Fresh Equals Flavor
If you love coffee, then fresh brewed whole bean coffee is the only way to go. Anything else and you’re losing flavor. The number one reason that whole bean coffee tastes better than pre-ground coffee is the oils; due to oxidization it loses the oils in pre-ground coffee. After 15 minutes ground coffee loses about 60% of its aroma.
Furthermore the oils, trapped inside the beans, can become contaminated when ground in large facilities like most major brand coffee. See our post on HEALTH BENEFITS where I discuss the little-known fact that your pre-ground coffee is most likely not 100% coffee.
Grinders Are Your Friend
By utilizing a grinder, instead of buying pre-ground coffee, you’re able to match the size of coffee particles to the style of brew you prefer. See our post on GRINDERS to learn more about picking the right grinder to fit your lifestyle.
Most pre-ground coffee comes in a medium grind which is suitable if you’re making drip coffee, but if you’re interested in trying other brew methods to capture more flavor, you must control the grind.
Most grocery stores have a coffee section where you can try new bean flavors, without having to buy a whole pound to find out you hate it. Generally, there will be a grinder in the middle so you can try to pre-grind your coffee. However, this will still result in a loss of flavor due to oxidization. I recommend buying a grinder for your home use.
When you buy new beans at your grocery store the key point is to only buy 5-7 day of supply at a time. Unless you invest in a vacuumed sealed coffee container. See our post on PICKING THE RIGHT TOOLS, to learn more.
How To Tell Freshness
One problem we all face when trying new coffee, is deciding if the beans are fresh and properly packaged. One of the best ways to ensure freshness, is buy vacuumed-sealed packages of whole bean coffee. What about sampling you ask? It’s true that if you’re buying packaged coffee, you’re probably getting more than a sample size.
If you’re looking to sample coffee at your local grocery store, the best way is to sample a few beans while you’re standing in the store. Use the bags they provide to catch a few beans of the flavor you want to try. First place your nose in the bag and smell. There should be a pleasant aroma. If for any reason you don’t like the smell, pick a different flavor. Next you should touch the beans; they should feel moist. If they’re bone dry, pick a different flavor, they’ve been sitting in the store for far too long. Last is flavor. Put one bean in your mouth and bite into it. The bean should crumble easy and packed full of flavor.
Now you know how and why to pick fresh coffee over pre-ground; go brew yourself a wonderful cup and enjoy!