There's no greater feeling than a fresh bag of beans. The smell you get from squeezing the packet, and letting the aromas fill the space around you, is our favourite. Whilst we do find the smell even better when we grind the beans, we are modest with our grinding and aim to only grind the amount we'll need to brew a coffee right in that moment. We recommend coffee enthusiasts do the same to keep the beans fresh and have the best tasting coffee, and here are our reasons why.
1. Prolong the Shelf Life of the Beans
Firstly, let's talk shelf life. Grinding all of the beans you have and pouring them back into their bag sure is convenient, but it might not save you money or energy in the long run.
When beans are roasted, they soon start to lose their flavour. Flavour is lost as the aromatic flavourful compounds in the coffee bean react with the oxygen in the air, in a (totally safe) chemical reaction called oxidation. The more surface contact there is with the air, the faster the process of oxidation.
Grinding beans chops our beans into tiny pieces, each exposing more surface to air and therefore increasing their surface area. Which means they oxidiser faster. If you're not a fan of the big words we used here, put simply, we just mean grinding beans makes them go off quicker.
Beans that are going off won't necessarily hurt you, but what it does mean is they essentially lose all of their flavour and lead to a very bland flat coffee.
Grinding only the beans you need at the time keeps the beans to have more minimal contact with the air , and therefore keep fresher for longer.
2. Fresh Grind = Fresher Flavours
What we also love about grinding at home is the flavours it fills up your kitchen with. As we've mentioned above, grinding only small amounts at a time reduces the time taken for your beans to go off.
But the BEST coffee is the coffee where the coffee has been ground only seconds before brewing in an espresso, pourover, AeroPress etc. There's a reason why they include coffee grinding right before they make the world's best coffee in the World Barista Championships!
3. Grind Sizes Might Need to Change
Next, having a grinder at home is a great way to avoid committing to a grind size when you're dialling in new coffee. As we've said before, and we'll say (in bold) again: coffee is about trial and error. Grinding at home means you can adjust the grind size after you have your first cup of new coffee to better suit the beans and the taste you're looking to achieve.
Some coffees require us to deviate from our normal recipe and call for finer/more coarse grinds. Committing to a single grind type, one that your barista chooses, can limit you from unlocking the full potential of the beans from your own kitchen chemistry!
4. Whole Beans Can Be Frozen
Finally, for the coffee hoarders: did you know you can freeze your beans to prolong their life? Yes, that's right, next to that lasagne you'll probably never get round to eating, you can pop your coffee beans (inside an airtight container) and know they'll be safe and sound.
Whilst we know you can technically freeze ground coffee too, you'll be fighting against freezer burn and moisture with ground coffee - which will surely impact the taste over time. Freezing whole bean coffee, in an airtight container, as soon as possible is the best way to really prolong your coffee. Then, when you need those beans, take out what you need, thaw the beans and grind up for a flavoursome (archived) coffee with ease.