Improving your cup of coffee is a journey that never ends. Somewhere down the line, you will want to save some bucks. That’s when you ask this classic question.
Is it cheaper to grind your own coffee beans? Yes, grinding your own coffee beans is cheaper. Though pre-ground coffee might come at the same price, you will get sub-par coffee that has a stale flavor. Even though you pay the same money when grinding your coffee beans, you will get a far superior coffee that has a rich aroma and taste.
Grinding Your Own Coffee Beans vs Pre-ground Coffee
From a pure price perspective, the difference between grinding your coffee beans and pre ground coffee is not that much.
You might end up getting the same amount (more or less) of coffee both ways. It makes us wonder why to make all this fuss when this is the case.
For example, Starbucks sells a 12-oz pack of pre ground coffee for $8. What’s the price of a 12-oz pack of coffee beans from Starbucks? The same $8. There is no difference.
Even La Colombe is pricing a 12-oz pack of pre-ground coffee as well as a 12-oz pack of coffee beans at the same price of $13.
While there is not much of a difference when it comes to price, there are many factors that come into play when you grind your coffee bean at home. These factors ensure that you are getting a much better coffee experience (more on these in a moment).
Is Pre-Ground Coffee Cheaper?
As we said, there is not much of a difference when it comes to price. Both coffee beans and pre-ground coffee are available at more or less the same price.
But the deal you get for pre-ground coffee can look attractive at a superficial level. When you take a deep look into it, you’ll know that you’re getting the rough end of the deal.
Let’s see why.
Reasons Why Pre-Ground Coffee Can Be Cheaper
The most common answer you would hear on the street is that pre-ground coffee is made using low-quality coffee beans. Since you have no control over the coffee beans that are used, you can’t know about the quality factor.
This allows them to sell the same quantity of pre-ground coffee as that of coffee beans for the same rate creating an illusion that you can buy ground coffee for the same price of the beans (making it seem cheaper).
There is also a good chance that you may not get 100% ground coffee at all. According to the American Chemical Society, your coffee may contain additives that are simply not coffee beans. Thanks to the higher demand, you might find more and more of these in your pre-ground coffee packets.
Another reason why pre-ground coffee is cheaper is because of the transportation cost. For the same weight, pre-ground coffee takes less space when compared to coffee beans.
So you can transport large quantities of pre-ground goodness thereby reducing the overall transportation cost.
It is important to note that the most common brands of pre-ground coffee will be less expensive. But it doesn’t apply to all. If you’re looking for high-quality pre-ground coffee, then you will have to spend good money. The taste profile will also be a lot better than the regular quality ones.
Should You Grind Your Own Coffee Beans?
Yes, you should grind your coffee beans. If you’re looking to have the best cup of joe every time, then it is paramount that you grind your coffee beans. It is even better if you can grind your beans just before your brew your coffee.
Is it worth grinding your own coffee?
It is. While there might seem like there are no price differences between freshly ground coffee and pre-ground coffee, there are a lot of things that make your ground much better.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that make grinding your coffee beans totally worth it.
When you roast your coffee beans, they gain a lot of carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide is super important to get that rich coffee flavor.
Unfortunately, most of the accumulated carbon dioxide is lost during the cooling process.
Can you guess another process where you lose more carbon dioxide?
Yes, that happens during the grinding process (you lose around 80% in about a minute).
Imagine how much carbon dioxide will be left in a packet of pre-ground coffee. You will pay good money to bring home coffee that is stale and won’t even have a fraction of the fresh flavor it initially had.
You can combat this problem by grinding your beans at the comfort of your home. If you’re looking for the best coffee every time, then you should grind a fresh batch to get the best results.
Ground coffee beans come with a good shelf life.
The bad thing about this is that they lose most of the flavor when they reach their end-stage. At that point, there is no point in using them.
With freshly ground coffee, you don’t have to worry about losing flavor for a good time. The shelf life of the product is also pretty good and it is under your control so you won’t end up with stale goods.
Another challenge with already ground coffee beans is storage. You have to store them in airtight containers. Even if a little bit of moisture comes in contact with the coffee, it will evaporate the oils that are responsible for the flavor of your coffee.
The same storage applies to your coffee grind as well, but you can choose to grind your coffee in small amounts so that you don’t have to meddle with the storage of your coffee grounds.
Aroma and Taste
The aroma and taste of packed ground coffee are nothing special. Even though you’d get a nice aroma once you open the packet, it will be gone in a few seconds and you’ll be using a not-so-fresh coffee for your beverage.
