In this whole beans vs ground coffee scenario, the whole coffee bean is the final winner. And to make it easier for the coffeenomies, we’re about to explain why.
Grinding the coffee beans and extracting a fine pot of coffee from the grounds is a morning routine many coffee lovers have adored over the decades. But some like to skip the grinding process and get straight into the coffee making, so they choose readymade coffee grounds instead.
But before that, let’s get to know them both a little.
The title reflects the physical property of the coffee itself: it’s coffee in its bean form and unground. To brew whole beans, you need to get yourself a burr coffee grinder to break the beans down and then put them through your choice of brewing method.
The reason why roasters and farmers sell their coffee as whole bean is to preserve the overall quality of the coffee itself till it’s brewed.
I know, and we’re getting there.
As the name suggests, this is coffee that’s already broken down into small particles after roasting and before packaging, so it’s ready to brew as soon as you open the packet.
Though they don’t contain the same amount of aroma or effect as whole coffee beans, there’s quite a lot of fun you can have with pre-ground coffee beans.
But if you are the owner of a drip coffee maker, pre-ground beans are the most convenient choice for you since roasters grind the beans with a drip coffee machine in mind. Plus, you have a wide selection of roasts and beans.
Whole Beans Vs Ground Coffee: Reasons Why Whole Bean Is Better
When it comes down to choosing, you should always choose whole bean coffee for your morning coffee needs. There are several reasons for choosing whole bean grounds over pre-ground coffee. Let’s have a look.
Do you know the biggest problem with more than half the pre-packaged ground coffee at your nearest supermarket? They’re already stale.
A big reason behind it is the roasting date. Coffee loses its peak freshness 2 weeks after roasting. And if it’s pre-ground coffee, that time gets shortened to 20-30 minutes. Yep, minutes, not even days.
It’s because each particle needs way too little time to get introduced to oxygen, and the degradation process starts right away. As a result, all the natural aromas, sugars, and acids become bitter.
My point is: you are dooming yourself to already stale coffee when you are buying pre-ground coffee. Why cheat yourself out of a better coffee experience if you can get the whole fresh beans for almost the same amount of money?
Check the roasting date before buying, and you’ll be just fine.
Pre-ground coffee benefits you from having your coffee beans ready for a brew when you buy them, which is pretty convenient.
But here’s a catch: pre-ground coffee isn’t compatible with 95% of all types of coffee makers. Only coffee makers that work perfectly with pre-ground coffee beans are automatic drip coffee makers since readymade coffee grounds have a consistent grind size.
If you don’t pair up your grind size with your favorite brewing method, you won’t like the coffee that comes out in the end. With pre-ground coffee, your options are limited, and your hands are tied.
Also, you don’t want to get stuck with a single type of brewing method. You want to make exciting new brews almost every single day, right? So then whole bean coffee is your best bet.
When you can grind beans to the right size, you can try out different brews with different devices.
When you buy bags of ground coffee, you have no choice but to accept the flavor you got in the bag. And considering it’s totally random, you may have no choice but to down a sad, bitter cup of weird liquid (at least, that’s how you’ll feel when drinking it)
When you change your grind size, it changes the brewing speed and extraction time. So each time you change your grind size to reach a new level, your coffee gets better every morning.
Have issues with bitter coffee? Grind the beans in a coarser setting to reduce the total extraction. Is it tasting sour? Simple, use a finer grind size to extract more and extract faster and balance it out.
With pre-ground beans, you don’t have that sort of freedom. When you’re using a whole beans-burr grinder combo, you are the one in control of your brew and your mood. You can also use blade grinders, but it’s not highly recommended.
As we mentioned earlier, coffee has a higher chance of getting spoiled when broken down into grounds. Though whole beans get spoiled, they don’t spoil as fast as pre-ground beans.
Check the roasting date when you’re buying coffee (and hopefully whole bean coffee). If you’re buying coffee within 2 weeks of it being roasted, you can brew a nice cup with it. Pick pre-ground coffee only when it’s an emergency.
Storage techniques for both beans matter, too, since both coffee slowly deteriorates over time if they come in contact with open air. For both cases, use an airtight container kept in a cool, dark cabinet somewhere away from light, heat, and moisture.
Due to being undisputed champions of keeping fresh, whole coffee beans retain the most flavor and aromas, no matter the type. And when you brew them into a cup, the bold flavors and the beautiful aromas make you feel as if you have achieved nirvana.
Avid coffee consumers use pre-ground coffee to create blends. But even then, you’ll find it lacking in flavor if you have already tasted whole bean coffee.
If you’ve decided on whole beans but not sure what to choose, why not read up on different types of coffee beans?
Though you might think it’s easier with pre-ground coffees since they are ready to brew, the choice is situational.
Whole beans are the first choice for baristas who like to provide the best for their customers and experiment with different brew methods. Whole beans also favor those who take the time to go through the grinding process for barista-style coffee.
Pre-grounds are a go-to for those who like to save time and energy since it’s more accessible.
There are brews for which you need a particular type of grind. But with pre-ground beans, you are stuck with the way the roaster grounds it, plus pre-ground coffee isn’t compatible with all the coffee makers, as we’ve mentioned earlier.
Grind size is a factor that affects everything about the coffee: the body, thickness, aroma, final taste, etc. So a perfect cup of coffee comes down to the perfect grind. And to make it right, your coffee grinder is your best friend.
As a homebrewer, you need to understand the intricacies of different grind sizes. When working with whole beans, you are gaining more control and flexibility. You can whip up a wide range of coffee with whole beans, from auto-drip coffee to espresso.
Pre-ground beans limit your choice of drinks and control the final taste of your coffee by being within a uniform grind size. However, specific grind sizes will always taste a certain way, and you can’t change that unless you change the grind itself, which is impossible with pre-ground coffee beans.
Whole bean coffee costs a bit more than ground coffee because of the extra care that goes into preserving the beans and the taste contained within.
When packing whole coffee beans, roasters make sure that the low-quality beans are taken out of the batch and then pay extra attention to the packaging after the roasting process. All this additional labor costs more than you’d think, causing the price for whole beans to go up.
The best example of this can be any exotic coffee or specialty coffee. The roasters hand-pick each bean to ensure the highest quality and roasted coffee bean with the most authentic flavor.
On the other hand, pre-ground coffee only has restrictions in place in terms of packaging. That’s why pre-ground coffee is cheaper since it’s easier for the roasters to export and even more accessible for the customers to consume.
Now, you can see how trying to save just a little money cuts down your sensory experience by a mile or two.
Had fun reading whole beans vs ground coffee?
Then why not check out our piece on instant coffee vs ground coffee.
Though pre-ground coffee has its fair share of advantages, if you are going for the ultimate coffee experience, whole bean coffee should be on top of your priority list.
After reading the whole beans vs ground coffee article, We hope you are convinced enough to try out whole beans without cheapening out on your morning cup of coffee.
Whole bean coffee retains the original flavor and aroma of the coffee, providing you with the most authentic coffee experience.
The only drawback of whole bean coffee is that you have to grind the beans by yourself, which can be a tedious and time-consuming process.
Whole coffee beans last longer than ground beans by avoiding the oxidation process for a longer time.
Whole beans have less chance of faster oxidation, which allows the beans to stay fresh for a more extended period. Usually, whole beans stay fresh for almost a month.
Putting coffee in the freezer dries up the natural moisture present in the fresh coffee beans, causing the quality of the coffee beans and coffee quality to decrease.
To conserve time and energy, it’s easier to use pre-ground beans since it’s super convenient. That’s why only a few who prefer the personal experience use whole beans for brewing their coffee.