Freshly ground beans vs. pre-ground coffee

Coffee grinders
Updated on 24 Jul 2023
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Coffee has been an integral part of our Dutch kitchens, offices and cafes for centuries. Everyone from the highly educated to the garbage men and from farmers to citizens drink several cups of coffee daily. Some can enjoy the B-brands from the supermarket, while others only want to spend money daily on an expensive espresso from their favorite city café. Some are fine with a simple cup at the gas station, while others only want that cappuccino brewed according to proper formulas.

Choosing between freshly ground and pre-ground beans

In all the years I have been drinking coffee and trying to brew my own coffee (with varying degrees of success), I have learned one thing. And that is that it does matter how I grind my coffee beans. Of course, it’s much easier to buy a pack of pre-ground coffee at the local supermarket, and I still do that when it’s just not convenient to go and grind the beans extensively or for when I go camping, for example. Still, I often try to grind it fresh myself.

The nostalgia of grinding your own beans

I can still remember that on Sundays at Grandma’s I was always allowed to turn the coffee grinder. Grandma always had coffee beans and she still ground them by hand in a nostalgic old coffee grinder. Of course as children we loved doing that and still my thoughts go back to those days when I smell freshly ground coffee beans.

The difference between grinding coffee beans yourself and buying pre-ground

Let’s get into the discussion. Because there are quite a few advantages and disadvantages to both options.

  • The ease of use – of course, it is ideal to quickly buy a pack of pre-ground coffee from the store. All you have to do is scoop it into the filter of the coffee maker and press a button, and the hot water draws through the filter. If you make a quick cup of latte in the morning before you leave, you can’t stand around extensively grinding your beans again.
  • The wallet – although it doesn’t sound very logical, buying pre-ground coffee is cheaper. The thing is, however, that coffee beans have to be shipped faster to keep them from spoiling. Ground coffee is much easier to preserve and therefore has a longer shelf life. If you add to that the purchase of a bean grinder, then buying a pack of pre-ground coffee really is cheaper.
  • The taste – here I can’t get away from it. Obviously, grinding beans fresh is many times tastier than buying a pack of pre-ground slush at the supermarket. It’s just that if you’re going to make coffee for coffee brewing that you’re taking out the flavor and aromas that our creator put into it. This flavor becomes much more complex, filling and overwhelming.

So, buying a bean grinder yourself?

Be aware that the moment you grind coffee beans into a powder, whether coarse grains or fine powder, they immediately lose 60 percent of their quality. Both flavor and moisture and properties are lost within a matter of minutes. So I recommend that you always grind your coffee beans only just before brewing. If you don’t have a coffee grinder yet, then it’s time to purchase one.

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Coffee grinders

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