Grind Your Own Coffee Beans

The fact that you're here means taste of your coffee is important to you. But there's one thing that I believe you really should do if you're going to buy great quality coffee beans - and that is, to grind your own.

Why You Should Grind Your Own Coffee Beans

We do offer pre-ground coffee, and we grind to order as we're bagging up your coffee. So this is better than a lot of bags of pre-ground, which are ground and bagged up often from several weeks to several months before they end up being opened and used. 

But the simple fact is, coffee ages much faster once it is ground, because so much more of the surface area of the bean is exposed to the air.

Coffee beans are an amazing feat of nature. These tiny little seeds of the coffee cherry plant (they're not actually beans at all) are packed full of natural compounds.

Oils, acids, flavanoids, antioxidants - over a thousand of them, including caffeine - which we refer to simply as solubles.

Literally what a cup of coffee is, is the soluble compounds from the coffee seeds extracted from the roasted and ground beans.

So coffee isn't just a flavour, you're actually ingesting all of these chemical compounds extracted from the bean. 

If you're buying high quality coffee beans, you're investing money in coffee beans that have been grown in order to deliver outstanding compounds in your cup, which translate into fantastic tasting coffee.

So to me it seems crazy, if you're going to invest in such amazing coffee beans, to not enjoy them at their most fresh by grinding just before brewing. 

You don't need to spend a fortune, either.

You can use a manual coffee grinder, or an electric coffee grinder, and for manual brew methods - most grinders will do the job. 

Something like the Wilfa Svart or Wilfa Svart Precision is fine for most manual brew methods.

The Gaggia MD15 isn't a bad low cost choice either, or the Baratza Encore

The above are fine for manual brew methods, electric filter coffee machines and for espresso machines using pressurised baskets, also known as "perfect crema baskets" by Gaggia, and "dual walled baskets" by Sage. 

If you're using an espresso machine with standard baskets, though, you'll need a capable espresso grinder. 

I've had a Sage Smart Grinder Pro for over 4 years now - the dose control pro is almost the same but less features and a bit cheaper.

These are fairly inexpensive grinders, and they're good all-rounder grinders, particularly good for quickly changing from one brew method to another, and I think they're a good pairing for a number of entry level espresso machines, including the Sage Bambino & Bambino Plus

The Iberital MC2 I think is a good performing grinder when it comes to espresso.

Not good as an all-rounder grinder for various brew methods though, due to the stepless wormdial grind adjustment. It's a bit of a rough diamond, it doesn't look particularly pretty, it feels a bit flimsy, but it's a lot of grinding performance for the cost - around £130.

The Nemox Lux is almost the same grinder as the MC2 - but in a prettier and more robust feeling shell - and on-demand rather than being a timer grinder.

I prefer on-demand, I found the timer on the MC2 to be a bit of a pain, and I much prefer the look of this grinder.

The main difference between the Lux & the MC2 is that the Lux is really made as an all-rounder, with 10 stepped grinding settings, so it's OK for espresso, but it's more a jack of all trades than a master of espresso. But - you can mod the Lux to make it a stepless worm-dial grinder, which many people do.

The Eureka Mignon is a great range of grinders for the cost, in my humble opinion. They're a bit more pricey than the other grinders I've mentioned, but this still isn't an expensive coffee grinder, relatively speaking - and they're very good!

The Niche Zero - I love this grinder.

One of the most notable features of this grinder is it's near to zero exchanged retention - which, simply put, means that you don't need to purge coffee (waste a few grams each time) to get out the few grams of coffee from the last time you ground.

As well as this, it's quiet, it's great to look at, it performs brilliantly, it's not at all messy, and it's a lovely grinder to use. 

For more options - including lower cost grinders than mentioned above see  Best Budget Coffee Grinders of 2020 & a Couple to Avoid.

You can get even more for your money if you go down the manual grinder route - and you can grind your own coffee with a hand grinder from as little as about £30. See 11 Best Manual Coffee Grinders / Hand Grinders in the UK

The Importance of Home Grinding

These compounds I mentioned earlier that we enjoy from drinking coffee, are kept in-tact due to a lack of oxidisation.

As soon as beans are roasted, all of these compounds are subject to oxidisation, in which these lovely compounds start to deteriorate. So in order to taste the coffee at it's best, we need to keep oxidisation to a bare minimum.

Speciality coffee is roasted in small batches so that it doesn't sit on a shelf oxidising, it's much more fresh when it ends up in the hands of the customer, than most bags of coffee you'd pick up from a supermarket.

But there's one thing which massively speeds up oxidisation - and that's grinding.

When whole, only the outside of the bean is in contact with the environment. Once coffee is ground, far more of these precious compounds are exposed, and it starts to deteriorate much faster. 

Think about an apple for a minute. Apples can sit in a fruit bowl, or the fridge (each to their own) for quite some time before they start to go manky, for the want of a better word.

But then slice that apple in half - and watch how quickly it starts to go brown.  Puree the apple, leave it exposed to the air, and see how long it stays fresh for. Not long.

While you can't see the effects of oxidisation on ground coffee like you can with an apple, the same thing happens with coffee beans. When coffee is ground and then packaged up, it's likely to have started to deteriorate even before its bagged up.

Even if it's really well vac packed, and this happens immediately after grinding, it's still not going to be as fresh - the compounds aren't going to be as in tact and unspoiled as they would be if you ground them yourself just prior to brewing.

The major deterioration with pre-ground beans, though, is going to happen when you're opening the bag or the airtight container you store your coffee in if you prefer to do that (which I believe is a good idea & which I do myself), each time you brew.

It's all well and good having a form of air tight storage, but you can't avoid allowing your coffee to be introduced to the environment every time you need to open the container or bag to stick your scoop in.

So buying a bag of high quality coffee beans that have been pre-ground - to me, seems like a real shame. 

What you're investing in when all said and done, is those compounds which deliver the taste and the other good stuff that comes with it.

By buying it pre-ground, you'll have lost a fairly significant amount of these by the time they reach you, and even more by the time you've finished the bag.

All that being said, we will pre-grind for you if you really want us to, but we'll do it literally as the coffee is going out of the door to you, to minimize the oxidisation and therefore deterioration of the coffee quality.