Is it Cheaper to Ground Your Coffee?

Coffee is a beverage loved by many. In fact, a lot of people’s day is never complete without a cup of coffee – it simply brightens up their day.

The consumption of coffee is spread across various cultures across the globe. It is estimated that the world population consumes about 2 billion cups of coffee per day, which means that there are at least one billion coffee drinkers worldwide. The global consumption of coffee between 2019 and 2020 is estimated at 175.8 million bags.

A lot of people drink coffee for various reasons which may include. It could be for the taste, as a power booster, to stay awake, to focus and pay attention, for its health benefits, and many more.

According to the International Coffee Organization (ICO), the global demand for coffee will increase by 25% in the next five years due to the continually growing number of consumers.

Certain Misconceptions About Coffee

Coffee is dehydrating:

It is often suggested that coffee causes dehydration and its consumption should be avoided or significantly reduced to maintain fluid balance. In research conducted to directly compare the effects of coffee consumption against water ingestion across a range of validated hydration assessment techniques, it was concluded that coffee, when consumed in moderation by caffeine habituated males provides similar hydrating qualities to water.

According to Colleen Tewksbury, Ph.D., a senior research investigator in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Since coffee is still a liquid, its hydrating properties can basically balance out its diuretic effects, which should stave off dehydration. Dana Hunnes, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health states that coffee is “roughly equally hydrating as it is a diuretic.”

Instant coffee is inferior:

According to a 2012 Food Chemistry study, it was found that instant coffee served up more antioxidants, particularly chlorogenic acid, than freshly brewed coffee. “Chlorogenic acid may potentially reduce the risk of diabetes by slowing glucose absorption into the bloodstream after a meal,” says Edward Giovannucci, M.D., a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.

Coffee sobers you up when drunk:

According to Robert Swift, M.D., Ph.D., the associate director of Brown University’s Center for Alcohol & Addiction Studies, taking coffee after drinking to sober up is not a smart move. Rather, caffeine can trick your brain into thinking that you’re less drunk than you actually are.

Caffeine is highly addictive:

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), while caffeine produces a small rise in dopamine, it does not cause the large surge that unbalances the reward circuits in the brain and is necessary for an addiction. So even though the word “addiction” is often used casually, caffeine is not addictive. NIDA defines addiction as the uncontrolled (or “compulsive”) use of a substance even when it causes negative consequences for the person using it. According to them, the difference between caffeine dependence and addiction to drugs like meth is that even a person who loves to ink coffee can do without it, deal with the headaches and irritability that result, and not engage in destructive (or self-destructive) behavior.

Coffee is bad for your health:

A 2017 review in the BMJ found that the majority of the time, coffee was associated with a health benefit, not harm. For that review, researchers looked at over 200 other study reviews and found that moderate coffee consumption was associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease and premature death from all causes.

According to Statista, coffee is the second-largest traded commodity in the world after oil. This is as a result of the rate of consumption. Coffee, like every other beverage, goes through a process before it can finally be consumed however you want it. When it comes to coffee, some people purchase the pre-ground coffee or the whole bean coffee depending on their preference.

This brings us to the question of which is cheaper – purchasing the pre-ground coffee or purchasing the whole bean coffee and grinding it yourself. This article will help you answer this question as well as make an informed decision when it comes to choosing your coffee.

Pre-ground Coffee Versus Whole Bean Coffee

When it comes to cost, for the same brand, the pre-ground coffee and whole bean coffee costs about the same thing. The major difference between the two is freshness, flavor, and scent.

  • Freshness

If you are more interested in having that feeling of freshness in your coffee, whole bean coffee is the best bet. Oxidation happens quicker in pre-ground coffee, which makes it go stale easily. However, this can be avoided if the bag containing the pre-ground coffee is air-tight.

  • Flavor

Whole bean coffee tastes much better than pre-ground coffee. Much of the aroma and flavor of the coffee bean is released when it is ground.

  • Scent

The scent which whole bean coffee leaves off gives you that feeling of freshness, more than what you get when you brew pre-ground coffee.

As earlier said, the coffee choice is solely based on preference. Some people prefer pre-ground coffee because of the convenience; they do not have to go through the process of grinding, since it’s already done. On the other hand, some prefer whole bean coffee because its inherent quality is still intact.

At this point, you are confident enough that you can make a decision based on your preference. However, this can be expanded to cost also, and not just convenience and quality.

Cost Analysis

Whole coffee bean

If you are starting from scratch with whole coffee bean, then this is what the cost analysis will look like:

Firstly, what does 12 ounces of whole coffee bean cost? Starbucks’ whole bean coffee costs about $0.81 per ounce, 12 ounces will therefore cost about $9.72.

