“To bean, or not to bean, that is the question.”
Hamlet. Now there’s a guy who could have used a couple of espresso shots and a really good therapist.
However, he’s got a great question (if in a bad misquote): what are the benefits of whole bean vs ground coffee? At Cooper’s Cask Coffee, we’re coffee snobs, to be sure—otherwise, we wouldn’t do what we do with such passion! Contact us anytime with questions about finding, grinding, brewing, and loving the perfect coffee.
We also understand that enjoying coffee is a personal experience, and you have most definitely got to do you. So no matter your choices, we have your back. And your cup.
But first, let’s level the brewing field with some java science.
What are coffee beans?
It’s a trick question. Coffee beans aren’t actually beans. #andnowyouknow
Coffee beans are seeds that come from a coffee “cherry.” Yeah, it’s a fruit, and it’s actually pretty tasty. Our single origin coffees all come from coffee cherries grown in single-region farms across the globe.
Each farm’s preparation process removes the skin, fruit body, and parchment from the seed, and that becomes the green coffee “beans.” We don’t know who started calling them beans; they just look like it, and somebody said, “whoa, beans.” Yeah, we’ll go with that.
Two Different Kinds of Coffee Beans
The coffee beans most of us have seen come in pairs inside the cherry. These seeds grow with their flat sides together.
There’s also a version of coffee seeds that grow with just one inside the cherry. That’s called “peaberry” coffee, and it’s just as tasty.
Related topic: the journey of whole bean coffee.
Whole Bean vs Ground Coffee
Let’s start this conversation with total transparency: the staff at Cooper’s Cask Coffee is on Team Bean. We prefer whole beans over ground coffee. There, we said it; we own it. It’s admitted.
We also have reasons why we like whole bean vs ground coffee, which we’ll illustrate shortly. Don’t be discouraged if you prefer ground coffee! It’s your cup, so it’s your choice.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each style of coffee product.
Pros of Whole Bean Coffee
When your Cooper’s Cask Coffee beans arrive whole, they’re roasted to perfection and ready for you to grind and brew however you please.
We get such a kick from pouring the beans into our grinder, and enjoying the aromas released in the grinding process. Then we brew it (we’re especially fond of the pour-over technique), filling the room with that “mmm-mmmmm” smell. The last step is pouring a cup of just-right coffee and taking that first sip. Hello heaven!
Whole beans also stay fresher longer. Exposure to air oxidizes the solubles in the coffee, the very things that make coffee taste and smell so good. Once the coffee is roasted, peak freshness lasts up to 2 to 4 weeks. After that, you’ll begin to lose smell and flavor.
If your coffee beans remain whole, they’ll have less surface area exposed to air, making the oxidation rate slower than if the coffee arrived ground.
When your Cooper’s Cask Coffee arrives as whole bean coffee, you get to choose the grind that works best for your intended coffee style.
For example: let’s say you order our Kenya AA Medium Dark Roast Coffee. This delicious coffee offers a flavor profile including dark roasting notes along with the tastes of baked peaches and a heavy syrupy body.
You might give these beans a medium-coarse grind for your automatic drip coffee maker. A good coffee maker will apply the right temperature and amount of water for the best extraction, and voila. You have an amazing cup of joe.
Our Kenya AA Medium Dark Roast Coffee also makes a great espresso! So with whole beans, you can do a fine grind, load up your espresso machine, and pull a shot of solid black gold.
With whole beans, you have the flexibility to grind according to purpose.
We’ll just leave this little list right here:
- Chocolate covered coffee beans
- Coffee bean trail mix
- Caramel and coffee bean ice cream topping
- Coffee bean brownies
- Chocolate chip coffee bean cookies
- And more.
We have to stop because we’re salivating.
Whole Coffee Bean Cons
To be fair when evaluating whole bean vs ground coffee, we’ve got to list the cons of purchasing whole coffee beans.
Not as Convenient
You have to take the time to grind the coffee, and do any cleanup involved in that.
If you’ve already invested in a good coffee brewing system, the added cost of a good grinder (we’ll talk about good grinders shortly) might seem like that step too far. Especially if you don’t absolutely love good coffee. You know, like we do.
There you have it, the pros and cons of whole bean coffee; let’s take a look at your other choice. Or, as Hamlet was once misquoted, “Grounds, grounds, grounds!”
Pros of Ground Coffee
When you open a bag of Cooper’s Cask Coffee ground coffee, it smells delicious, and it’s deliciously ready to brew.
Because you ordered it at the level of grind of your choice, it’s a no-hassle trip from the coffee container to the brew basket, portafilter, French press carafe, or wherever you put your ground coffee before brewing your next cup.
