Guest Author - Grace Hodgin
If you have only tried drinking ground coffee then for a different adventure next time try buying whole bean coffee instead. Grinding your whole bean coffee at home and in small amounts has certain advantages and will stay fresher and yield a richer taste. You can grind it at the store but there are two draw backs to that decision. Your coffee may be mixed with the other customers who last ground their coffee there too. You won't be getting to experience the full rich flavor of the coffee you chose and it may also pick up scents of the surrounding aroma. Another reason to consider not grinding it at the store is that you will not want to grind the whole bag of whole beans. Determining how much coffee you grind will depend on how much coffee you drink per day. Ideally it is best just to grind what you will be drinking for the day and at most the week. Grinding more than that may cost you the flavor and aroma your wanting to experience because of the risk of loosing the freshness once ground and stored for a number of days.
Investing in an initial coffee grinder will not be expensive. Normal prices are any where from $10 to $20.00. I found one on the clearance aisle when I began experimenting with whole bean and only paid $5.00. It was certainly good enough to get me started. If you like buying the whole bean you can invest in a more expensive grinder later.
Keep in mind that roasted whole bean coffees have about a 30 to 45 days before it starts loosing the freshness and full roasted flavor. Appropriate storage can help preserve the freshness so always try and buy your whole bean coffee in one pound bags and leave them sealed until you need them to make coffee. Your coffee will stay fresh if sealed and stored in one pound bags about 3 months. Store your whole bean coffee you have opened in an air tight storage container and keep it in a dry, cool place. The kitchen counter works well for the most part. Most people's first reaction is to store their coffee in the freezer but that is a mistake. Beans begin to thaw unless placed back quickly into the freezer and the condensation will begin and the beans will absorb the water. This effects the freshness and taste of the coffee.
Remember to only grind what you will be using daily and if convenience is a problem and you don't have time to grind your coffee each day then you can grind enough for several days but no more than a week. Storing your ground coffee, if grinding more than you will use in a day, is also key to maintaining freshness. Drinking whole bean coffee may taste stronger at first but give it a chance and you may find you start looking forward to that fresh cup of morning coffee for the flavor rather than just the morning jolt of energy.