There's nothing quite like the smell of fresh ground coffee in the morning. In fact, science has shown that the smell of coffee alone can have a stimulating effect. But aside from the smell, is fresh ground coffee (coffee ground within 30 minutes of brewing) better than pre-ground coffee (coffee ground before you take it home)? And if you don't have access to a coffee grinder, are you destined for bad tasting coffee?
Let's start with: is fresh always best? The answer is: kind of. See, coffee grinding is a complex topic, and what this question overlooks is the quality of the coffee grinding. Some domestic coffee grinders (hand grinders included) do a pretty bad job of grinding coffee well. Now, all grinders get the basics right: turn big bits of coffee beans into little bits of coffee beans. But the job of grinding is not only to make our coffee bits smaller, but also to make our coffee bits uniform. The brewed coffees which taste the best will come from grinds of a consistent size, and this is where some home grinders don't do a great job. You'll often find that you end up with a lot of big bits of coffee grinds (boulders) and a lot of small bits (fines), which makes brewing the coffee well very challenging*.
Now, the point here is not that you shouldn't be grinding coffee at home anymore. The point is that if you don't have access to your own grinder at home, then that's okay. You can still enjoy some delicious coffee, even without a grinder in your kitchen. We provide options to grind all our coffees to for you, and while you may not get the smell of fresh ground coffee in the morning, you can be sure that your coffee is ground on the same commercial coffee grinder we use for our QC here at the Timely roastery.
As with all things Timely, we believe in doing what makes you happy to drink your favourite coffees. If that means grinding your coffee yourself on your own grinder, then that's great! But if you can't grind your own coffee, then here are a few tips to get the most out of your pre-ground coffees:
- Store your coffee in the freezer. This will help prolong the life of your coffee, and with pre-ground coffees this is especially important. As soon as your timely coffee arrives and you open up the bag, transfer your grinds to an airtight container. This will help keep some freshness in, and air out.
- Know your grind sizes. We offer three options for our coffees at Timely: whole beans, filter grind, or espresso grind. Whole beans are for those who like to grind their own coffees. Espresso grind is a finer option, and suitable for espresso and stovetop machines. And filter grind good for all other methods: plunger, pour-over, and everything else.
- Weigh it, don't scoop it. Instead of scooping your coffee grinds into your coffee making device, try weighing it out. Find out the amount of coffee to water which tastes best to you, and try to be consistent with each brew.
Coffee should be enjoyable for everyone, regardless of how many gadgets you have in your kitchen. So don't be afraid of pre-ground coffee - if it tastes good to you, that's all that matters.
Until next time,
*Think of cutting up potatoes before you roast them. You want to cut the peices to roughly the same size so they cook at similar rates. Same thing with brewing coffee from coffee grinds.