As someone who used to drink pre-ground coffee and now grinds my own beans on the daily, I am here to tell you, yes, there’s a huge difference.
If you drink coffee regularly, you should know that whether you use beans or powdered grounds can have an enormous impact on the overall taste of your morning cup o’ joe.
So what is the difference between coffee beans and ground coffee?
Coffee beans impart enticing aromas and bold flavors while powdered grounds give you a beverage that might pass for decent coffee.
Beans are Better, Here’s Why
I am often surprised to find out how many other people are also unaware of the major differences between pre-ground coffee and roasted unground coffee beans.
This is understandable; in today’s fast-paced world, we are always looking to cut corners and become more efficient. The question is, are we missing out in a major way?
I think that when it comes to coffee, the answer is, definitely. Coffee beans hold an abundance of rich flavors, invigorating scents, and natural minerals and oils.
When you grind coffee beans, these components begin to diminish immediately.
Coffee beans should only be ground when you’re about to begin brewing or crafting a coffee beverage. Here’s why:
Coffee Beans Hold Their Flavor More Efficiently
The thing is, coffee beans have a window of perfection in which they can be ground to give you specific tastes and aromas in your cup of coffee or in a shot of espresso.
Once this window has passed, the flavor of your coffee quickly diminishes.
Those carefully imparted fragrance notes are replaced with staleness.
The rich flavor undertones become bland. If you keep your coffee beans whole for longer, they are able to hold on to their natural oils and flavor profiles more efficiently.
The minute you grind coffee beans, they become susceptible to overdrying, oil loss, and staleness.
This is true even if they have been pre-packaged and treated.
Coffee grounds that come in cans or coffee pods are usually preserved with using a nitrogen process.
On beans, this process is great for preservation. On coffee grounds, all that air exposure is a real problem when it comes to taste.
Handling Coffee Beans Correctly is Important
Coffee beans are somewhat temperamental and can be negatively influenced by certain external factors.
When you consider how coffee is made, you quickly begin to understand why grinding your own coffee beans ultimately gives you a better tasting beverage.
Coffee beans are picked green and then carefully roasted. The roasting process tends to bring out the natural flavor of the beans as well as infuse them with new flavors.
Coffee beans are then rested (or degassed) as the CO2 gasses inside of them begin to release.
This is similar to the aging process that other fine foods must undergo. All of this will eventually result in roasted coffee beans that are ready to be ground down and made into your favorite morning beverage.
Roasted coffee beans contain natural oils, unique flavor notes, and delicate aromatic properties. The minute you grind them, their properties change.
Fresh is Best
When you grind coffee beans, you increase their overall surface area. This creates an ideal environment for oil and flavor extraction through the brewing process.
After grinding, you should brew your coffee beans into coffee or make your espresso within 15 minutes.
The longer that your ground coffee sits out to dry, the more lusciousness you will lose.
Now consider how long coffee grounds may be sitting in their respective pods, baggies, or cans.
All of those oils, scents, flavors, and gasses are being released into the air. Think about that intense smell you get when you first open up a store-bought can of coffee grounds.
That’s all of your flavor escaping! Small pods or bags are even worse. Pretty much the fastest way to suck the flavor out of your coffee beans is to grind them up and separate them into small measures.
With coffee, as with many other consumable items, fresh is better.
- Are carefully prepared through roasting and are rested before being packages
- Contain water, oils, antioxidants, gasses, minerals, and other components
- Hold flavors and scents efficiently
- Taste better immediately after being ground
- Give you bold and rich scents and flavors
Pre-Ground Coffee Isn’t What It’s Cracked (or Ground) Up to Be
Powdered coffee grounds were originally created to make brewing coffee faster.
Faster is not always better.
Look, if you’re in a rush and simply need to get your caffeine fix, by all means, use powdered or pre-ground coffee.
Why stop there though? Why not just drink an energy shot or get your caffeine in some other way?
If you’re going for speed, why not cut out the middle man?
