1. “Grind and Brew immediately”?
"Coffee must be ground and brewed immediately in order to retain the flavor of coffee."
This is a golden rule in the coffee world. After all, what basis do we see that this argument holds?
Grinding beans means to grind coffee into powder to increase the surface area of coffee contacting water, thereby enhancing the extraction of coffee. But this also increases the surface area for coffee to be exposed to the air and so, it will oxidize quickly. The longer the powder is exposed to the air, the more flavor and aroma is lost. In the worst case, the brewed coffee will become bland and tasteless.
Coffee is also affected by humidity. Its oiliness and fragrance change greatly when it is wet. Composed of hundreds of substances, coffee can easily react with air, water and light. If they are not properly stored, they will deteriorate very soon.
It is therefore legit to draw a conclusion that: freshly ground coffee tastes better than instant coffee powder sold in the market.
2. Is fresh coffee always better?
The freshness of coffee includes three stages: the processing of green beans, roasting, and grinding.
Depending on the type of green beans, the roasting method will be different. Generally speaking, roasters will carefully select green beans (coffee pits) purchased within a year and then roast them accordingly.
After roasting, the coffee beans can only be consumed after three days to two weeks of degassing, because when coffee is roasted, the sugar molecules in it will be broken down into different compounds, including carbon dioxide and other gases. These gases will release small bubbles when you brew. Too much bubbles will destroy the contact between coffee powder and water, resulting in uneven extraction of flavor and aroma substances.
Therefore, the statement “Fresh coffee is always better” is not entirely correct.
Read more: Tips for Coffee Beans Storage
3. When is the best time to grind your coffee?
The best time to grind and brew your coffee depends on personal taste, it is usually within two to three weeks after roasting. We should always remember that coffee beans will slowly lose their flavor and aroma over time after being roasted. If the beans are ground into powder and then stored, the storage time will be greatly reduced. As technology advances, manufacturers have better packaging methods to extend the life of coffee.
Yet, the golden rule “grind and brew immediately” will continue to stand strong.
4. Fun facts about Union Army
Let’s finish with a fun fact written down in Mark Pendergrast’s Uncommon Grounds. During the American Civil War, the Union Army carried coffee beans with them. Whenever they want to drink coffee, they would grind the beans freshly with the manual grinder they kept inside the buttstock.
Living in modern times, we might not need coffee to relieve our fatigue, pain and depression in the midst of the bloody, hand-to-hand war scenes. The nature and function of coffee have changed. It can be consumed happily and healthily. While brewing, you can even take time to rest and calm down, stay away from your busy work life and enjoy your pure tranquility and contentment.
If the Union Army can enjoy a cup of fresh coffee during the war, why can’t we do the same at home or in the office?