Seeing a coffee grinder on a kitchen bench is increasingly becoming a commonplace experience. More and more people, especially young professionals, are seeing grinding their own coffee beans either on an automatic or hand grinder as almost a given.
So what was it that has convinced so many people to embrace a practice which by all appearances makes life harder rather than simpler? What are the benefits of grinding your own coffee beans?
There are three basic benefits;
The simplest reason that so many are turning to the specialty coffee movement and consequently to grinding their own beans is that it produces better tasting coffee. People don’t always realise that coffee beans are technically considered produce and lose flavour and aroma over time. This process is accelerated by grinding the coffee beans and exposing the coffee particles to air.
Basically, the older the coffee beans and the longer since they were grinded, the less flavour they will have. This is the reason that your favourite cafe doesn’t use pre ground coffee but has a beast of a grinder on the bench beside the espresso machine. Because coffee ground on demand and used immediately tastes superior to coffee that was ground some time ago.
Coffee loses both flavour and aroma over time and so pre ground coffee necessarily starts on the back foot. The first benefit of grinding your own coffee beans is that it results in better tasting coffee.
The second benefit is that grinding your own coffee beans adds to the coffee experience. For many people coffee is far more than simply a sharp hit of caffeine, but instead it is a ritual, a habit, a much anticipated aspect of the daily routine. And so we don’t only enjoy the flavor of the coffee, but the process.
This is why so many people are leaving instant coffee behind for fancier methods. Because we enjoy both the taste and ritual of coffee brewing. And purchasing a burr coffee grinder only adds to the joy of this process. Whether you opt for an automatic or a manual coffee grinder, there is something about the sweet aroma of fresh coffee being ground that is almost intoxicating.
You will come to appreciate not only the flavour difference of grinding your own beans, but the experience difference. Here is a guide to finding the best manual coffee grinder if you think this could be you.
The final benefit of grinding your own coffee beans is far greater flexibility in your coffee brewing. As you may well know, each different type of coffee brewer requires a specific grind size for optimal extraction and flavour. For example, you use a very different grind size for French Press than you do for espresso.
However, if you stick with pre ground coffee, you will be limited to two or a maximum of three different grind sizes. Usually there is a fine grind roughly the right size for espresso, and a medium grind roughly the size for drip coffee machines. However, if Aeropress is your thing, you will be stuck trying to fit a square peg into a circular hole.
By grinding your own coffee beans, you give yourself the flexibility to play with different styles of coffee brewing and to make sure you are using the right size for your favourite brewer.
So in summary, should you grind your own coffee beans? Absolutely! Grinding your own coffee beans is the first step into the real world of coffee brewing and results in better taste, a better experience, and better flexibility.