Stale Coffee is Bad Coffee
When it comes to coffee brewing, switching from pre-ground to fresh ground is one of the most striking changes you can make at home. Coffee stales rapidly once ground, and there are few good ways to preserve the freshest flavors for an extended period of time. Whenever possible, it’s best to grind each time you brew so your ground coffee is as fresh as it can be.
If you’ll pardon a little coffee science for a moment (lab coats and goggles on, please!), let’s take a look at why pre-ground coffee can be underwhelming. Roasted coffee is susceptible to a number of staling factors, and will expire as its flavor degrades irreparably over time. One of the chief elements of staling is oxidation, where oxygen molecules in the air react with the various flavor compounds in coffee and cause them to change or break down. Fresh coffee is vibrant and lively, bursting with flavorful oils and sparkling aromatic compounds. When exposed to oxygen and time, however, your coffee’s oils will go rancid, and the aromas — naturally volatile, fleeting, and rather delicate — will dim and dissipate. The result: what was once an expressive and unique coffee experience has now faded into a more generic roasty “coffee” flavor.
Freshly ground coffee is noticeably more lively than pre-ground: when it comes in contact with hot water, it will swell and bloom, releasing bountiful aromatics.
Coffee staling will happen gradually over time, even with whole bean coffee. But when you grind coffee, you increase the overall surface area dramatically. All that extra surface means even more exposure to oxygen, light, and heat, and the resulting flavor loss is noticeable in a matter of minutes. Buying a bag of pre-ground coffee is awfully convenient, but more often than not that bag is stale before it hits the shelf.
All burr grinders use the same general principle: they use sharp cutting surfaces and precise adjustment to chop up the coffee in a more controlled manner, like a skilled chef using a sharp knife, resulting in more consistent grinds. Burrs can be flat, conical, or a hybrid of both, and typically come in either steel or ceramic. The two burrs of the set oppose each other so the beans will get stuck in between and cut from both sides. They are meant to be sharp, are far better performers than blades, and will offer a marked improvement in your coffee’s flavor.
Explore Different Burr Grinders and Get Grinding
Capresso Burr Grinder
from: Best Buy
Grind coffee for a wide range of coffeemakers with this Capresso 5-oz. coffee grinder that features a 17-position grind selector to accommodate espresso, drip, French press and percolator brewers. The burr grinding wheels deliver uniform grinding.
Mr. Coffee Burr Grinder
from: Best Buy
This coffee grinder features burr plates that deliver a uniform grind for optimized flavor and 18 custom-grind settings that let you create a wide variety of coffee drinks.
Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton Storage Capacity (100g)
This hand grinder has been designed by Hario to provide coffee lovers with an inexpensive means to have freshly-ground coffee, even while traveling with a light load.
Keep it Clean
If you drink coffee as much as we do, that means you’re grinding a lot of beans. Even the best burr grinder will eventually slow down if you don’t keep it clean. We recommend a soft clean between blends and the occasional deep clean. One of the best ways to clean out residual oils and left over grinds is to run Full Circle Coffee Grinder Cleaner tablets through the grinder every month or so.