Grind Fresh for the Love of Coffee

Posted on September 23, 2011 by Baratza in Blog

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Baratza sells grinders, so of course we believe that grinding fresh is synonymous with great coffee. This morning, I was checking out a new coffee site that sells coffee from some great micro-roasters. When I went to checkout, I was surprised to see that I could buy the coffee pre-ground to my specifications. I was surprised to say the least that roasters that scour the earth for the best beans, cup and roast for perfection, and stamp the bag with the roast date, would pre-grind the coffee. There must be some mistake. I then went to the web sites of some of the award winning roasters, to find that almost all of them will pre-grind the coffee for mail order as specified by the customer.

This morning as I was grinding my Metropolis Redline Espresso I noticed that the roast date was clearly stamped on the bag. I decided to grind extra, use it for my afternoon coffee break and see if I could taste the difference. When afternoon rolled along, I made a shot with fresh ground coffee. Than pulled a shot with the coffee I had ground 6 hours earlier. This was not a blind, formal test. This was just me seeing if I could taste the difference. Well, I could defiantly see, smell, and taste the difference.

  • The smell of fresh ground coffee is heavenly, and the coffee loses a lot of the aroma after a few hours.
  • The pre-ground espresso shot was faster, with less crème, and had lost some of the rich flavor of the fresh ground. It was not a bad shot; it was just not as good as it could have been.

All this got me thinking about why people do not want to grind their coffee fresh. I most often hear?

  • Way to messy!
  • I don’t really know enough about coffee to grind it myself.
  • I doubt I could taste the difference.
  • I do not want to spend the money on a grinder.
  • It takes to much extra time

Below are a few comments on the subject that I found from people in the industry:

George Howell (Terroir Coffees) says, “Storing pre-ground coffee greatly accelerates the staling process, because the entire surface area of the bean’s cellular structure is now exposed to oxygen. So, always, always (did we say ALWAYS) grind just before brewing. Some studies have found that the shelf life of ground coffee less than one (1) hour when ground coffee is placed into an airpot, or filter. Best to throw it into the compost, and start anew.”

Mark Prince (Coffee Geek) says “Well, here’s the deal folks – you too can brew amazing coffee in the home with a brewing system that costs $4. The caveat? You gotta spend good dollars on a grinder. With anything coffee related, the grinder is of paramount importance.”

As I said in the beginning, Grind Fresh for the Love of Coffee…..