Coffee grind or not to grind?

Right before brewing, that is. I know you don’t dump whole coffee beans into the basket. :smiley:

I can’t drink the instant kind. I used to drink Gevalia, but their customer service went to shit, so we are now enjoying Starbuck’s mail order.

Anyway, we have two coffee canisters with a lock seal on them. I completely grind up one bag and put the ground up ambrosia into the coffee canister, and scoop it out as I need it. We store the whole beans in the freezer.

See, ivylass is not a morning person, and it takes all I have to navigate dumping the water and coffee into the coffee maker before I stumble to the shower. I don’t think I could handle having to grind up the beans too.

But Dad’s SO says you’re not supposed to grind the beans until right before you use them, and you’re not even supposed to fully grind them. You can leave partial beans. I didn’t think you got the full flavor unless you grind those delectable beans to a fine grit.

So, am I doing it right, or am I missing out on even better Elixer of the Gods by not grinding right before brewing?

And how do you make that perfect cup of coffee? Sometimes I sprinkle some cinnamon into the filter basket on top of the coffee.

It is best to grind the beans right before you use them. Whole beans keep their flavour for longer than ground ones. If you can’t face doing it in the morning, why not grind a day’s worth of beans each night? Then you’d only have one day’s worth of coffee ground up, instead of a whole bag.

A lot of people (myself included) find that Starbucks beans aren’t the best, because they have a kind of burnt flavour. This is because they mix the beans before roasting them, so some of the beans end up overdone.

Agreed that grinding as needed is the way to go. Also, according to Alton Brown, who is kind of like Bill Nye the Science Guy for foodies, you shouldn’t store coffee in the fridge. A cool dry place is better.

Well, hell, I’m doing everything wrong. I suppose I’m using the wrong type of filter too.

If not Starbucks, Tansu what do you use?

  1. It is best to grind right before use. C’mon it only takes about 15 seconds, you don’t have to be that awake :slight_smile:

  2. Keep your beans in the freezer - they stay fresher that way.

  3. Use Unbleached filters. You get a better taste, no bleach residue, they cost they same.

  4. Try 8 O’Clock Colombian (brown bag) or most anything in the grocery store (not Starbucks).

Happy Brewing to You!

I use a French press and when I grind my beans, I leave them kinda chunky, too. Not too finely ground.
I think for a drip coffee make you want them finely ground, but not for a French Press.

And keep your beans out of the freezer, ivylass! Just keep them in a tightly covered container. I use a ceramic canister with a rubber seal to keep air out.

Ok, the freezer issue is a controversial thing :wink: It depends on what site you read. Feel free to disregard that part of my advice but I stand by the rest of it.

Besides, the noise of the grinder will wake you up! :wink:

I grind 4 days worth of beans at a time. The reason is that’s how many beans will fit in my grinder and I don’t want to reclean the grinder every single day.
Yes, day 1’s coffee is clearly the most flavorful, but I don’t notice such a substantial difference between days 2-4 to warrant a change.
I grind it down to a fine powder and I think it tastes better than stopping at a half grind where there are still shards of the beans left floating in the mix.

To add to the confusion - I’ve always heard to keep beans for coffee in the freezer, but to keep beans for espresso in a cool dry place.

Ditto…grind before using and don’t keep coffee beans below room temperature!!!

Coffee beans transfer flavor to liquid through an oil-based osmosis system (no matter what method you use).

If you refrig/freeze the beans you are going to solidify the natural oils in the beans thus reducing the osmosis and reducing the flavor. If you grind well before using, some quantity of the oil will evaporate again reducing the flavor, the whole bean has already oxydized (sic) through processing so the loss is less buy an air tight container obviously helps.

Try it…it really does make a difference.

If you are worried about spoilage don’t…unless your bean container is not air-tight and/or you are storing the beans for more than 180 days…they will not go rancid as long as they are room temperature or just below it.

I also highly recommend the coffee press method, I’ve tried them all and it’s cheap, it’s easy and it works, plus you use less coffee per cup.