12 ounces of whole beans is the same as 12 ounces of ground coffee. to know how long 12 ounces of whole bean coffee can last, we will simply divide the 12 ounces by 0.54 ounces per cup, which will result in 22 cups. This means that if you decide to have one cup of coffee per day, your 12-ounce bag of whole beans will last you 22 days. If you choose to have two cups a day, your 12-ounce bag of whole beans will last you 11 days. Also, if you have three cups a day, it will last you about 7 days, and so on.

Coffee grinder

Next is the cost of a coffee grinder (types of coffee grinder will be discussed later). If you refer to the processes involved in grinding your coffee in this article, you will observe that the roasting stage comes first before the grinding. To cut costs, you can make use of your oven for the roasting stage; you do not need to buy any machine for this (although this might not give you a well-done job, as coffee roasting needs more finesse than just heating it). All you have to do is to preheat your oven to 450 degrees before putting in the beans (this is explained in the processes involved in grinding your coffee).

A cheap coffee grinder costs about $16. You can purchase a coffee filter for about $5.

Once all these figures are put together, you will have an estimated cost of $29.72. This means that you will probably spend $29.72 when grinding your coffee, starting with whole bean coffee.

Coffee pods

If you decide to grind your coffee starting with coffee pods, then the story changes, although not entirely. Coffee pods, unlike whole bean coffee, are sold in counts. For example, a bag of a coffee pod on amazon that contains 50 counts of coffee pods may cost about $26.

A cheap machine for a coffee pod may cost about $40 on amazon. So when these figures are added together, you get an estimate of $66. This means that you will probably spend about $66 in grinding your coffee if you choose to go for coffee pods.

Pre-ground coffee

If you decide to buy the pre-ground coffee out of convenience, instead of having to go through the stress and processes involved in grinding the whole coffee bean or coffee pods, the cost changes.

A bag of pre-ground coffee costs about $12 on amazon. For the whole process, you may end up spending not up to $20.

Based on the cost analysis of the three, it is obvious that grinding your own coffee is more expensive, especially when deciding to start with the coffee pods. However, grinding your own coffee has its benefits too.

Pre-ground coffee and whole bean coffee costs almost the same for the same brand. However, the processes involved determine how much to be spent. Based on this, it is obvious that when it comes to which is cheaper, pre-ground coffee has the upper hand. However, it does not deter you from going for the whole bean, if that is what you truly want.

Factors to Consider When Grinding Your Coffee

If after the cost analysis, you still prefer to go for whole bean coffee, then there are factors that you have to consider. These factors may include:

  • Getting the right coffee bean.
  • Choosing the coffee blender to buy.
  • The roasting method that best suits you.

Processes involved in grinding your coffee

There are 4 major stages when it comes to grinding your coffee. These stages include the raw stage, the roast stage, the grinding stage, the final stage.

  • The raw stage: This stage can be seen as the first step you take to your destination. It is this stage that determines the journey to take. If at this stage you go for the pre-ground coffee, then there is no need to continue the journey. In this context, this is the stage that requires the purchase of the whole coffee bean. When buying the coffee bean, it is advisable to look for beans that have a clear printed roast date on them. This will enable you to know how fresh the coffee bean is.
  • The roast stage: During the roast stage, the characteristic coffee taste aroma components are formed, along with the typical brown color of the beans. Stronger roasting will generate darker colors and a more intense aroma and flavor. Home roasted coffee is fresher, tastes better, has a higher antioxidant content, and you get to control the type of roast that best suits you – light, medium, or dark.

To have a proper home-roasted coffee, these are the processes:

Firstly, it is important to note that the oven fan needs to be set on high throughout the roasting process because coffee roasting can produce a lot of smoke, especially if you try for darker roasts.

Once this has been taken into consideration, the step to take is to preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Next, flatten your baking tin as much as possible, so that it can lay flat on the counter. After that, layout your coffee beans on the baking tin, and place them inside the oven once it gets to 450. Allow to roast for 3 to 5 minutes, after which, give it a good shake. Allow to roast for another 3 minutes or till you are satisfied with the results. The final step is to let the coffee beans cool off before grinding them.

  • The grinding stage: at this stage, what is needed is a coffee blender. The kind of blender used at this stage will determine how the coffee will turn out. The finer the grind, the less time needed to steep. On the other hand, the coarser the grit, the more time needed for it to steep.
  • The final stage: it is at this stage that the steel and press take place. The home-roasted coffee is filtered and now ready to be consumed.

Types of Coffee Brewing

If you are still considering costs, don’t be overly worried. You do not need a huge machine before you can brew your coffee at home. There are manual coffee brewing methods to choose from, all it takes is time and technique. These methods include pour-over, pour-over/drip: Chemex, plunger/press: French press, plunger/press: AeroPress.