We even offer single-serve cups, including both regular single origin coffees and our barrel aged coffees.
Need a grinder? Nope, it’s already done for you. Scratch that off your wishlist.
Aaaand that’s it. Purchasing ground coffee is more convenient than buying whole beans, and doesn’t require a grinder. So why the side glance when “ground coffee” is recommended to coffee aficionados?
Cons of Ground Coffee
Without further ado, here’s why coffee purists a-don’t prefer ground coffee.
When you grind coffee, it opens up everything within the bean to the deleterious effects of oxygen. The solubles oxidize more quickly, making the shelf life of ground coffee shorter than of whole beans.
Related to the freshness, if you want the best flavors out of your ground coffee, you’ll have to use it up more quickly than with beans.
That may not be an issue for some folk, but if you like to have more than one coffee in the house so you can match the flavor profile to your current occasion, brewing style, or mood—using ground coffee slowly risks losing flavor and aroma.
Let’s say you purchase Cooper’s Cask Coffee Rum Barrel Aged coffee and choose a coarse grind level. You’ll make some amazing cold brew with a unique rich, and vibrant flavor profile. Plus, your French press will thank you by making amazing coffee with notes of dark toffee and molasses, along with a caramel sweetness and slight spiciness that comes from our rum barrels.
However, that coarse grind won’t deliver the correct amount of extraction. It’s certainly drinkable, but it’s not the best it can be. And espresso? Fuggedaboudit.
Remember: the grind dictates the brewing method.
Related topic: how long does coffee last?
Whole Bean vs Ground Coffee: Boiled Down
So, in simple terms:
Whole Bean Pros:
- Multiple sensory experiences in the brewing process
- Longer freshness
- Can grind for multiple styles
- Create goodies with the beans
Whole Bean Cons:
- Have to buy a grinder and do it yourself.
Ground Coffee Pros:
- No grinder needed
Ground Coffee Cons:
- Shorter shelf life than beans
- Have to use faster than beans
- One grind level per bag
You have to choose which best fits your lifestyle and needs. You can contact us for expert recommendations or try out our coffee finder to find the right Cooper’s Cask Coffee for your cup. Whichever coffee makes you happy, makes us happy.
No matter what you try, our 100% money back guarantee ensures you’ll be satisfied with your experience!
Oh, there is one coffee we forgot to mention…
What is instant coffee?
It’s a tool of the devil, meant only for astronauts and the truly desperate. Our heart goes out to you if it’s your only choice.
Grinders for When You Choose “To Bean”
Something’s tasty in the state of Denmark. And Rhode Island, our home state.
If you decide to join us on Team Bean, you’ll need to know the difference between burr grinders, and blade grinders.
Blade grinders are common in household settings and the least expensive of the two choices. However, the value is lost by the inconsistency of the grind. Blade grinders chop up the beans, and depending on how they bounce around in the grinder, some get more chopped than others.
The results? Ground coffee with uneven particle sizes. This means your brew will be sub-par, which is why we don’t recommend blade grinders.
Yeah, we know: why is it always the more expensive choice that makes the best coffee? It’s because burr grinders—at least the good ones—grind by pressure rather than by chopping. This makes for more uniform, even grounds and much fewer “fines”.
Fines are those tiny pieces of coffee that almost seem like a powder. You’ll frequently see them in blade grinders stuck to the side. They have a tendency to cling to plastic parts because of static. Yeah, they’re that fine.
Burr grinders provide accuracy and choices for grind level. Blade grinders just chop, and what you get is what you get. It could be worse, but if you can swing a burr grinder, it can be much, much better.
Contact us for burr grinder recommendations. We’ll be happy to throw some names and contacts at you.
Whole or Ground, We Deliver Fresh
When it comes to freshness, there’s no difference between our whole bean vs ground coffee. Order either style from Cooper’s Cask Coffee, and you’ll get the freshest possible product delivered to your door.
Our master roasting process doesn’t even begin until an order is placed. That way, your coffee receives the freshest roast possible. See for yourself when you get your shipment. Our head roasters hand-write the roast date on the bag, along with the lot number, so you know how fresh it is.
Order more than $50 worth, and we’ll ship it free! Huh. Might be able to afford a burr grinder after all, yeah?
True Gourmet Coffee, Roasted to Perfection
There’s a reason we have over 7000 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon. It’s the coffee! Box sets, gift collections, cold brew to hot, brew up some Cooper’s Cask Coffee, and feel better about life. Or your mom marrying your uncle. #hamletreferencethere
Let’s toast to the roast! Small batch, big satisfaction. Cooper’s Cask Coffee.