Grinding on Demand: Why You Should Do It At Home
In the world of coffee there are a lot of differing opinions and views on how to get the best out of your coffee. Thankfully, due to the increase in research and science being applied to coffee we are getting more definitive answers than ever before. It’s this research that has led to the advancement of coffee machines and their availability in stores, it’s what has provided the data for us to see that keeping your coffee in the fridge is detrimental to your flavour. In an effort to share this knowledge with you, let’s talk about Grinding.
To address what happens when you grind your coffee, we need to start at the roasting stage. Because the roasting stage applies a lot of heat to the coffee, in a sort amount of time, there is a vast difference in the chemical make-up of the coffee bean. As a by-product of all the heat being applied, Carbon Dioxide is produced along with a slew of other gases. Directly after roasting, the level of these gases is at their highest, decreasing over time. These gases affect your brewing in different ways depending on the age of the coffee. Too much gas and the water will have more trouble extracting the solubles (flavour) from the grounds causing the coffee to taste grassy and “fresh;” while too little gas causes over-extraction and bitter tones.
For the purposes of this post, we’ll assume your coffee is around the two weeks old mark, which is a sufficient amount of time for the majority of that gas to exit the bean naturally. Now, assuming that there is the ‘Normal’ amount of gas in your beans at the time of grinding, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that grinding those beans will expose much of the interior of the bean to the air and the remaining gases will depart the grounds quite quickly. In fact, science estimates that 45% of the remaining gas will released in 5 minutes after grinding.
So what does this mean for you? It means that to achieve the best coffee possible from your favourite beans, you want to be grinding those beans right before you make your coffee. Whether you’re making your espresso, plunger stovetop or aeropress, beans that are ground for that coffee are a big key to making it taste great.
Now obviously you need to make this work for you. If you don’t have the equipment at home to be able to grind your coffee, then try buying less coffee more often. This will increase the consistency and flavour of your coffee and you’ll be able to notice the difference. Also consider buying a grinder. Blade grinders work sufficiently well for plungers and drip filters, though if you’re making stovetop, aeropress, or espresso, you’ll want a burr grinder. (more on that another day.)
If you already have a grinder, then you are in a prime position to start grinding small amounts at a time. Like I mentioned before, don’t go overboard, but be practical. If you’re currently grinding a whole bag at a time, maybe start by grinding a couple of day’s worth. Once again, you’ll notice the difference.
If you are really looking for the best brew, though, you can’t go past grinding your beans every time you make a coffee. Both the flavour and the consistency you’ll achieve will surprise you!