Grinding coffee at home may seem like an unnecessary addition to your morning brew-making routine. Why do it yourself when you can pick a bag of ‘freshly ground coffee’ off the supermarket shelf? I only started grinding coffee at home recently but it tastes so much better. Here are some of the main reasons why I prefer to grind my coffee at home:
It’s not really fresh (sorry!)
The coffee you pick up in the supermarket ready to spoon into your cup the second you’ve finished boiling the kettle isn’t fresh. Once ground by the roastery, the coffee is then packaged, shipped and stored, all before you pick it up off the shelf. This process may take place over a number of weeks, meanwhile your fresh coffee is deteriorating. Although some coffee packaging is now designed to prevent deterioration, this is no substitute for grinding coffee fresh to order.
Freshly ground coffee should indicate that the coffee has just been ejected from the grinder. This should not be used for coffee that has sat on the shelf for a week or more. Whilst you can get your coffee ground in front of you in some good quality coffee shops, I would recommend going one step further. The way your house will smell afterwards is worth it alone.
Did you know that coffee begins to lose its aroma within 20 minutes of grinding? By the time you reach for your favourite blend, you are only experiencing a fraction of the coffee’s potential taste but the smell too. Grinding your coffee beans at home ensures that you don’t lose any of the wonderful and delicate aromas.
Last weekend I attended the Manchester Coffee Festival, the smell of freshly ground coffee as I walked around the venue was delightful. When tasting the individual coffees you could smell and taste the subtle difference between each roast. I’m a huge fan of Peruvian coffee and found a single origin Balcones Especial by Union which fit the bill perfectly. The aroma is a mixture of apples and a syrupy sweetness and is a real treat to drink, especially on a cold morning.
Very few people I have met don’t like the smell of coffee. Even those who admit they don’t like the taste can’t resist the smell first thing in the morning. Worry not, a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry claimed that the smell of coffee alone can help wake you up!
Grinding coffee beans by hand is surprisingly therapeutic. Hearing and feeling the coffee beans crack and crunch with each twist of the handle is an excellent way to reduce stress, or so I’ve found! Of course, you could always use an electric grinder but where’s the fun in that?
When I grind coffee at home I use the Rhinowares Hand Grinder; the grinder is compact and very easy to use no matter where you are. You can easily adjust the grinder to different levels of granularity. Whereas an Aeropress requires finely ground coffee, caffetieres produce better coffee with coarse coffee grounds. Although some hand grinders have been criticised for producing inconsistent grounds, I have never had that problem with my Rhinowares grinder. Place the coffee into the top compartment, twist the handle until all the beans are reduced to powder then remove the bottom. Simple!
The Time Consideration
Grinding coffee takes about one minute by hand. For that reason, grinding coffee by hand isn’t convenient when you are in a rush. Just think, by the time you have measured your coffee, ground it by hand and brewed it however you prefer, you could have had a cup of instant in less than half the time! I plan an extra five minutes into my morning routing purely dedicated to making the perfect cup of joe. However, if time is of the essence, ready ground coffee may be the best option.
The Benefit of Electronic Grinders
I have never tried an electronic grinder. However, the benefits of going electric would be the speed and volume of coffee that you can grind at a time. Best Review’s recommended electronic coffee grinder of 2017 is the Cuisinart DBM-8 which you can pick up new for £94.90 on Amazon at the time of writing. However, their best value option retails around the £30 mark which is more reasonable for the everyday consumer.
Electronic grinders come in many shapes and sizes and take away the hassle of grinding by hand. They are also super fast and can grind large batches of coffee. It is well worth considering an electric grinder if you drink coffee by the bucket load or if you know that you will be in a rush in the morning!
Grinding Coffee At Home: The Verdict
Grinding coffee at home has become an essential part of my brew making routine. The debate over what brands mean by ‘freshly ground coffee’ isn’t likely to go away any time soon however you can ensure that your coffee is fresh at the point of grinding by doing it for yourself. Freshly ground coffee doesn’t just smell better, the flavour is so much more powerful too. After all who can resist the perfect cup of coffee?