Have you ever wondered what makes those posh coffee house beverages taste so good? Although it could be the mix-ins and added flavours, there's also a good chance they are using high-quality ground coffee. Fresh ground coffee will provide a completely different flavour profile versus that of instant coffee or even coffee from the K-cup style machines. If you’re ready to elevate your coffee game and start enjoying high-end beverages at home, you must dive into the world of ground beans.
To ensure you’re not too overwhelmed with the options and the steps, let’s look at how to make coffee with fresh ground beans so that it tastes just as fresh and flavourful as it does at the coffee house. This means you won’t have to leave the house to enjoy a fabulous cup of coffee anymore.
Why Is Freshly Ground Coffee “Better”?
Not convinced you have to mess around with ground coffee to get a better flavour profile? The thing is, freshly ground coffee is just always going to taste better. When you grind the coffee beans, you release the coffee oils and aroma, which will then positively affect the flavour. It will taste richer, fuller, fresher and can even be less bitter.
What about vacuum-packed ground beans, you may ask? Although you can find these in shops and it may seem like an easier and faster solution, some of that flavour will still be lost. Vacuum packed ground beans will taste better than instant coffee, but they still can’t rival freshly ground beans. There is just no substitute.
When purchasing coffee beans, you may also be tempted to grind a bunch in advance and store them in an air-tight container. This isn’t advisable. Instead, just grind what you need for that moment, or at the most – that day.
How to Buy Coffee Beans
The first step in making ground coffee at home will be to purchase whole coffee beans. This may sound simple enough but, as soon as you see the number of options you have, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are some basics you need to know when it comes to buying coffee beans, which will help ensure you get good quality beans with the kind of flavour profile you like.
You can use these tips when purchasing coffee beans:
- Are the beans stored in an airtight container or bag? This is the only way to preserve their freshness, otherwise, you're not going to get high-quality beans.
- The packaging should state where the beans were grown and where it was roasted. If it doesn't, it may signal that it's not of great quality.
- When was the coffee roasted? Ideally, you want to choose beans that were roasted within the past two weeks. As soon as they were roasted, the countdown clock begins, and the fresher the roast is, the better the flavour will be. If you can’t find anything that was roasted within the last two weeks, look for something as recent as possible.
- If you can look at the beans through the packaging, check to make sure they don't look oily. When a bean is oily-looking, it means it has been roasted for too long, which will make your coffee taste burnt.
- Pay attention to the roast level, as this will play a huge role in the flavour. You can choose from a light, medium and dark roast. The darker the roast, the stronger it will taste.
- You may want to pick up roasts of different levels meant for different times of the day and situations.
- Arabica coffee is the most popular type of bean, especially in high-end coffee shops.
- Robusta coffee tends to lack a bit in the flavour complexity category, but not everyone enjoys a complex cup of coffee.
Once you purchase your coffee beans and bring them home, storage will be essential to keeping them fresh. You will want to store your coffee beans in an air-tight container that is opaque in colour. The container should be stored at room temperature and not in direct light.
How to Grind Coffee at Home – What Equipment/Items You Need
You’ve got your coffee beans, you’ve stored them correctly, now you need the right items to grind your coffee at home. The best tip is to purchase a coffee grinder. These are small, portable, easy to store and simple to use.
The capacity doesn't need to be large since you shouldn't be grinding all the beans from the bag at once, but what is important is the speed. Grinding it at high speed can generate heat, which may negatively affect the taste of the coffee beans. Instead, you're better off purchasing a low-speed motor that will give a consistent grind without heating the beans. Experts suggest you resist using the pulse feature, if applicable, and just grind it in one go without starting and stopping.
Now It’s Time to Brew - How to Make Coffee from Grounds
How to make coffee with ground coffee is the next question to address. This is easily the most exciting part because this is when the magic happens. Those grounds will transform into the best cup of coffee you have ever tasted and you’ll wonder why you weren’t using this method earlier.
You've got a few options available. You can use grounds with a traditional drip-style coffee machine, a pour-over, a French press or with the single-brew Keurig style machines as long as you have the refillable/reusable filter cup to fit in it. Each one has its pros and cons, so some of the things you’ll want to consider are:
- How fast the brew time is
Not every option will tick off every box for you, so be sure to think about your coffee expectations.
The pour-over and French press don't require any type of machine, since they are actually handheld devices. They are the more traditional way to make coffee and tend to offer the best and most robust flavour. They work by soaking the grounds, and then the water you add/pour-over will pass through the coffee grounds and a filter so you're left with something extremely flavourful and fresh. Typically, once people start to use these methods, they will have a hard time going back to a drip-style coffee machine. The flavour just can’t compare.
So, what’s the downside of pour-over and French press style devices? These aren’t meant for people who need speed. If you’re in a hurry in the morning and you just need a quick cup of coffee, these simply won’t cut it. In general, the coffee needs to steep for four minutes in a French press, and it takes about three minutes to pass through the pour-over. While that may not sound like a lot of time, when you’re in a hurry, every minute counts.
Then there are the popular drip-style coffee machines. If ease of use and speed is top of the list, then this is the best way to make coffee with coffee grounds. You’ll need a coffee machine, filters and water.
To brew a full pot can take 6-12 minutes depending on the size of the coffee pot, but there’s a convenient fix to this problem. Look for a coffee machine with a timer so that you can set it to start brewing before your alarm goes off. This means you can wake up to freshly brewed hot coffee without taking extra time in your routine. The key is to remember to set it up the night before.
If you have a couple of coffee drinkers in the house, a coffee machine can be convenient since it brews many cups at once.
Be Mindful of the Machine/Device When Grinding the Coffee Beans
Depending on which coffee machine/device you choose, it’s also going to determine how much coffee you need to grind. For the pour-over and French press devices, you only need enough for one cup at a time. For a drip-style machine, you need to factor in the size of the coffee pot.
Want to Take Your Coffee to the Next Level? Try These Mix-Ins
And of course, we can’t chat about coffee without discussing a few ways to take it to the next level. Although freshly ground coffee will taste amazing, there’s nothing wrong with some creative mix-ins. Here are some that you may want to try:
- Sauces and syrups can include such things as chocolate, vanilla, caramel and cinnamon dulce
- Frothed milk for the top
- Whipped cream
- Ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick
- Chocolate flakes
You can get as decadent as you want with the mix-ins. If you’re serving the freshly brewed coffee with dessert, you can even spike it with your favourite alcohol.
Making Ground Coffee at Home Couldn’t Be Easier
If you’ve been shying away from the idea of making coffee from ground beans simply because you assumed it’s too time-consuming and confusing, it’s time to think again. Making ground coffee at home couldn’t be easier or tastier.