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Why whole bean coffee is infinitely better than ground coffee, experts say

Coffee drinkers are often faced with a choice: do you buy whole beans or ground? Choosing the bag of ground coffee or a Keurig K-Cup makes it easy – you don’t have to grind it, and since the bag and mug are sealed, the coffee probably stays fresh, right? These are two of the easiest ways to get java in your cup in the morning.

But we’re here to tell you that once you start buying whole bean coffee, it is a game changer. And we promise it’s not this much more time or difficulty than making a K-Cup or scooping up coffee grounds in a machine. The rewards for purchasing whole bean coffee are many, as it will open up new worlds of flavors and aromas.

But don’t take our word for it! We have spoken to many coffee professionals who support us. They will convince you that whole bean coffee is much better than ground coffee.

A little coffee before our trip

All beans are legumes – except coffee beans. They are not beans at all!

“What you actually cook is the seed of the coffee fruit,” said Scott Byington, co-founder of Queen City collective café. Looked:

A coffee “bean” is actually the seed that you will find inside this fruit, also called a coffee “cherry”.

“Like all fruits, they’re seasonal and have a shelf life,” Byington added. “In order to have the best coffee possible, it is picked at its peak of maturity, just like a ripe banana or an avocado.”

After being harvested, washed and distributed, coffee companies roast green beans in the finished product you know and love.

Remember: coffee is perishable, so it’s important to treat it as such! “People treat it like a bean, like it’s a dried thing that you can have in your closet forever,” said Eileen Rinaldi, Founder and CEO of Ritual roasters. “It is not true.”

Why whole bean coffee is infinitely better than ground coffee, experts say

Green coffee beans (actually seeds) are poured into a roaster at Hansen Coffee Rosters in Roedermark, Germany.

Why freshly roasted whole bean coffee is better than ground coffee

Flavor and aroma are two of the main components in a cup of Joe. And if you buy ground coffee, you’re missing out on both.

Summer Zhang, roaster and quality control expert at Onyx Coffee Lab, breaks it down scientifically.

“Freshly ground whole bean coffee is better than ground coffee because the aromatic molecules will volatilize after grinding and the exposed surface area of ​​the coffee will increase significantly, resulting in faster oxidation,” said Zhang. “When it starts to oxidize, it starts to lose flavor.” The oxidation process occurs rapidly. “Coffee starts to oxidize every time it comes in contact with air, there isn’t a certain time when it starts to be noticeable – it’s different depending on the coffee,” she says.

The people who roast your coffee work hard to get the delicious flavor notes of the coffee in your cup, but Byington said you’d never know if you’re drinking pre-ground coffee. “It will still contain caffeine and taste like coffee, but you won’t get the smoothness and body you might get from freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee,” Byington said.

If you’ve ever ground your own coffee at home, you know it smells fantastic in your kitchen. When you leave the grind to a roaster, you let them take all the delicious aromas for themselves.

“The grinding process starts to release a lot of these aromatics,” Byington said. “A lot of the taste comes from the smell, so if you release the aromatics before trying the coffee, it will taste more muted, dull and flat.”

And if you think the flavors and aromas won’t be wasted because the ground coffee is sealed in a bag or K-Cup, think again. “Even the best nitrogen-rinsed Keurig K-Cups (eeditor’s note: nitrogen flushing is a popular sealing method) still have exposure to oxygen, and that’s the biggest enemy in retaining flavor and retaining aromatics, ”Byington said. “All you do is take risks with coffee that aren’t necessary, especially if your main goal is to have a tasty cup.”

Whole bean coffee from specialty brands can often be more expensive than ground coffee, but it’s worth checking out if you’re someone who cares about environmental and labor issues. work related to your purchases, as these roasters often form relationships with the farmers who grow and harvest. coffee. Sahra Nguyen is the founder and CEO of Nguyen coffee supply, a specialty coffee company that has direct business relationships with Vietnamese coffee producers.

“There is a cost for a cheap product,” Nguyen told HuffPost. “We are helping Vietnamese farmers to break the vicious cycle of corporate coffee production and engage in specialty coffee production so they can earn better wages, support their land for agricultural sustainability and grow. ensure that they are cultivable for future generations. ”

Despite comments that “Vietnamese coffee shouldn’t be that expensive,” Nguyen’s prices for her unique Robusta / Arabica blends are in line with other specialty coffee brands. “Do the math and work backwards,” she says. “If you’re paying $ 6 a bag, know that the store, the distributor, and the business all have to make a profit. At the end of the day, what goes into the producer’s pocket? ”

Follow these simple steps to start brewing whole bean coffee

Maybe you’re not convinced to buy whole bean coffee because your order of coffee of choice contains 14 pumps of sugar-free hazelnut and a half and a half gallon; you can barely taste the coffee anyway, right?

“If you have a drink recipe you love, swap your basic pre-ground coffee for freshly ground single-origin coffee and see if you can tell the difference!” Nguyen said. “While a lot of the flavors will be masked (naturally), you will get a bit more nuance with a freshly ground specialty coffee than a pre-ground flat coffee.” There is no shame in liking what you love, but what you love could turn out to be even tastier.

Here’s everything you need to have a good try with whole bean coffee. First: find a whole bean coffee with flavor notes you like. The diversity of flavors of the specialty coffee is out of the ordinary, with java that tastes chocolate and berries, Angel Cake or Papaya. In order to ensure a fresh cup, whole bean coffee should ideally be roasted no more than 7-10 days before, although Byington said anything roasted in the previous month was acceptable.

Then buy a mill. Rinaldi likes it Baratza Again, a burr mill that she noted has a higher price tag than some, but it will work a lifetime. Nguyen said it was also good to go cheap.

And don’t worry. Grind the beans in the morning is do not a process that takes time. “Get yourself an affordable small one-cup grinder, which starts at $ 16, and then you can upgrade to a burr grinder,” Nguyen said. “If coffee is part of your lifestyle and you want to enhance your experience, invest in a $ 20 grinder. It’s not going to extend the time you spend on your coffee much – maybe 30 seconds. You will improve your life with a purchase of $ 20! “

A bag of whole bean coffee and a grinder can really change your home experience. “During the pandemic, so many people invested in home coffee brewing facilities,” Rinaldi said. “A friend of mine bought a grinder for the first time to make coffee at home and said, ‘I had no idea what flavor I was missing from not having a grinder! Coffee is a whole new experience. ”


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