How to Make a Great Cup of Coffee - Part 1 - Why Grind Yourself?
Speedgoat Coffee Roasting Co. is new on the scene and what we do here is a little different from what most folks in Lander have seen before. Lately I’ve been asked a single question from curious friends and customers: “Why is grinding my own coffee important?” This got me to thinking about how to orient people who are new to specialty coffee practices so that they too may enjoy their coffee a much as possible. As some of you may know, every practice and profession can lead to nearly obsessive refinement, so I’ll just touch on the basics of how to make a great cup of coffee.
It’s Like Owning A Toaster
If you’re like me, your morning routine involves getting yourself fueled for the day. No matter how you start your day, the morning cup is likely more important than any other. Perhaps you set your coffee maker’s automatic timer at night to make your morning a little less task intensive. Maybe the aroma of a freshly made pot is motivation to get moving. Me? I’m shuffling to the kitchen, flipping the switch on the kettle, measuring whole beans for 2 cups of brew, setting those aside and hopping in the shower while the kettle does its work. The grind will wait.
Similar to the allure of a freshly brewed pot wafting though the bedroom door, I love to open a bag of fresh beans to release the densely packed aromatics upon grinding. Even though it’s an extra step in the process to get that morning cup, the grind has to happen at some point between roast and the finished brewed cup - so why not get the fullest flavor and body by waiting until it’s time to brew?
For those who can’t be bothered with taking a little time for the experience of the ritual that ensures a great brew, I’ll leave you with this comparison: Pre-ground coffee is to brewed coffee what stale bread is to toast.
The toaster might change the bread’s texture to trick our senses into telling our brains it’s fresh because it’s warm and a crispy on the outside, but ultimately it’s never as good as fresh bread. Since coffee is quick to oxidize, or become stale, it’s best to use it within a few weeks after roasting. And since exposure to oxygen is what causes food and beverage to stale, it’s best to reduce the total surface area exposed in order to maintain freshness. In the case of coffee, grinding those precious beans anytime other than right before use only accelerates the oxidization process. Second only to high-quality, fresh-roasted coffee, freshly ground coffee is key to a truly good cup. Anyway, who has an auto-timed toaster they program at night?
Does it stop there? Oh, no. I’m just getting started. The type of grinder you have is important too!