Do not start with boiling water…that temp destroys some of the coffee oils but just prior (I let it boil in the microwave then pull it out and wait a few seconds until it stops boiling).

One tip…the biggest problem with a press is the mess you get when you transfer the beans from the grinder to the press…I’ve lessened the mess by grinding the beans on a cutting board place above my sink (one of the many benefits of having that lip on the sink) and using a el cheapo paper plate. I turn the cover and grinder upside down…bang them both a few times with my hand (no need to wipe out unless it’s a particularly oily blend like sumatra and/or sidamo) then “cone” the paper plate into a funnel and pour them into the press.

Play with the steeping time and the quantity of beans until you’re happy…my settings are one-handful of beans that will fit with a closed fist and 6 minutes. Enjoy!

My favorite brewing method is the most basic drip cone that sets right on top of the cup. If you use this method, grind somewhat fine, then “sweat” the grounds by pouring on just enough hot water to soak them, then let them sit for 20 seconds or so before continuing brewing. I occasionally make a pot on the weekends with my Braun coffeemaker, but there’s not comparing it to the results with the single-cup method. As far as grinding, I usually do 3-5 days ahead, because I don’t like getting grounds on the counter when I’m in a hurry in the morning. The difference in taste is too minor to bother me, but then I load my coffee down with half and half, so as long as it’s strong and robust, I’m happy.

I prefer the French press method myself, and while I probably couldn’t taste the difference between beans ground three months ago and beans ground three minutes ago, I can say that coffee beans that are going to be brewed with a French press should be ground as coarsely as possible.

If you want a great home coffee, get yourself a Cuisinart "grind n’ brew’ coffeemaker. It makes the best coffee I’ve ever had. You pour beans directly into the machine, and it grinds them immediately before brewing. Not only that, but it uses a commercial-style water feed system where some water goes through the grounds under pressure, and then then mixed with a proportion of fresh water to get the strength right. Or something like that.

Anyway, it’s probably under $100 US - I think we paid $149 Canadian for ours. And it’s great in the morning because the timer turns on the grinder and everything. You just pour the beans in, turn on the timer, and go to bed.

I work with coffee - Coffee beans are near invincible. You can warehouse them for long periods of time and they will still be fresh. ROASTED coffee beans are a step down. You can probably get a good few months out of them before they go bad (though Ive never seen ‘bad’ coffee). Grounds may have less of a lifespan.

Like others have said:

  1. Do not refrigerate

  2. Do not store coffee beans in a paper bag, use something with either a plastic coating on the inside or a ziploc bag will do (though I cant speak on what will happen if your beans get exposed to too much sunlight). If you keep it in the starbucks or coffee shop bags, you should be fine, unless they are complete idiots in which case they should be beaten.

In terms of flavor though, leave it in the bean form until you need to break that bean seal.

Grind 'em by the pot. Make pots of coffee small enough to finish all the coffee in less than twenty minutes. Use 190 F degree water, not boiling hot. If you use a paper filter (unbleached, please) you can grind fine, if not, grind coarse, and brew a bit longer. Cool dry place, in an opaque container, or dark shelf. Sealed is good, and essential if you pre-grind your beans. Good water is important, but many places have good enough city water to be acceptable. Keep your water in a pitcher if you need to evaporate out the chlorine.

If you want stronger coffee, use more grounds, not longer brewing, though, to get it. Some of the most bitter elements of the flavors in coffee are the least soluble, and are present in greater percentages if you brew for too long. No freezer, no refrigerator for the beans. I have heard lots of mumbo jumbo about why, but I tried it, and it is noticeably different with that one single element as a variable.

And I can’t even drink coffee anymore. Ain’t it a bitch?


“These things that are pleasin’ you can hurt you somehow.” ~ Don Henley & Glenn Frey ~

I run a Starbucks.

Most of the drip coffee we brew comes from preground, flavor sealed pouches. When we grind, we do so a day before, to allow the beans to “de-gas.” If you don’t , it’s not a big deal.

