For many people, a day starts when they finish their cup of coffee. Coffee comes in different variations. You may not be a fan of all the variations. Maybe like espresso ground coffee but have no love for Lavazza ground coffee. However, have you ever thought why most of the people use ground coffee? Why some people use whole bean coffee? Why does the grind size matter? Shall you use pre-ground coffee? If no, why?
Why we grind coffee?
There are oils and delicious flavor components sealed inside the bean. The goal is to get these components out of the bean. First of all, whole roasted beans are boiled in hot water. After some time, you will get high-caffeine, bitter coffee solution.
However, the methods of extracting goodies from coffee beans are greatly improved. These methods allow to extract the solubles giving this taste and aroma to the coffee. Just grind coffee and use water to extract solubles.
What is the logic behind it?
You can efficiently extract solubles
Cutting down the whole bean in half increase its surface area. This makes extraction of solubles more efficient as hot water can work upon more surface area. What if you cut those two halves again? The overall surface area is increased leading to more efficient extraction. In the end, you get the right grind size which gives you the complete extraction of solubles.
What’s wrong with pre-ground coffee?
All the coffee oils and flavor components are protected inside a roasted whole bean coffee. These water-soluble substances are safe if you don’t mess with the roasted whole bean. Here are some other reasons for not buying pre-ground coffee:
There are around 1000 different flavors and aromas inside a roasted coffee bean. If you grind a whole coffee bean, these volatile aromas are exposed to oxygen. You will lose 60% of its aroma within 15 minutes.
Coffee bean contains very delicate oils. These oils can easily get contaminated. You will not get the taste you want.
Exposing ground coffee to moisture dilutes oils. However, there is no such problem with whole bean coffee.
Carbon DIoxide Depletion
Increased surface area leads to carbon dioxide depletion. A lot of carbon dioxide is created when you roast coffee beans. Some of the carbon dioxide is lost as beans are porous. However, a decent amount of carbon dioxide is still retained in the beans. Surface area is increased due to grinding which leads to more carbon dioxide libration. 80% of the carbon dioxide is lost within 1 minute of grinding.
So, what is the solution?
Grind your whole coffee beans just before brewing.
Three factors influencing the grind
Always light roast coffee beans. This will result in more pliable and tenacious beans. More roasting can lead to loss of moisture.
Bean brittleness depends on some factors including process method, time of harvesting, altitude, and cell structure of beans. The brittleness of bean processed using the wet process is different from bean processed with dry process. Bean is roasted three to six months after harvesting. Coffee gets woodier and woodier with time. This is the reason why coffee is roasted as soon as possible. The new crop produces less fine particles.
When you grind coffee grown in lower altitude and then grind coffee grown in higher altitude, you will notice the difference. Higher altitude means slower maturing. This is the reason why coffee grown at higher elevation has denser and harder substance. Brittleness and number of particles produced also depends on the cell structure of coffee bean. The cell structure of Robusta is different from that of Arabica.
Water Quenching vs air quenching
Coffee just removed from the roaster is cooled down immediately. Not doing so causes overoasting. This process of cooling down is known as quenching. Incorrectly done water quenching can damage the surface of the roasted beans. On the other hand, no water is used in air quenching and there is no damage caused to the surface of roasted beans.