffee in the right quantity so that you don’t waste any either.
Traditionally, coffee was made from whole beans, boiled in water to extract the flavour and richness and get the bitter brew. But by grinding the coffee, you get the richer taste as the surface area of coffee is increased. By grinding the coffee, the brewing time has also reduced. The finer the grind, the richer the taste and aroma.
But why bother to go to such an extent of grinding your coffee?
Well, here are 7 reasons you should grind your coffee:
The cafes make coffee so much better than you can at home. The machines play a part, but it is not just that. It is also the use of fresh ground coffee that matters.
You can even ask the barista to grind some coffee beans for you, but it would not give you the same taste and you are most likely to get disappointed. What makes their coffee taste better is that they don’t let the environment mess with the taste of the coffee.
Coffee beans are always in the process of ageing. This process has accelerated by grinding the coffee. This is because the surface area that is available to react with is increased. This is also why ground coffee tastes better than whole beans and is quicker to make.
But this process If you are very particular about the taste of your coffee, then you should use fresh ground coffee.
So, the flavour of coffee determines that it must be fresh ground rather than the pre.
Oxidation is the process of reaction with oxygen present in the air with objects. This process has easily been observed in the rusting of iron, and corrosion of other metals.
Similarly, the beans of coffee contain within them flavours and aroma that upon contact with oxygen in the air release themselves. This reduces the flavour that you get upon brewing. If the coffee bean is intact, the effect of oxygen from surrounding air will be only on the surface, thus saving the flavours inside.
Grinding the beans speeds up the oxidation process; some of which has already been lost to roasting. Even fresh ground coffee starts losing its properties within 15 minutes. The longer you leave your coffee in the air, it will get closer to being stale. Some of the other factors that cause oxidation are moisture content and heat.
It is also essential to store your beans correctly to reduce the oxidation rate. The bean should have been kept enclosed in an air-tight jar, and this jar should have been placed in a cool area. You can store them in the freezer as well, but many argue that freezing them deplete the beans of their natural oils.
A coffee bean contains water-soluble oil, thus upon contact with any moisture, it will start losing its natural oil. When the beans are whole, the oils have preserved within the beans and the effect of humidity will be less.
The solution to this is as simple as storing your coffee grounds in an airtight container, but let’s be real; every time you open the jar, you introduce some of the moisture from surrounding into the container.
Now if you have whole beans, this moisture will affect only the outer layer of the beans. The freshness would remain sealed inside the bean. But once you have ground your coffee, you are allowing moisture to seep through coffee, while taking away the flavour, richness and you end up with a stale brew.
Some people suggest keeping coffee in the refrigerator as well to keep it fresh, but professionals advise against this. They say that various odours from around the refrigerator can penetrate through your coffee and steal away its natural taste.
4. Carbon Dioxide Content
Carbon dioxide is responsible for transferring oils from beans into your coffee. This carbon dioxide gets created during the roasting process.
Now, if you make coffee from freshly roasted beans, you will get the flat taste. This is because the CO2; created during the roasting is being lost to the air. This process is called degassing. If you make coffee while CO2 is still escaping, it will create tiny bubbles in water and will not allow the coffee to infuse completely with the water.
Grinding of coffee allows carbon dioxide to escape quickly. But it is important to remember that this gas is also necessary to transfer the taste into water.
So, carbon dioxide is not bad for coffee, but the amount of it present in coffee will determine brewing time. The coffee blooms, or bubble up, upon contact with water. This identifies the process of gases leaving through water and the formation of crema. You will get the taste from the coffee once all the gases have escaped.
When it comes to fresh ground coffee vs pre-ground, pre-ground would have lost most of its CO2, while in whole beans the degassing process is slowed down and preserves the flavouring ability of the bean.
5. Contamination Prevention
Coffee does not only have its aroma but also can absorb odours from the surrounding, such as from the items you cook in the kitchen.
Thus, if you let ground coffee sit next to onions, you would be drinking onion flavoured coffee next. This is why it has not recommended storing coffee in the refrigerator as well. The benefit of grinding your coffee is that; the delicate oils are preserved within the bean, the aromas from around your kitchen do not contaminate your coffee, and you end up with the perfect cup of coffee.
So, contamination prevention also favours fresh grinding coffee.
6. Grind size
When you grind your coffee, you have control over the size of coffee grinds you want. The size ranges from extra coarse to a fine Turkish grind that feels like flour in texture.
Why should grind size matter? It is because the grind size determines the absorption level of coffee’s taste in water. The finer the grind, lesser the brewing time and stronger the flavour of the coffee.
Another reason why you should use fresh ground coffee is the fact that different types of brew and coffee machines and filters require different types of grind size. For instance, to pull an espresso shot, the time coffee has to infuse with water is very short. Therefore, a fine size of the grind is required. Whereas in the French press, the coffee grinds should be coarse enough to not pass through the filter.
View our expert grinder review that will help you to grind the exact size of coffee bean.
Thus, the benefit of grinding your own coffee is the control it gives you over choosing different flavours of coffee.
7. Preserving Freshness
Coffee is affected so much by so many factors in the surrounding that there is always a risk of losing its freshness and becoming stale quicker than expected. Only true coffee lovers know what a disappointment a stale coffee is. It can ruin your whole day.
The ground coffee becomes stale quicker as more area is exposed to air than in a bean. Buying whole beans and grinding them as required is thus very important to keep the coffee as fresh as can be. This quality also makes fresh grinding better than pre-ground.
Coffee is a combination of various elements that result in the flavour. These elements are volatile, water-soluble and can get contaminated by surroundings. It is essential to preserve these elements to get rich and enhanced coffee. These elements have preserved within the bean until they get roasted. Roasting is important for coffee beans as it allows the various elements inside to be able to react with water to form the perfect brew.
But it also means it will be losing its qualities over time due to the factors present in the atmosphere that react with coffee beans’ chemical make-up.
To slow down this process, it is better to buy whole bean coffee.
When it comes to fresh ground coffee vs pre-ground coffee, fresh ground coffee always tastes better than pre-ground. That is because all of the coffee’s richness, flavour and aroma has been preserved in the bean and is only exposed when it is ground.
Benefits of grounding your own coffee are that you get more control over the type of brew you want; you get to enjoy all the flavours of coffee, and the coffee stays fresh longer.