Anytime someone comes into our roastery/cafe here in Holly Springs, GA to buy a bag of coffee for the first time, we always ask them one very important question before finalizing the transaction: do you want that whole bean or ground?
Although pre-ground coffee is pretty convenient and quick for the daily coffee drinker with a normal drip coffee machine, making the switch from pre-ground coffee to whole bean can be an easy transition and is a threshold that any adamant caffeine-atic will look back on as something they wish would have happened sooner.
And, despite a bit of up-front costs such as investing in a grinder or a few different manual brewing devices, making the switch from pre-ground to whole bean coffee comes with a wide array of new perks you may not even know about.
In this week’s Alma-nac blog, we’ll be walking through the top three reasons why you may want to consider purchasing whole bean coffee from your favorite coffee roaster and leave the pre-ground coffee in the past. There are definitely more than three reasons why this transition is a step-up for any coffee drinker, but the purpose of this blog is to narrow down the reasons that might help you make your final decision.
#1 | Your Coffee Stays Fresher for Longer
At the top of this list, we’ll go ahead and give you the #1 reason why most coffee drinkers prefer the whole bean purchase over pre-ground, and it’s probably something you’ve heard before at some point in your caffeination experiences: whole bean coffee stays fresher for longer.
It’s important to remember that coffee, although roasted into a “bean” that is far from its original cherry form, is still an organic product at the end of the day; and, just like any organic product (an apple, avocado, bag of potato chips, etc.), the longer coffee is exposed to oxygen, the sooner it will go stale.
Of course, some people reading this might argue that investing in air tight coffee canisters like our AirScapes Re-Sealable Canisters will allow you to pre-grind your coffee and keep that fresher for longer.
Although we do highly endorse our re-sealable canisters as a viable option for keeping oxygen away from your coffee, pre-ground coffee is still at a major disadvantage when compared to whole bean for several reasons.
For whole bean coffee, the bulk of mass within the coffee is kept airtight naturally because only the outer surface area is being exposed to oxygen. Therefore, the argument for whole bean freshness is straight forward in that it is always freshly fresh (if that makes sense) every time you grind whole bean into your daily brewer!
#2 | AROMATICS (THAT Sweet, sweet smell)
This brings us to the second-best argument for whole bean coffee that might not appeal to everyone in the coffee world, but it certainly is my personal favorite aspect of grinding whole bean fresh: every time you grind, you get to savor those sweet coffee aromatics!
That’s right: that smell that so many people seem love more than the taste itself can be part of your daily coffee ritual! Coffee is a sensory experience in every sense of that word, and enjoying it for more than just the taste helps put the amazing-ness of this world renowned fruit into perspective.
Sure, this is a small perk when you think of the added few seconds of work it takes to freshly grind your coffee, but do you not get excited every time you tear open a new bag of Alma Coffee and smell that AMAZING freshly roasted smell?
When you buy pre-ground coffee—as some of you may already know—the more you dig into that bag for your morning cup, the less that stunning coffee smell hits your nostrils and releases a flood of dopamine into your brain.
#3 | grind control = More brewing options
As we covered in a previous blog, grind size really does matter.
However, what we may not have mentioned in that specific blog is how investing in whole bean coffee + a quality grinder + a variety of manual brewing devices = more diverse coffee experiences for your every morning coffee ritual.
You may be reading this and thinking, “how would investing in anything other than a normal drip machine change my coffee drinking experience?”; but, I want you to stop and ask yourself if you’ve ever actually had your favorite light or dark roast coffee from an Aeropress, V60, or Chemex from your own home kitchen and not a coffee shop?
You see, coffee is an extremely complicated and wide-ranging flavor experience in so many ways, but our personal favorite part of the coffee drinking experience at Alma is just how customizable it really is—not just the roasting level but also the at-home brewing decisions you actively adjust.
When you buy whole bean coffee and a quality grinder, your favorite Alma Coffee roast becomes more than just your daily ritual: it becomes a blank canvas on which your palate can freely explore.
From espresso to French Press, this blank canvas is there for you to start *metaphorically* painting on it when every morning as soon as you make the jump to whole bean purchases and learn the basics of dialing in your grind size.
And, if you’re worried it might be too much to take in at once for the daily caffeine fix, we made a helpful series of brew guides on our YouTube channel to walk you through the basics of the most popular manual brewing devices currently on the market!
The Arguments against buying whole bean
We wouldn’t be fairly representing the whole bean community if we also didn’t fairly represent the few downsides of investing in this coffee lifestyle. So, as the coffee journalists we are here on the Alma-nac Blog, we’ll cover the top 3 potential downsides of making a switch to whole bean coffee purchases to bring a journalistic fairness to this blog's whole bean upsides.
You'll have to invest in a grinder...
You'll add an entire extra step to your coffee routine...
You'll become obsessed with buying coffee brewing devices...
OUR FINAL THOUGHTS
Of course, like any coffee debate we've covered on this blog (from expresso v. espresso to the caffeine content of light & dark roasts), we always want to leave you off with a mantra we like to live by here at Alma: coffee is about what you like.
Sure, we advocate for whole bean for all the reasons we've covered today, but if pre-ground works for you and you enjoy every second of your morning coffee ritual, keep enjoying coffee your way!
Let us know in the comments why you love whole bean OR why you aren't convinced to make the switch still, and as always be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter to get notified about all of the latest blog posts, happenings, and new roasts here at Alma Coffee. Until next week—cheers!
Written by: Kelley Bostian