But why do we grind coffee beans at all? It’s because the grinding process increases the surface area of the roasted coffee beans, and this allows better extraction of the flavours and aromas contained within them. The grinding process also exposes more of the bean to water, which enables the compounds within the bean to dissolve more quickly, so more of these can be extracted.
Think of a whole roasted coffee bean as a little capsule which contains within it precious oils and coffee flavours. As soon as you grind the bean, its flavours begin to escape. When you pass hot water through the ground coffee at pressure you’re able to extract all of these delicious flavours.
Never Grind Coffee Beans Until You Have To!
Our advice is never to grind your coffee beans until you’re actually going to use them. This is because three significant chemical reactions are triggered when you grind coffee beans:
Loss of oils (moisture)
The oils present in coffee beans are soluble in water. It’s precisely because of the solubility of these oils in water that you can enjoy a sweet, delicious and aromatic cup of coffee.
But moisture in the atmosphere can also dilute the flavour of your coffee beans. Grinding them exposes the beans to the atmosphere, leading to a faster loss of these precious oils. So it’s only when you brew a cup of coffee immediately after grinding the beans that you can enjoy the highest concentration of these oils.
Unfortunately, pre-ground coffee may not retain the same amounts of these oils, as they may have already been lost while the bag has been sitting on a shelf in your supermarket.
Loss of CO2
Coffee beans are highly porous, and, as mentioned above, grinding them expands the area exposed to the air. At this precise moment, precious CO2 begins to escape. If you didn’t know it already, these molecules play a vital role in creating amazing aromas. You definitely don’t want to lose these!
Fortunately, if you brew immediately after grinding, your coffee grounds will retain enough CO2 to transfer the oils into your coffee. You will therefore have a higher concentration of these oils in your coffee, hence more flavour, sweetness and aroma.
Oxidation is when air molecules and the coffee compounds create new types of molecules that alter flavours and cause flavours to escape into the air. While some oxidation is good - it kick starts the release of flavours and the brew will absorb them - too much oxidation is wasteful of flavour.
A Word About Storing Coffee
Coffee, whether beans or ground, needs to be stored in a suitable environment to ensure that the CO2 content is retained, otherwise the flavour of the coffee could be impaired. When stored in comparable environments, it’s worth bearing in mind that ground coffee loses flavour faster than beans.
Freshly Ground Coffee Just Tastes Best
Here at Re-Caffeinated we only sell freshly roasted coffee beans as we believe that freshly ground coffee tastes best. The beans retain their flavour right up to the moment you release it when you make your drink. They are best used in bean-to-cup coffee machines or else you can grind the beans yourself to use in a traditional espresso machine or other brewing method.
Click here to see our extensive range of freshly roasted coffee beans.