In my opinion, unless you let coffee sit in you cupboard for weeks, you are better off having it ground properly at the store, than improperly at home. A good grinder will chop the beans into uniform chunks. With a cheap blade grinder, by the time the big hunks are gone, a certain percentage of the coffee has been pulverized into black talcum powder. A blade grinder with a large enough bowl will minimize this effect, but a burr grinder is preferred.

Also, if you are unsure of how fine to grind,** always err on the side of too coarse. ** If you grind too coarse, you can correct by adding a little bit more coffee when brewing. If you grind too fine, the coffee will be overextracted and bitter, and no brewing trick can correct this.

Tansu said

HUH??? Where did you hear THAT?

Starbucks coffee is roasted longer, and if you are used to cheap coffee, then, it might seem overpowering.

When coffee roast, it gets to a point where the beans “pop.” This is the point where it is ready to be bagged if you’re making regular grocery brands. There is still moisture in the beans, which is good because then you can charge for water, requiring fewer beans to make a pound of coffee.

However, at this point, Starbucks coffee isn’t finished yet. It continues to roast until the second “pop” is heard. If you’ve been drinking cheap coffee all of your life, you will find our beans do have a bolder flavor. It might be shocking at first. But then, a good bottle of Beaujolais would shock you too if you had been drinking Boone’s Farm all of your life.

The bottom line, however, is that you buy coffee to enjoy it. If what you are doing to your coffee makes you happy, then you are doing it right. Anything you do to increase that enjoyment is good, except stressing about it.

I find Starbucks incredibly bitter. I am not a coffee buff, but I have had beautifully smooth (and strong) freshly roasted coffee in good quality restaurants, and Starbucks just does not compare.

I also quite often have Arabic coffee - with cardamon in it - and it is very strong but not bitter like Starbucks.

Don’t get me wrong - I love Starbucks’ iced coffee and the fact that you can order an anal decaf-skim-vanilla-ice-latte and they will serve it to you correctly and not make you feel like a jerk. But I honestly cannot believe - from taste or from logic - that it is truly “high quality” coffee.

I do understand though that much depends on the individual barista, and that if machines aren’t cleaned properly it can affect the flavour and bitterness. Starbucks in the UAE does vary in bitterness, but it is always burnt/bitter tasting.

Where did I hear that? On this board, among other places. I’ll see if I can find the threads. - there’s one.

Starbucks coffee does not suit my tastebuds, but I don’t think that’s because my tastebuds are under-cultured. Thanks for the concern, though.

ivylass asked what coffee I use - well, I’ll tell you, but it won’t be much use. I buy my beans from one of two places

  1. Farrer’s coffee shop in Kendal, Cumbria. I buy either the French Continental blend, or the Italian blend. The Italian blend is highly flavoured, but not at all burnt. It has a good acidity balance.

  2. Booth’s supermarket, which is specific to Lancashire, South Cumbria and bits of the Yorkshire Dales. The coffee beans are delivered to the store the day after roasting. I usually get either the “espresso” blend/roast or the Mocha.

Thank you for that link. It is truly a testament to the fact that you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet.

With the exception of certain rare finds (We couldn’t serve Kona in all of our stores without exhausting the entire island’s supply of beans, and still coming up short.) our beans certainly are of the highest quality. Your corner roaster can show as much care as he wants in roasting the beans, but he probably only has a passing knowledge or general idea of where they came from. Our roasters have been on the plantation and met the growers, and have brought some beans to Seattle to roast before even deciding to buy them. The economics involved for a small company to do such a thing are staggering.

As for bitterness, it is important to recognize that this is a word with a very specific meaning and it does not describe our coffee. Here is a diagram showing where on your tongue bitterness is experienced. The cup of black Guatamala Antigua I am drinking right now does nothing to that area on my tongue.

If someone doesn’t like our coffee that is their right. I enjoy Chef Boyardee canned pasta. I have tasted some well made italian dishes that did not excite my palate. I would not, however, try to convince anyone that my can of spaghetti and meatballs is of higher quality than the work of a talented chef.