There is a good chance that your ground coffee has been contaminated. The oil present in the coffee beans is susceptible to contamination and on contamination, it will lose the majority of its aroma and flavor.
This is not the case when you grind the coffee beans.
When you grind coffee beans, the resulting product is fresh and you can impart a much better flavor to your coffee drink. The aroma will also be top-notch.
Additives in Pre-Ground Coffee
As we have already discussed, packed coffee can come with additives in it. Some well-known additives are sticks, twigs, corn, chicory, barley, and others. They are added to increase the weight or to reduce the amount of actual coffee in the mix.
Though not harmful, such coffee will give you a bland or inferior taste. You will usually find this to be the case when it comes to low-quality and cheap pre-ground coffee.
You have full control over any additives when you’re the one grinding the coffee beans. The best-case scenario will have zero additives which are rare when you buy already ground coffee beans.
You have enough choices when it comes to pre-ground coffee. You can choose between fine, semi-fine, and even a coarse grind size.
But the bad news is that once you buy one, that’s what you’re stuck with till you finish that pack. You can always get different grinds to suit your mood, but that’s not very efficient.
When you grind your own beans, you can choose to do it your way. Depending on the brewing method you choose, you can grind your beans fine, semi-fine, or coarse.
You can grind your beans in small quantities so that you have the flexibility of choosing the ground style according to the brewing method you want.
Grinding is the final stage before you brew your coffee.
To get the best flavor and taste profile, it is suggested that you use the ground coffee within 30 minutes of grinding it.
This is only possible when you grind the coffee beans.
This also goes to show that pre-ground coffee doesn’t retain a lot of freshness and you will be using stale coffee to make your cup of joe. Yes, there will be some flavor, but it could be so much more.
Grinding Your Coffee Beans vs Coffee Pods
Let’s do a comparative study of how much it can cost to grind your coffee beans versus using a coffee pod.
First, let’s calculate the cost involved with your grind.
- A coffee grinder (an inexpensive one) – $20
- The expense for a single grind – 1 cent (each coffee grinder is expected to give you 5000 grinds)
- Cheap coffee pot – $10
- Coffee filter – 1 cent per filter
Taking the above costs into consideration, the cost of making your own coffee with your grind can be anywhere between 11 and 14 cents per cup.
Now, let’s talk about the coffee pod.
- A coffee maker that supports coffee pods – $50
- The average price of a coffee pod – 25 cents
Considering these two numbers, we can say that the cost of making one cup of coffee with a coffee pod can be anywhere between 22 and 26 cents.
As you can see, the cost of using a coffee pod is almost twice that of using your own ground beans. This is another reason why grinding your own coffee beans is a lot cheaper.
Do You Need an Expensive Coffee Grinder to Grind Coffee?
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on grinders to grind coffee beans at home.
There are three affordable options namely,
- Electric Blade Grinder
- Manual Burr Grinder
- Electric Burr Grinder
Let’s discuss them in more detail
Electric Blade Grinder
This is one of the cheapest options out there.
You can spend $25 and get a very good electric blade grinder. But the problem with blade grinders is that the final grind can be a bit inconsistent.
When you plan to get a medium-coarse grind, you might end up with a fine grind or something that is unusable with your method of brewing. Coffee lovers usually don’t prefer blade grinders for this very reason.
Also Read: Best Coffee Grinder Under $50
Manual Burr Grinder
A burr grinder is a preferred alternative to blade grinders.
A manual burr grinder will be around $20 and will have a crank you can use to grind the coffee beans. You can spend more money if you’re looking for something fancy but that won’t be necessary.
The manual grinder is a very reliable piece of machinery that can give you the grind you want without any issues. Just make sure that your grinder comes with a quality burr.
Electric Burr Grinder
If you don’t want to mess with a manual burr grinder, you can go for an electric burr grinder.
You can find a good one in the $60 range, but there are more options available if you’re willing to pay the price.
This grinder removes the manual work from your hands and delivers the desired results with a push of a button.
Is It Cheaper To Grind Your Own Coffee Beans? – Wrap Up
Our conclusion is that it is cheaper to grind your coffee beans at home rather than buying pre ground coffee or using coffee pods.
If you’re an avid coffee drinker, then you might want to get the best taste and aroma for your money. Grinding coffee beans at your leisure is one way to get it. More than the cost, you control the flavour profile of your favourite drink.