Ground Coffee or Whole Bean – Which Side of the Debate are you on?

Do you grind your own coffee beans? If you are like me you would have no idea what to do with a whole bean coffee. I don’t own a coffee grinder. But, since I’m used to ground coffee I guess I don’t know what I’m missing.. The debate over whole bean or ground coffee has been going on for quite some time. Both sides have their own positives and negatives.

Most people use ground coffee for the convenience. It is readily found on supermarket shelves, and is ready to brew without requiring extra time and equipment. Ease and convenience are main positives of drinking ground coffee. Also, many people are like me and wouldn’t know what to do with whole bean coffee.
Ground coffee doesn’t have the freshness of whole beans. After being roasted and ground, coffee goes stale fast. The taste is all in the coffee bean oils, and after being ground up the oils evaporate. Even vacuum packed coffee is not as fresh as the coffee you grind yourself. If you have never drank coffee that is freshly ground you may not realize there is such a difference in taste. If you try whole beans and grind them up just minutes before brewing your coffee, you will notice the flavor is stronger and the subtleties of the specific type of bean are much more noticeable.
Another consideration when you compare whole b beans to ground coffee is the fineness of the grind. Depending on the brand, there is usually not a choice of in coarseness or fineness of the ground coffee. Different types of coarseness work best with different brewing methods. When you do your own grinding you can make up a coarse batch for your French press or grind some fine grinds for use in an espresso machine.

If doesn’t take a fancy coffee bean grinder to get a good result. Even the simplest of grinders gives you control over the grounds. You will just be grinding a small amount before each time you brew, so the fineness can be changed as often as you prefer.

The main downfall of doing your own grinding is the extra time and effort involved. But, it really only takes a minute or two to grind up just enough beans for a pot of coffee. The effort is minimal after you have gotten into the habit of doing it. Cleaning the grinder can be a bit of a chore, but the fresh and flavorful coffee you will become accustom to, may even make the extra clean up worth it in the end.

If you decide to buy a coffee grinder, you will probably want something small that doesn’t take up a lot of kitchen space. The small, inexpensive models work just fine. A burr grinder produces the most even grind, but a blade grinder is a much cheaper option.

When deciding which side of the debate over whole bean or ground coffee you are on, the things to consider are convenience, freshness and control. Whole beans will give a fresher cup of coffee and you can control the level of coarseness. Ground coffee is convenient and ready without any extra work on your part.