Buying coffee in whole bean or in ground powder?

Wondered why do people choose to buy coffee in whole beans instead of ground coffee?

Buying coffee in whole bean or in ground powder

What is roasted whole bean coffee?

It means that the coffee is only roasted and is still in its original form, not ground. You will need to get a grinder and ground it before use.

What is ground coffee?

Ground coffee is coffee that has been processed and broken into smaller particles. The user can use it immediately without the need to process it further.

Is it better to get ground coffee?

Cofee powder
Stored in exposed air at 25-degree celsius

As seen above, if the coffee is ground, the coffee will take less than 3 days to oxidise to a state similar to coffee beans that have been exposed to air for 40 days. That’s about 13.5 times faster in deteriorating the coffee to lose most of its flavours. The flavours, especially the pleasant fruity or flowery notes, will be heavily lost, and astringent will start to develop. That’s when we begin to consider dumping the coffee into the bin.

So coffee is best obtained in whole beans form and ground fresh when required.

If you are buying online and the roaster grinds it to you, the coffee is already badly oxidised by the time it reaches you. We retail some high-grade coffee from Le Piantagioni and Arcaffe in powdered form, and they are gas flushed to preserve until you open the tin can.

Is specialty coffee better in ground coffee form?

No coffee connoisseurs will ever recommend buying coffee in ground coffee form.

If the coffee is in specialty coffee grade, it’s more likely that the coffee is of a lighter roast. Meaning the amount of soluble content, including carbon dioxide, is lesser—carbon dioxide in a barrier which helps to keep the coffee from oxidation too quickly.

What type of coffee can last longer?

Dark roast coffee has more soluble content and much more carbon dioxide. As mentioned above, carbon dioxide helps in retarding the rate of oxidation. However, most of the trapped carbon dioxide will be exposed and released if the coffee has been ground.

Mould growing on coffee?

Mould on coffee
Moisture sorption of coffee at 22 degrees Celsius.

Once the coffee is in powdered form, the higher surface area will considerably increase the number of water molecules that can bind to it.

This could increase the likelihood of mould forming compared to coffee still in whole bean form.

Is it worth buying a coffee grinder?

Absolutely. Any grinder is better than having no grinder.

The cost of coffee in beans form is always cheaper than in ground coffee form so you can definitely earn back the cost of the grinder in the long run. You can also enjoy the coffee longer before it expires, giving you much better savings in the long run.

If you are drinking filtered coffee and wish to try it out, you can try getting a hand grinder. If you need more convenience or do an espresso, you will be better off with electrical grinders.

What’s a good coffee grinder?

Grinder does a lot of rough work. A good grinder is one that can last. The Bezzera BB005 grinder is a good candidate if you are in the market for a good electric grinder. If you are tight on the budget, go for a hand grinder!

Other things to observe are the burr size and type of burr. Burr is the grinding plate.

In general, conical burrs are better as they produce rounder, more even grinds and give you a better yield. The burrs also last longer. The surface area for grinding burr is larger, which helps to dissipate heat. Conical burrs also spin at a slower revolution, meaning less heat. The lesser the heat, the better it helps to preserve the delicate aromatic flavours from burning out. We suggest getting at least 45mm for conical burrs.

Flat burrs are cheaper and easier to replace. However, the grinds produced are typically elongated, meaning the yield during extraction is lesser. A big problem is electrical grinders with flat burrs usually spin at a very high RPM, which can produce a lot of heat. We suggest getting at least 60mm for flat burrs.

Are hand grinders acceptable?

Yes. The good thing about them is it is unlikely to produce a lot of heat during grinding, as it’s impossible for the user to spin faster than a motor.
Again, always keep in mind that having any grinder is better than having no grinders!


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