You won’t get very far with coffee without a grinder. You can stick those whole beans in some hot water, but that’s not going to produce what you know and love as coffee. You need to reduce those beans to small, consistent chunks to get them to brew properly for a flavorful, balanced cup. Although grocery stores, coffee shops, and the geek down the street all have grinders you could put your coffee beans through, you may want to take matters into your own hands.
Running your beans through those far away grinders presents a serious problem for successful coffee brewing. Firstly, you’re probably grinding large bags of coffee at a time to keep you from running to the store every morning. Secondly, those grounds have a bad habit of losing much of their flavor within 30 minutes or so of grinding.
Freshness Can’t Be Beat
Grinding beans minutes before brewing ensures that the very aromatic oils trapped in the beans are kept safe until you’re ready to brew and experience them. Grinding days or weeks in advance compromises the longevity of these oils and is a quality no-no, since most of these oils become nearly tasteless after about 30 minutes. These aromas are responsible for much of the things you taste in coffee.
Vacuum sealed bags and similar technologies are capable of reducing the damage done to pre-ground coffee, but the decline of those aromatic oils is only put on hold till the bag is open. Unless you intend to brew the entire bag at once, those pre-ground beans will suffer an unfortunate and stale end.
You will be amazed at the freshness and flavor of your coffee when you grind your chosen beans right before brewing them.
The Home Grinder
You may be worried at this point that you won’t have space in your kitchen for one of those bulky coffee grinding towers you see at grocery stores and coffee shops. Fear not – those are built for serious volume. Home grinders are built with space in mind.
Hand grinders are affordable, durable, and space-efficient. Although it’ll take a bit of elbow grease to get your morning brew going, you’ll discover arm muscles you never knew you had and your coffee will taste excellent. Electric burr grinders are a step up in cost, but also in convenience. They allow you to take some of the work out of grinding, but don’t sacrifice any quality.
The more uniform your coffee grounds are once they come out of the grinder, the better. Uneven and inconsistent grounds don’t all brew at the same pace, so that even if most of the grounds are brewing properly to give you a balanced cup, some of them that differ in size will be in different stages of the brewing process.
Extra fine grounds extract quickly and put your final cup at risk of bitterness. Extra coarse grounds extract more slowly and could give you a more sour or acidic cup.
A uniform grind can make the difference between bitter and balanced coffee.
A high quality home grinder is essential to brewing consistently delicious coffee. With one in your arsenal, you are the captain of your own coffee ship, the guardian of coffee flavor and aroma.