Maybe you just want to cut down on the cost of a daily habit. Pre-ground coffee is cheaper, right?
The fact is, coffee lovers love coffee. Drinking your coffee can feel like a ritual, an experience, and may even be a big de-stressor in your day-to-day life.
I don’t know what I would do without my tranquil and quiet morning cup of coffee as I gear up to face the day.
So why settle? You shouldn’t! I’ll tell you why.
Pre-Ground Coffee Isn’t Always Cheaper
Most people buy pre-ground coffee because they’re under the impression that it’s cheaper.
Guess what? It usually isn’t. When you use coffee grounds, you’re probably making an entire pot of coffee.
Now, consider how much of that pot of coffee usually goes to waste. If you’re making coffee in your office, it may be drunk by everyone.
However, if you’re brewing coffee at home, there’s a good chance that you wind up dumping more coffee down the drain than you realize.
When you add this up over time, you may realize that you’re actually spending more on that big can of coffee. What if you use coffee pods?
Well, brewing by the cup is actually a LOT more expensive than buying beans or grounds. It also creates a lot of waste.
Grinding your own coffee will usually help you monitor your daily coffee consumption better.
You’ll get more potent coffee with better flavors and aromas.
You’ll most likely wind up drinking less and getting higher satisfaction levels per cup.
If you want to start grinding your own coffee beans but don’t want to purchase an expensive coffee grinder, check out this hand grinder!
It’s inexpensive, energy and cost efficient, and works amazingly for anyone who wants to start brewing in a better way.
In my opinion, making espresso at home is probably the most efficient, enjoyable, and cost-effective way to get a quality cup of tantalizing coffee.
This is because you are grinding by the cup, using all of the grounds, extracting the most flavor, and getting a delicious and aromatic cup of goodness.
It isn’t the most time efficient method but if you have the time in the morning, it’s worth it.
All you need to make your own espresso shots are an espresso machine and an electric coffee grinder. If you get an espresso machine with a steamer on the side, you can make your own Latte, Cappuccinos, Breves, and Americanos right from home.
Anyone who visits a coffee shop every morning may save hundreds or even thousands of dollars and hours over time by learning to grind their own coffee beans and make their own beverages with an espresso machine at home.
It Sometimes Is Not the Faster Option
When you really look at it, the time it takes to brew a pot of coffee is around five minutes.
If you grind your own beans, you add around one minute of prep time. That’s not much! Now, consider espresso.
If you grind your own coffee beans and make your own espresso shots, you’re looking at around 2 minutes of prep time.
This means that in many household situations, you’re sacrificing a lot of taste for not so much of a reward.
Processed and Ground Coffee Isn’t as Good for You
While coffee grounds and powders still may contain a good bit of caffeine and some minerals and oils, they can’t stand up to coffee beans.
When you ground whole, real, coffee beans, you know what you’re getting. You are getting minerals, oils, flavors, and other impressive components in your coffee.
However, with pre-ground coffee, you’re drinking a processed product. There isn’t any way around it.
Coffee grounds are often treated with preservatives.
You’ll also be missing out on many antioxidant properties and may not even be getting natural caffeine.
Many studies show that coffee can be a fairly healthy habit.
If drunk regularly and in appropriate amounts, it may even help your metabolism, immune system, and digestive system.
However, ground processed coffee might not be as healthy.
This is especially true if coffee-grounds have been treated with preservatives and synthetic flavors.
Processed foods tend to lose many key health benefits.
Coffee Grounds and Powders:
- Sit in a can, baggie, pod, or package for months
- Tend to lose flavor and aroma quickly
- Don’t give you the much in the way of taste and smell
- Aren’t necessarily cheaper
- Aren’t as healthy as whole coffee beans
- May not save anyone much time
So there you have it. Beans are better and now you know why! Coffee beans impart more flavor, contain more antioxidants, are more efficient, and give you a higher quality beverage.
What is your opinion on the matter?
Are there any specific brewing methods that you recommend? Please feel free to leave your tips and comments!