By Ardith Stephanson
Whether you like a long black or cappuccino, a latte or espresso, nothing spoils a cup of coffee like, well, bad coffee.
And whether you’re an aficionado or you’re just learning about different types of coffee, you need to know that the key to any good cup is an excellent base: outstanding coffee beans.
Quality ingredients make the difference. You wouldn’t make grilled tuna steaks with a can of flaked tuna, so why would you make coffee with a sub-par can of grounds?
Fresh coffee beans are the key to an excellent cup of coffee, and as the most important ingredient, you need to choose wisely.
Let’s look at 5 reasons why fresh coffee beans make the best cup of coffee.
Coffee Beans Start To Lose Flavour Once Ground
You may think that pre-ground coffee you’re buying is fresh. After all, you always check the best before date, or perhaps you buy pre-ground coffee from a roaster. Some stores even let you grind the beans at the store.
But that ground coffee is not fresh, particularly if you’re buying it off the shelf in a big pack. That’s because after roasting the beans, they are cooled, ground, and then put in cans or packages, meaning it could be weeks or months between grinding and arrival in your kitchen.
And since coffee beans start losing flavour right after roasting, it’s not possible for them to arrive fresh to your cup. Coffee’s flavour lies in oils, and they evaporate when they come into contact with air. So by the time the coffee arrives at the store, it’s lost much of its natural aromas, flavours and even sugars.
Peak freshness is lost within 1-2 weeks of roasting, and it’s even worse after grinding. In fact, flavours can be lost within 20-30 minutes of grinding the beans.
That’s because those grounds are so small that much more oxygen can hit them, as compared to whole beans, whose large size means it takes longer for the oxygen to break them down. And that oxygen is what causes the coffee to lose its natural aromas, flavours and sugars.
You don’t eat stale bread. Why drink stale coffee?
Fresh Coffee Beans Can Be Customized For Any Coffee Machine
It’s true that pre-ground coffee is suitable for most regular drip coffee machines. The problem is, that’s about its only use. If you want to experiment with different ways to brew your coffee, pre-ground beans won’t cut it.
Let’s say you have a drip coffee pot at home, but you purchased a French press coffee maker to use at the office. It’s small, convenient, and allows you to have an afternoon cup of coffee without making a 12-cup pot. A French press needs coarse ground coffee in order to make an excellent brew.
Or maybe you camp with a pour over system to make your coffee. You need coarse ground coffee for best results. The same thing if you like cold brew coffee - pre-ground coffee is too fine. Different grind sizes are needed for an Aeropress, and other varieties of coffee makers.
If you only use a drip coffee machine, you’ll still get best results from grinding fresh beans. And maybe it’s time you experimented with other types of coffee makers. Then, you’ll want to grind your own beans for sure, so that you can match the grind size to the machine. You’ll expand your options immeasurably.
We ship within 3 days of roasting to ensure our coffee beans is as fresh as possible.
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Fresh Coffee Beans Reveal a “Surprise” That Signals The Best Flavour
Beans also let you try different kinds of coffee, such as espresso, cappuccino, and latte. And if you use fresh beans, you’ll get that surprise signal that indicates the freshest, best tasting brew: the “Crema.”
Crema is the tan-coloured ‘foam’ on top that signals a perfect espresso, and it appears when your beans are fresh. It’s the key differentiator in determining the quality and freshness of the coffee, and it starts with fresh beans.
Crema is a visual cue to a good shot of coffee: thin or no crema can indicate stale coffee. That’s because it’s formed by the release of CO2 from the beans. And since CO2 is released starting with the roasting process, and then following grinding, it makes sense that stale beans have already lost most of their CO2, resulting in little or no crema.
Fresh coffee beans will have CO2 remaining that is then released during grinding and brewing, making a foamy layer of crema when hot water hits the fresh grounds.
So if you want to make the freshest, tastiest coffee with a layer of crema, you should grind fresh beans to the right size on your own, right before you brew.
Buy your freshest and tastiest fresh coffee beans here
You Can Grind Only What You Need
Although it may seem like a good idea, it’s not wise to stockpile packs of ground coffee. If it's stale in the store, it won’t improve with age at your house.
That’s where beans are far superior. Rather than have a bunch of grounds going stale, you can get the best flavour in your mug by grinding only what you need, right before you need it.
Grinding the beans releases CO2, which contributes to ideal flavour and the presence of crema. That CO2 starts to dissipate as soon as it’s exposed to oxygen, however, so it’s best to grind the beans right before brewing.
And you don’t actually save money buying pre-ground coffee, since beans are comparable in price, while being fresher and making a better cup of coffee.
You Don’t Have To Be A Coffee Snob To Appreciate Whole Beans
If you just like a regular cup of coffee, don’t let all this talk of espresso, cappuccino and crema deter you. Appreciating a good cup of coffee doesn’t mean that you have to be a coffee snob. You don’t have to like espresso, and you don’t have to worry about creating crema on the top of your cup.
For any coffee drinker, the basic principle of starting with a superior base ingredient is true: fresh coffee beans are the first and most important ingredient for brewing a superior, fresh cup of coffee. A coffee lover’s worst nightmare is a bad brew. And any convenience you may think you’re getting from pre-ground coffee comes at a cost.
Brew On This
Whether you like a plain cup of coffee, an espresso or a cold brew, the type of coffee you use will make all the difference. And whatever type of brewer you use, it’s also crucial to begin with the best.
Starting with a superior base ingredient, fresh coffee beans, will make all the difference in any type of coffee you enjoy, for any coffee lover.
An excellent choice for every coffee lover is Bop's Beans, which provides fresh coffee beans that are processed each week. This ensures the freshest flavour, sent to you fresh, to ensure the beans maintain full freshness and provide you that delicious crema.
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Ardith Stephanson has spent over 30 years as a journalist, writer and communications professional, and now focuses exclusively on her freelance writing business. You can follow her personal blog theardizan.com