The age-old debate, ground beans vs whole beans. Is there a definitive answer? … The reality is, no, sort of. There are pros and cons to both whole beans and ground beans. Also, times when one is more preferable than the other.
Whole beans are often favored for their ability to hold their flavor longer. This is because the essential oils in the beans are not exposed to outside air and thus stay in the bean for a much longer period of time. This also leads to drastically longer shelf life, nearly 10 times longer in fact, making whole beans more economical overall.
With whole beans retaining their flavorful oils longer, grinding beans for each cup or pot of coffee ensures a fresher, more flavor-filled brew. Another advantage is that you can choose the coarseness of your grind to really dial in your perfect cup of coffee. And that’s what we all desire is it not?
Some downsides, naturally you will need to purchase a coffee grinder. Additionally, grinding coffee for each pot or cup will require some extra preparation time.
Arguably one the greatest aroma’s man will ever know is freshly ground coffee beans. That smell is created by the oils within the bean becoming airborne. While the aroma is pleasing, its less flavor making it in your cup, and over time the oils will all become airborne. If you go through bags of coffee faster then you can buy them, ground beans are a good option. After 7-9 days the freshness and robust flavor of ground beans will begin to fade rapidly.
The downside, to ensure freshness ground beans need to be consumed much faster, the upside being they are more convenient than whole beans.
The daily grind
How you grind your coffee will impact the overall flavor of what you brew. Here are some things to consider.
- Generally, a medium grind with work well with a drip coffee maker, taking into account filter type can also affect the overall flavor.
- The finer the grind, the stronger the flavor, though extra fine grinds are generally only used in expresso type machines.
- Coarse grind work best in press-style pots or French press.
Alternative Brewing Methods
In the middle-east coffee is commonly prepared by pouring hot water over fine grinds inside your cup. The coffee grinds will settle to the bottom as the coffee steeps, often referred to as “mud coffee”.
Some Nordic countries will boil coffee, resulting in a stronger & bitter flavor.
Another interesting brewing technique is cold brewing. While it may seem counter-intuitive, coffee can be brewed in cold water overnight and is often prepared this way for iced coffee.
Whether you prefer whole beans or ground beans, we can all agree that different situations call for different beans and no one way is best. (Although truth be told, we love whole beans as CoffeePros)