Coffee! The perfect boost on those bleary-eyed mornings, or an excuse to catch up with friends, in recent years Brits have definitely become more enthusiastic coffee drinkers, and exposure to coffee drinks like lattes and Americanos in high street cafes have introduced many of them to an alternative to the traditional instant blend. Consequently, there is a buoyant and growing market for fancier coffees to be consumed at home.
It is here that the choice between coffee beans and pre-ground coffee must be made. Enthusiasts and experts will readily tell you that buying coffee beans is always a superior choice to ready-ground coffee, and here we look at the reasons behind such claims.
Whether you are making a regular coffee, a flat white, cappuccino or a latte, they all start with fresh coffee grounds, bursting with flavor and goodness. Coffee grounds come in packages conveniently ready to add to your machine or cafetiere, while beans need to be ground first, using a special machine before using the ground coffee produced to make your drink. So why favor the coffee freshly ground from beans over the pre-ground versions?
#1 – Coffee beans produce fresher coffee
Often beans need to be ground to maximize exposure of the beans to water, but once this process is carried out the coffee grounds are affected by oxygen, and begin to lose flavor and freshness.
#2 – Using coffee beans reduces the risk of unbalancing the coffee oils
Coffee beans have natural oils which can be affected by dampness, and this is much more likely to happen once the beans have been ground; spoiling the taste to some extent.
#3 – Coffee beans last longer than pre-ground coffee
All coffee should be stored in a dark, cool (not cold) place – and in an airtight container; avoiding exposure to air, light and extreme temperatures. Coffee beans can stay fresh in these conditions a lot longer than they could if pre-ground.
#4 – Grinding coffee beans means you can control the fineness of the grind
If you take a look at packets of pre-ground coffee most put the emphasis on the strength of the coffee beans used, allowing the consumer to choose anything from a dark (strong) blend to a light (weaker) blend, but you shouldn’t use just any old blend as not all of them suit all brewing methods. For example – for the best possible taste, a cafetiere/French press needs course grounds, while coffee beans for an espresso machine should be ground quite finely. Browsing a specialist coffee site such as The Red Goat Coffee is your best bet for a great coffee.
A tip for getting the most out of your coffee beans
Don’t try to save cash by buying a grinder with a cheap, low-quality blade or burr grinder, as this is likely to produce random sized fragments of coffee. Consequently, the coffee extracts are brewed out unevenly, risking the end result being a bitter or acidic brew. Consistently sized grounds are key for good flavor and aroma.