On the Grind

Let's talk about grinding.

Let's talk about grinding.

Hi, I'm Chris, owner of Volcano Coffee and the featured On the Grind roaster for April. Welcome to my first ever blog post.

Selling pre-ground coffee is my pet peeve. In this post I attempt to explain why.

Warning: contains proselytizing.

Imagine, if you will, you've just ordered your new Tesla and then you ask Elon Musk to pour a few litres of petrol directly into the interior of your brand new electric car. Sure, you can still drive it but it's not going to be pleasant. Elon Musk isn't happy about it but hey, the customer is always right, right? This is the, extremely hyperbolic, car equivalent of asking your friendly local coffee roastery to grind your beans for you.

You’re not getting the full benefit of buying fresh from a roaster when you buy pre-ground coffee. I's a bit like when your vogels is a few days old, like, it's better than lots of other bread but not the best it can be! When we grind coffee beans we immediately expose all those thousands of loose grinds to the air, which quickly oxidise. We can lose flavour, crema and aroma. We're particularly aware of this, and avoid it, in a cafe environment. When a customer rocks up and orders, the barista will grind the beans fresh and then make the coffee. Rather than grind up a big batch of coffee at the start of each day we grind fresh for each customer throughout the day. If we don't grind fresh for each customer the coffee can start to degrade. This shows visually as the coffee extracts from the espresso machine. The crema on top will not be as thick or dark as usual, and that heavenly aroma also starts to wane. If this is what we see after just a few minutes imagine the affect of coffee being ground days and weeks in advance.

So, what to do?

If you're drinking specialty coffee from a boutique, New Zealand roaster then using a coffee grinder is a wonderful idea. Try grabbing a whole beans subscription box and grinding as you need. The grinder doesn't need to be anything fancy. In fact, if we were to cut a deal right now, I'm even OK with an electric spice grinder - seriously anything is better than nothing. As it happens our online store has a very nice 'Hario' Japanese made, ceramic burred, hand operated, mill grinder. This grinder is adjustable from Turkish grind all the way to plunger grind(with espresso in between), so can be used for all brewing methods.


This post is collaborative x-post published here and on Chris' blog

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