In this post we’ll find out is it cheaper to grind your own coffee beans or should you buy ready-made from the market.
Particularly, we’ll be covering the following points:
- Should I grind my own coffee beans?
- Cost comparison: pre-ground coffee Vs. Home ground coffee
- Tips to save money on coffee
Are you on a quest to find out the difference in costs between the whole-bean coffee and grinded coffee? Whether you should go for whole coffee beans or the grind ones is a long debate among coffee lovers. To be honest, both sides have positive and negative aspects and we’re here to discuss them. To be honest, there is not much difference in the prices of whole bean coffees and the pre-ground ones.
There are many brands that sell their coffee in both forms; whole beans and pre-ground. However, the point to note is that coffee is sold by weight regardless of its form. So, the main thing to find out is that how much coffee can be brewed from the same amount of whole-beans coffee and pre-ground coffee. This post comprehensively explains if you want to know whether it is cheaper to grind your own coffee beans. Also, if you’re in the market for a coffee maker, check our review of the ‘best automatic drip coffee maker’.
Should I grind my own coffee beans?
You might have sensed a difference between a pre-packaged pre-ground coffee and the one that is ground right now spreading that heavenly aroma. Before discussing the costs, let us first discuss the differences between pre-ground coffee and the freshly ground one:
The taste and aroma
Ground coffee is made from whole coffee beans which are grounded, packed, and then sold. In the process, the coffee beans come across contaminants and they lose some of their aroma. Moreover, exposure to air also decreases the taste and quality of the coffee beans and then packaging adds to it too.
During the roasting process, the coffee beans accumulate a lot of carbon-dioxide. This carbon-dioxide is important as it adds to the flavor of the coffee. However, when a coffee comes pre-ground, much of the carbon dioxide gas is lost in the grinding process. Much of the carbon dioxide gas is released in the initial seconds of grinding.
Pre-ground coffee must be stored in an air-tight container otherwise it’ll lose its aroma and taste. When whole coffee beans are freshly grinded, they remain fresh for longer because they are recently grinded. The pre-ground coffee beans also lose their taste and quality during their shelf life and the oils in the coffee start diluting. The oils present in the coffee are vital for maintaining the flavor and scent and when they get diluted, the overall taste is affected.
Pre-ground coffee comes in various forms which include coarse, semi-fine, and finely ground coffee. The good thing with whole beans is that, you can grind them as per your convenience and taste into any form. Pre-ground coffee produces consistent taste and if you’re the one who want to experience different flavors of coffee at different times, then pre-ground is not an option for you.
The grinding process
Coffee gives best aroma and flavor when it’s used within an hour after being grinded. However, this doesn’t mean that pre-ground coffee is tasteless; the coffee manufacturers make good arrangements for the packaging so that the coffee retains its flavor. It is evident that grinding coffee at home gives more natural and strong flavors as compared to the pre-ground one, but, what about the costs?
Cost comparison: pre-ground coffee Vs. Home ground coffee
When you buy pre-ground coffee, it has been grinded and packed, and stored on the shelf for your convenience. No doubt pre-ground coffee is convenient because you don’t have to grind it for brewing a cup. The price difference is not too much when it comes to grinding your coffee beans or buying the pre-ground ones. For example, a 12 ounce coffee (pre-ground and whole coffee beans) bag costs $8 at Starbucks while it is available at $13 for this weight.
If we talk about the per ounce weight, whole beans are a bit expensive; $0.97/oz for Starbucks whole beans while it costs $0.56/oz for ground coffee. Now let’s discuss the cost of whole beans and pre-ground coffee in detail.
Whole Coffee beans
Coffee grinders are cheap and you can get a good quality one for $20. Some of the coffee grinders are quite expensive and the cost can reach as high as $250 to $300; some of the coffee grounds can cost thousands of dollars. Grinders have minimum grinding capacity listed on them, and a normal grinder can grind around 5000 cups of coffee. So, this makes 1 cent for grinding one cup of coffee.
Apart from this, whole coffee beans need time for grinding and then brewing; it takes around 10 to 15 minutes. Following are the main types of coffee grinders that can be used for grinding whole coffee beans:
Manual burr grinder
The manual burr grinder is the least expensive one and is the most durable too. Such grinder has a crank that you can use to grind coffee beans. A manual grinder is the most durable as it has no electronic parts that could get damaged.
Electric blade grinder
Electric blade grinder is also cheap and is a good option if you want to grind your whole coffee beans. You can get a good electric blade grinder in the range of $25. The problem with electric blade grinder is that, it produces inconsistent grind. This type of grinder will produce fine, medium, and extra coarse particles that can affect the taste.
Electric burr grinder
An electric burr grinder is a mid-range machine and it is a perfect option for grinding whole coffee beans. It produces a consistent grind and provides a delicious cup of coffee. A coffee grinder plays an important role in bringing taste to your coffee.
Some people prefer ground coffee because it is convenient and they don’t know what to do with the whole coffee beans. When you buy ground coffee, you just have to buy a coffee maker and not a coffee grinder. A coffee maker costs around $50 and the cost of ground coffee depends on the weight of the coffee bag you’re going to buy. A coffee maker is also needed with whole coffee beans; you use a coffee grinder for grinding them and then a coffee maker for brewing coffee.
As we discussed earlier, the cost of whole beans coffee and pre-ground coffee is almost same but there are other indirect costs that can add to the pre-ground coffee. Following are some things which you should consider for future if you want to measure the cost differences:
- Ground coffee doesn’t remain fresh for longer; it tastes good only for a few days.
- The coffee then doesn’t taste too good and you think it has gone bad, you eventually discard it.
What have you done? You threw away money which you spent on buying the ground coffee. So, if you want a coffee that tastes better and remains fresh for longer, buy whole coffee beans in bulk and a coffee grinder that could save you pennies in the future.
Tips to save money on coffee
There are a lot of factors that add to the cost of coffee which include the quality of the beans used. Whole coffee beans are mostly of high quality and thus they cost more than pre-ground coffee. Pre-ground coffee is mostly made from low quality beans and it also includes fillers and additives that lowers the overall cost.
Pre-ground coffee is also made in greater volume and this decreases the total cost of the coffee. There are, however, some brands of pre-ground coffee that sell high quality coffee that is expensive as compared to whole coffee beans. If you are determined to save money on coffee, you’ll find the following tips useful:
- Buy coffee beans in bulk (you can buy 50 lbs) from any of your favorite brand.
- Grind your own coffee beans using a coffee grinder. A coffee grinder doesn’t has to be fancy, a normal cheap or mid-range one is good to go.
- To make a super tasty cup of coffee, grind your coffee beans again so that it is in the form of fine granules.
- To save time, grind your coffee for three to four days. You can use the coffee grinder and set a round for 8 to 10 cups.
- Clean your coffee grinder regularly so that it lasts long.
Yes! After going through this post, you might have realized that it is cheaper to grind your own coffee beans. If you have been using pre-ground coffee all the time, now is the time to switch to whole coffee beans. In some time you’ll realize that grinding and brewing coffee at home is more affordable and satisfying at the same time.
The good thing about grinding your coffee beans at home is that you can also customize the texture according to your taste. Our calculations also suggest that it is easier and cheaper to grind coffee bins. If you’re a regular and long-term coffee drinker, then grinding your own coffee beans will save you a lot of money in the future.