We often get requests to sell ground coffee but like the Soup Nazi character in Seinfeld, we adamantly refuse.
“NO! Whole bean only! You want ground coffee? GET OUTTA MY [online] STORE!”
It’s not because we’re snobby or lazy. It’s because we care. Really!
FRESH ROASTED COFFEE IS LIVING FOOD
Consider the shelf life of an apple. Fresh from the store that apple may sit on your kitchen counter for a couple weeks before showing signs of age. Cut that same apple in half and it will age quicker. Chop it up into little pieces and it will age faster still. Same with coffee.
Coarsely ground coffee goes stale roughly 20 minutes after grinding. Finely ground coffee can start to stale in as little as 90 seconds! Why? Because breaking down the beans into a pile of smaller pieces creates more surface area exposed to the evils preying on your fresh coffee namely light, air, heat, and moisture (check out our post on STORAGE 101).
Here’s the deal. Like produce, fresh roasted coffee is a living food that goes stale over time. The longer you delay this inevitability, the longer you maximize freshness, flavor, and ultimately your enjoyment of the beans we roast for you.
Now you know why we only sell whole bean coffee and why you shouldn’t grind it until just before you’re ready to brew a cup. Does it matter how you grind your coffee? Thought you’d never ask!
GRINDER CHOICES IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE
|ELECTRIC BURR GRINDER: A burr grinder gets its name from two burrs that can be set a precise distance apart. The beans fall into this gap and are ground up as one of the burrs rotates, kind of like a pepper grinder. The advantage is that you can set how coarse or fine you want your coffee and it will come out relatively uniform every time. This is great for matching the grind size to your method of brewing and consistency of flavor. Cost for home units ranges from about $40 to well over $300.|
|MANUAL BURR GRINDER: Same great quality as an electric burr grinder but you’ve gotta work for it! Even though electric grinding is more convenient, we actually like the ritual of manually grinding our beans. These are easier to travel with and cost is in the range of $25 with some slightly less and more expensive choices.|
|ELECTRIC BLADE GRINDER: A blade grinder uses fast spinning blades to chop up the beans. These tend to be relatively compact and convenient but there’s no way to set a specific grind size (the longer you grind, the closer you get to powder) and the collection of grounds tend to be different in size which leads to inconsistent flavor. These can be found for as little as $15.|
|HAMMER AND A PLASTIC BAG: I once found myself away from home having forgotten my grinder and nary a drink blender in sight (I’ve done that too in a pinch). But I had a hammer and a plastic bag! Not recommended.|
Burr grinders are the way to go. For ease of use at home, electric models will produce no-fuss quality grounds. You can find very good models at low cost with higher prices offering more refined settings and better materials. If you wanna get rustic or have something you can throw in a bag to take with you wherever you go, there are excellent hand grind options. We’ll leave you with a few more tips…
- GRIND only the amount you need as close to brew time as possible. We literally grind our coffee just as our water is approaching brewing temp.
- CLEAN your grinder. Beans will leave a residue over time that can throw off the flavor of fresh beans. Knock out old grounds and give your grinder a good wipe with a clean brush.
- ENJOY the best your coffee has to offer!