Ground Coffee vs Whole Bean: 3 Things to Consider When Making Your Choice
For people who take their coffee seriously, choosing between ground and whole bean is an important decision to make. After all, a great part of your overall coffee experience will depend on it. But making the right choice is more than just about answering the question “which is better?”. It’s about which one is right specifically for you and your coffee drinking habits.
For coffee snobs, the whole bean is it. Team whole beans typically grind them shortly before brewing, which results in a cup that’s brimming with rich flavor and subtle complexity. The oil that coats the whole bean is where the taste and aroma of coffee come from, so when you grind the bean, it begins to lose its freshness and flavors, which is why ground coffee is considered inferior. However, ground coffee presents accessibility and convenience that you wouldn’t find in whole coffee beans. Yes, whole bean coffee tastes better, but ground coffee can quickly give you the caffeine fix that you need.
If you’re still torn and need help making one of the most important coffee decisions in your life, here are a few things you might want to put into consideration:
- Your brewing method of choice
If you use the drip brew method which is typical to average coffee makers and manual pour-overs, pre-ground coffee might be the one for you because it has the level of coarseness that’s perfect for these machines. Using the wrong grind size for your machine could ruin the flavors of your coffee: too coarse and you’re left with a weak-flavored drink; too fine and you’re in for a bitter cup. Pre-ground coffee helps you avoid this as you don’t have to do guesswork when determining the size of your coffee grounds.
- How much time and patience you have
Opting for whole bean coffee means you have to prepare everything yourself, from calibrating the grind size according to your brewing method, to measuring the right amount of beans, to the actual grinding, to cleaning your grinder, and pretty much everything else. If you have the time and patience to do all these, you’ll find that it’s actually worth it. However, if you run on a tight schedule, or if you don’t want to go through all the trouble, you might find the convenience of grind coffee more appealing. With pre-ground coffee, you can let the machine do all the work for you while you shower and get ready for a full day ahead.
- How much and how frequent you reach for a cup of joe
Compared to whole bean coffee, ground coffee loses its freshness more quickly. The more exposed coffee is to oxygen, the faster it starts to go stale; and because ground coffee has much more surface area that is exposed to air, its complex flavor begins to decline after two to three weeks. If you consume coffee frequently and you’ll able to finish the entire pack of grounds in less than three weeks, then ground coffee will work just fine for you. But if you’re a one-cup-a-day kind of drinker, you’re better off with whole bean coffee. That way, you can enjoy fresh coffee for a longer period of time.