What’s the big deal with freshly ground coffee?
When we talk about fresh coffee, we don’t just mean freshly brewed – we also address how recently a batch of beans has been roasted and always recommend using them freshly ground. Grinding only what you require from the freshest beans will help you achieve the great taste you’re after.
What happens when you grind coffee?
Firstly, you’re breaking down the cells that contain oils, releasing that wonderful coffee aroma. By doing this, you’re providing a greater surface area for hot water to act upon. Your grind will be determined by your preferred method, whether you’re using a Chemex or another of the coffee brewing methods. The consistency of the grind is important to get an optimal extraction.
How long does ground coffee last for?
A coffee bean’s flavour components are delicate, volatile, and water soluble. While whole, they will last longer, but once ground will become stale quickly. This is mostly as a result of exposure to oxygen, but heat, moisture and light are also enemies. Why?
- Contamination – the oils in coffee are delicate and susceptible to odours. If there’s something strongly scented nearby – for example, if you’re storing your coffee in the spice cupboard – it will affect your taste experience.
- Oxygen – once coffee is ground, it begins to oxidise.
- Moisture – coffee reacts to moisture, so any present will compromise the end result.
- CO2 Depletion – fresh coffee is defined by the amount of CO2 in the cells of the coffee bean. The loss of CO2 increases once the beans is ground, making it stale more quickly. No thanks.
For these reasons – we repeat – grind only what you require, when you require it, at the correct consistency. Should you prefer to buy your coffee already ground, that’s fine, but we’d recommend buying smaller quantities and consuming it quickly (but that shouldn’t be a problem if it’s really tasty).
Which grind, for which brew, and why?
Not all grinds are suitable for all brewing methods. We would recommend:
How should I grind coffee?
To get the most consistent grind you will need a good coffee grinder. Never try to make do with a spice grinder, for example, as it will tear the coffee unevenly. A coffee grinder is designed with conical blades to break down the beans into an even consistency.
How should I store my coffee beans?
Your coffee beans will stay at their very best for up to two weeks, provided they are in a sealed, airtight container and stored in a cool, dark place. Should you grind more than you need, store in the same fashion but use as soon as you can – freshly ground coffee loses its quality within a couple of hours.
Is there anything else I need to know?
We think that’s it for today. However, if you’ve got time, stick around and have a browse through our Journal for more coffee-related reads. We’ve discovered that there’s always something new to learn about coffee.