Whole Beans vs Ground Coffee?
For the best cup of coffee should I buy whole beans or pre-ground coffee? Does it really make a difference?
Ground coffee is convenient. Straight from the bag directly into your coffeemaker. Is there really a benefit to buying whole beans and grinding at home? Can I just skip that step and get to my coffee?
Does it really make that big of a difference to buy pre-ground versus whole bean coffee?
Why buy whole bean coffee?
Control the Grind!
When you buy coffee as whole bean you are in complete control and when and how the beans are ground. Do you prefer steel blade or burr grinder? We recommend burr grinder for the best control over your grind and you can read more of why we prefer burr grinders over steel blades.
Whatever grinder you use, you control the setting (or grind time for steel blade) for ground size.
Most bagged ground coffee is fine ground for drip coffee makers or espresso. Bag ground coffee tends to be too fine ground for a French press. By grinding your beans, you control exactly how fine or course your grind is to fit your preferred brewing method.
Freshness you can Taste
Coffee begins to lose the delicate oils of the bean and aromas begin to fade as soon as the whole beans are ground. Pre-ground coffee is sealed to preserve as much of the aroma as possible, but the oils will continue to break down even in a sealed bag. The longer the ground coffee sits before use, the more the richness of the coffee fades. Pre-ground coffee can even take on new flavors by picking up odors and other smells which can overpower the natural flavor of the coffee. Air tight containers may prevent the cross-odors but stale grounds are inevitable.
Try it for yourself! There is a noticeable difference between fresh ground coffee and the taste of pre-ground coffee. Ground coffee has greater surface area than its whole bean counterparts, and that increased surface area speeds up the process of oxidation that leads to stale coffee. Ground coffee immediately begins to lose its distinct flavor profile. The finer the grind of the coffee the more quickly it goes stale. The best way to preserve the rich flavor of the bean is to store as whole bean and grind the exact amount for your daily use. Grinding your beans at the market is better than buying pre-ground, but fresh ground is always best!
How much ground coffee to make one cup of coffee?
One Tablespoon of ground coffee for every cup of water is the guideline for making the perfect cup of coffee, but everyone has different preferences. When I am deliberately making strong coffee that will immediately be diluted by pouring over ice for instant iced coffee, I prefer 3 Tablespoons for every two cups. This 1.5 ground coffee to 1 cup water for coffee ratio may also be your preference if you tent to add a lot of milk to cream to your coffee.