  • Pour-over/drip (coffee cone)

The pour-over/drip method involves pouring hot water through coffee grounds in a filter. The water drains through the coffee and filters into a carafe or mug.

This method runs the risk of channeling, where a stream of water finds an easy route around the ground coffee. This happens when there are clumps of coffee or the grounds are unevenly distributed. Pour-over means that some of the coffee doesn’t get extracted. So as earlier said, when it comes to manual coffee brewing, the technique is needed. If not, it will affect the final result. That is why it is important to learn how to pour in a way that evenly immerses the grounds in water.

  • Chemex

This method is also a pour-over style of coffee brewing, however, there is more room for error in this method than there is with the drip. To guarantee the best results, grind your beans more coarsely (a burr grinder will be better) than you would for a ceramic drip, and offer extra attention to the pour rate.

This method works with a glass flask shaped like an hourglass. The neck or handle of the hourglass is then wrapped in wood with a leather tie. To get a better result, pour your water in a slow, circular fashion until the top is nearly filled. As the water starts to drain, continue adding more water until your kettle is empty. Once this is done you can remove the filter and enjoy your coffee.

Simply put, the French press method involves making coffee by steeping the grounds in hot water and then pressing the grounds out. One advantage of this method is that you can brew coffee for several people at once. However, it is prone to bitterness and greasiness due to the coffee sitting on the grounds too long. To avoid this, make sure you decant it immediately after brewing so that it does not become bitter or chalky.

  • Aeropress

The AeroPress brewer consists of a cylindrical chamber, and a plunger with an airtight silicone seal, similar to a syringe. Ground coffee beans and water are steeped inside and then forced through a filter by pressing the plunger through the chamber.

Benefits of Grinding Your Coffee

Even though the processes involved in whole bean coffee might seem inconvenient for some, buying whole bean coffee and grinding it yourself has its benefits:

  • You get to have your coffee at the time you want.
  • You can grind it to your preferred texture.
  • You also avoid consuming coffee that’s been exposed to oxygen, moisture, and manipulation of other people.

When grinding your coffee, one important factor to consider is the grinder to use. There are three main types of grinders which include: manual grinders, blade grinders, and burr grinders.

Manual grinders

As far as cost of grinders go, manual coffee grinders offer exceptional performance at a far lower price than electrical coffee grinders. These grinders generally work by the operator turning a crank. A manual grinder may cost between $15-$70, depending on the features.

One of the advantages of owning a manual grinder is that for it, no power source is needed, which is flexible to be used outdoors or when traveling. Another advantage of owning a manual grinder is that it can be bought at a lower price compared to the others. Also, the motor in manual grinders is designed to be quiet when being operated which means no noise when grinding your coffee. With a manual grinder, you can easily adjust the ground size. On a lighter note, manual grinders can also look more attractive than their electrical counterparts, especially those with a vintage or exotic design.

Blade grinders

Blade grinders make use of a propeller-like blade which spins quickly to cut up the coffee beans. Generally, blade grinders are the most inexpensive types of coffee grinders. Blade grinders may cost between $15-$30 depending on the features.

One of the advantages of blade grinders is affordability. They are inexpensive due to their simple nature and lack of extensive parts.

Another advantage of blade grinders is they are easier to clean and maintain when compared to other types of grinders.

Blade grinders are also very easy to operate. A beginner in coffee grinding and brewing would find this a boon.

However, one of the disadvantages of the blade grinder is that the taste of the coffee can be affected due to the heat generated by the rapidly revolving blades.

Blade grinders unlike manual grinders are noisy when being operated. So if machine noise bothers you, then this kind of grinder might not be suitable for you.

Burr grinders

Burr grinders rely on two burrs that spin in opposite directions to direct the beans down a funnel where they are ground into a uniform size.

One of the advantages of burr grinders is the consistent grind size. The process involved in the burr grinder makes it easier to grind coffee consistently for any kind of brewer.

Another advantage is the numerous grind settings. Typically, burr grinders have multiple settings, allowing you to choose the appropriate coarseness required.

Burr grinders usually generate little heat, and in the process, keeps the flavor of the beans intact. Since the burrs are made out of ceramic or stainless steel, little heat is generated during the grinding process.

There are two main types of burr grinders: flat burrs and conical burrs. Flat burrs.

In conclusion, based on research, coffee is consumed by many. There are various reasons why people drink coffee which may range from the taste to it being a habit. Coffee can be bought as pre-ground, whole bean, or coffee pods. Of these three, the pre-ground is cheaper. However, when you prefer to grind your coffee due to your desire for quality, then starting with the whole coffee bean is cheaper.