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Ground vs. Whole Bean Coffee: How to Choose What's Right for You

If you're reading this, it's probably pretty safe to say you're serious about your coffee, but do you know the differences between choosing ground or whole bean coffee? If the answer is no, then this post is for you, but even if you answered yes, I'm sure you'll learn a little something here.

While coffee connoisseurs will almost always reach for whole bean coffee, it's not simply because it's 'better'. In fact, what's better to one person may not be for someone else. To put it briefly, whole bean coffee is usually ground right before brewing which results in a more robust and flavorful cup with all of its subtle notes at the forefront. Since all of the taste and aroma comes from the oil that coats the exterior of the bean, you naturally lose some of this when grinding the coffee which is why whole bean coffee tastes well...better. However, if you don't have a grinder or are usually brewing in a hurry pre-ground coffee is more than likely better for you.

If you're still on the fence, here are a few more points to consider:

1) How do you brew your coffee?

Most coffee drinkers use drip brew machines. This method and even the super trendy, pour over method calls for a coffee that is ground to a very particular specification. If your ground is too coarse, your coffee brewed in this way will be weak and watery, too fine and it can be bitter with grinds at the bottom of the pot, and no one likes a mouthful of grinds. Pre-ground coffee is ground perfectly for this method as it is ground to just the right level of coarseness to maximize flavor and provide a full-bodied brew.

2) How much time and patience do you have?

Something to remember when choosing whole bean coffee is that you have to do basically everything yourself. This means choosing the proper grind size for your brewing method and setting your grinder accordingly. Measuring out your beans properly (This step is HUGE), and then cleaning the grinder. All of this on top of the regular prep and work involved with setting, filling, brewing and cleaning your coffee machine. Although all of this additional work yields a great reward, if you're not thrilled on the idea or are running on a tight schedule ground coffee is likely your better option. This way, after filling your coffee machine you can basically set it and forget it while you get ready for a full day of awesome (hopefully, on your bike!).

3) How much coffee do you drink and how often?

Hard truth: Ground coffee does not stay fresh for very long. In fact, it begins to lose some of its nuanced flavor in approximately 2-4 weeks - after opening - which makes for a bland or stale tasting cup. This is simply because as coffee is exposed to oxygen and humidity it begins to lose its flavor. More surface area = more exposure to the air = lost freshness. Booooo! If you're a 2+ cups a day guy (or lady), this isn't a big deal since you'll likely finish the bag of ground coffee well before the 4 week mark. But if you typically only have one cup (that's 8 oz!) a day or maybe not even everyday, you'll probably want to opt for whole bean coffee to guarantee freshness whenever you reach for a cup.

Tip: If you'd like to try whole bean, you're gonna need to get yourself a grinder. There are tons of brands and different types of grinders out there which we'll cover in another post but for now, the Cuisinart Automatic Burr Mill is pretty great for the price point.

Regardless of whether you choose whole bean or ground, with Saints and Sippers, you're in for a deliciously smooth cup of go juice so you can get on the road fueled up and satisfied.

Tell us what your preferred brewing method is and why in the comments and grab a bag of our award-winning coffee here.

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