If you have found yourself asking the question – Do I need a coffee grinder? Then the answer is a definite and resounding yes. Many of us have never stopped to wonder why use coffee grounds and not the coffee beans.
You may not even know that the size of the grinds matter and serve a purpose in the flavor of the final cup of coffee and that explains the looks you get when you tell people you brew your cup of coffee from pre-ground beans.
Why You Should be Grinding Coffee
When you make a cup of coffee what you want is what is sealed inside the bean – the flavor and oils. The original brewing method for coffee beverages was to boil the entire bean while agitating it.
This would result in a bitter and very high caffeine beverage. This was replaced with a more efficient way to brew by extracting the flavors from the beans by grinding.
Grinding the bean allows for the creation of more surface area and so one can extract more of the flavors and oils more efficiently and more completely.
Why you don’t want to be Buying Pre Ground Coffee
The whole coffee bean protects the oils inside the bean. Once they are inside the bean they will remain at their optimum levels.
Once you break the bean, you break the shell that protects and keeps these oils and flavors intact. So the flavors and oils weaken over time and lose their taste, aroma and body.
These oils are very delicate and they can become contaminated quite easily by odors in the surroundings. The grounds can absorb surrounding odors which in turn taint the overall taste of the coffee.
Due to the process of oxidation you will find that within 15 minutes of being ground your coffee will lose up to 60% of its aroma. When you expose your grounds to the environment they will absorb moisture which will in turn dilute the oils and the taste of your final cup of coffee.
Those are all the reasons you should only grind your coffee right before you brew it.
Factors Affecting the Grind
There are some things that can affect the behavior of the roasted coffee beans when they are ground. These are the roast level, the bean brittleness and quenching process.
A lighter roast means the beans are more tenacious and more pliable. This is because the more the coffee beans are roasted the more moisture is lost from the beans making the beans more brittle.
The method that is used to process the coffee has an influence on how the beans will grind as well as the way that the coffee has been harvested. Also affecting the brittleness of the bean is the altitude at which the coffee was grown and whether the cell structure is Robusta or Arabica.
When the coffee beans come out of the roasting machine they need to be immediately cooled down. This is done by water or by air.
Water quenching if not done properly can lead to damage of the roasted beans surface. When done properly, water quenching can restore some of the water that was lost from the beans during roasting. In air quenching, the roasted beans are cooled with air.
Measuring your Coffee Grounds
Now that you are convinced of the correct answer to the question of Do I need a coffee grinder, now is when you want to know how to measure your grounds. Of course freshly ground beans will make tastier and more potent coffee beverages, so how do you measure fresh grounds?
You want to measure the coffee by weight and not by volume. Coffee beans will swell due to losing water during the roasting process.
Darker roasted beans have lost more water and the more swelling you will find. The best bet then is to measure out your coffee beans before you grind them out.
You want to measure on a digital scale to ensure the best accuracy. Over time and with practice and trial and error you will find it easy to measure out the right amount of coffee without using a scale to guide you.
Are you still asking yourself “Do I need a coffee grinder?”