“Is it better to grind your own coffee?” is a common question nowadays because of the many appliances available for grinding beans at home.
Some consider pre-ground coffee a better choice because it’s less tedious to use: buy the coffee, store it, and then brew when you want a fresh cup of Joe.
Others argue that the added task is worth it because freshly ground coffee has less exposure to factors that negatively affect its quality.
Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of grinding your own coffee and more.
What Are the Advantages of Grinding Your Own Coffee?
The principles behind extraction and bean-grinding procedure break down the benefits of using freshly ground coffee to prepare your beverage.
The most notable ones are better flavor and aroma, less contamination, better grind size and amount control, and cost-efficiency.
Better Flavor and Aroma
When you grind whole beans, the surface area increases, so they oxidize faster, get exposed to more moisture, and lose carbon dioxide.
All these events negatively affect the coffee's flavor and aroma.
On the contrary, using freshly ground coffee ensures the following:
- Slower Oxidation
Roasted coffee beans have many volatile flavor and aroma compounds that get released and interact with air molecules when you grind them.
This process, known as oxidation, continues the longer you expose the ground coffee to air.
Pre-ground coffee sold in coffee shops, retail stores, and groceries is placed in sealed containers, but the lengthy process before sealing them already affected the coffee’s quality.
Each time you open the container to brew a cup of Joe, it will also lose more aroma and flavor.
Thus, less oxidation happens when you grind beans on your own and then brew them immediately.
- Less Exposure To Moisture
Oil is a coffee bean component carrying most of the flavor, and its high solubility in water ensures you enjoy a good-tasting cup of coffee.
However, this solubility is also a disadvantage. Exposure to atmospheric moisture, which is water in itself, leads to dilution.
Unfortunately, the grinding process exposes the coffee to more moisture because of the larger surface area created.
Add that to the fact that you can’t completely protect the coffee ground from moisture even when you store it in tightly sealed canisters because of climate.
It goes without saying that freshly ground coffee has a greater concentration of oils than pre-ground ones because of the shorter exposure time to moisture.
- Increase Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide is produced through the roasting process and has a significant role in making sure the bean’s oil gets transferred to your cup of coffee.
It gets lost via the beans’ pores while manufacturers cool them down but is trapped once packaged.
Again, the larger surface produced during the grinding process will release most of the carbon dioxide present.
The longer you wait to use the ground coffee, the more carbon dioxide escapes.
Less Odor Contamination
The kitchen has multiple ingredients, such as fruits and vegetables, that you use for preparing food and smoothies.
Some of them have particular odors, pleasant or unpleasant, that get released when sliced, cooked, and more and get stuck to your window curtains and the likes.
Also, those with the most potent smells contaminate items that get stored near them.
That’s why as much as possible, you should have a different storage shelf or cabinet for your coffee-making needs.
As mentioned, ground coffee has a wider surface area, so they get contaminated with odor more quickly than coffee beans.
Better Grind Size and Amount Control
Different coffee-brewing methods require specific coffee grind sizes. The grind size also affects the flavor of the cup of coffee you prepare.
If you use several techniques or appliances or want to prepare coffee using different grind types, you might need to purchase multiple coffee grind bags.
Unless you grind coffee beans in a blender, grinding your own coffee allows you to produce the ground type you want with just one bag of beans at any time.
Likewise, you can control how many coffee grounds to make, so you don’t waste any.
What Are the Disadvantages of Grinding Your Own Coffee?
Grinding your beans at home also comes with a few disadvantages that you need to make a note of before you plan on doing so.
One of the main issues is the time you would need to spend to learn how to achieve the right ground coarseness or fineness that you want.
You also need to learn how to upkeep your grinder correctly to ensure it lasts as long as expected.
Another problem is that you need to spare a good amount of time grinding your beans, as you can’t rush this process.
Nonetheless, freshly ground coffee still has a good quality for up to seven days when stored properly, so you can grind more and keep the rest for the next day.
Finally, you can’t grind your own coffee without investing in a good-quality grinder; otherwise, you end up with unevenly ground coffee and other issues.
How Long Does Whole Coffee Beans Last?
Unopened bean packages usually last up to nine months.
Once opened, they will have a shorter lifespan because they’re not 100% safe from oxidation, carbon dioxide loss, and moisture exposure.
Thus, the answer to “Is it better to grind your own coffee?” is no if you've stored them incorrectly.
What’s the Best Way To Store Coffee Beans?
The packaging that coffee beans come with can keep them fresh, but it’s best to transfer them in a different container.
Using an opaque and air-tight bottle or mason jar is the ideal way to store your coffee beans to prevent light and air from entering.
A good alternative is vacuum-sealed or Ziploc bags, but make sure you place the bags in a container that will protect them from the light.
Likewise, ensure that you remove the air from the bag before sealing it.
Most experts also suggest dividing the coffee beans into small canisters or bags, placing only the amount you need per container.
Doing so will ensure you don’t expose the other beans to environmental factors when you open the container each time you grind.
Lastly, choose a dark, cool, dry storage area to further protect the canister or bag—for example, a cabinet or shelf far from your oven and kitchen window.
Is It Better To Grind Your Own Coffee?
Undoubtedly, grinding your own coffee is better than using pre-ground coffee in terms of flavor and aroma.
The oil and other compounds get protected better because they’re inside the beans, unlike in grind coffee, where they’ve already been exposed and are continually exposed.
It is also why they have a longer lifespan, even when the bag of beans has already been opened.
Grinding your own coffee is also more cost-efficient in the long-run, and allows versatility in brewed coffee preparation.
Just make sure you have good-quality tools and develop the right skills needed.