The Journal

Your Guide to Freshly Ground Coffee

These days, the word ‘fresh’ is too easily thrown around but, regarding coffee, it’s crucial. Find out why fresh is best.

What ‘fresh coffee’ really means

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 to coffee when you grind it

Firstly, when you grind coffee, 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 your coffee will stay fresh

A coffee bean’s flavor 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 oxidize.
  • Moisture – coffee reacts to moisture, so any present will compromise the end result.
  • C02 Depletion – fresh coffee is defined by the amount of C02 in the cells of the coffee bean. The loss of C02 increases once the beans is ground making it stale quicker. No thanks.

For this reason – 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).

What grind, for what brew and why

Not all grinds are suitable for all brewing methods. We would recommend:

 

Getting a consistent grind

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.

Storing your 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.

 

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