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Coffee For Less Blog

Whole Coffee vs. Ground Coffee

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Coffee is a type of beverage that is consumed worldwide. It is a stimulant that is prepared from roasted coffee seeds, commonly known as beans, from the coffee plant. All coffee beans that start out as whole beans go through many processes before being roasted.

First, the coffee berries are picked, usually by hand. After that, the outside of the berry is removed in a process that is usually done by machine. The seeds are then fermented to remove the slimy mucilage left on the beans. Once the beans have gone through fermentation, they are washed off in large quantities of water to remove any residue left behind from the fermentation. Lastly, the seeds are dried and sorted and then labeled as green coffee beans.

The next step in this process is when green coffee beans are roasted. All coffee produced is roasted before it is consumed either by the supplier or roasted at home. The roasting process brings out the flavor of the coffee by changing the coffee bean both physically and chemically.

The actual roasting of beans begins when the temperature inside the beans reach 200°C. During the process of roasting, caramelization takes place where intense heat breaks down the starches in the bean, changing them into simple sugars that begin to brown. Caffeol is responsible for the aroma and flavor of coffee that is created at 200°C. Roasted beans are labeled as light, cinnamon, medium, high, city, full city, French, or Italian roast, based on the color of the roasted beans.

Whole Bean Coffee From Roast To Cup

Whole coffee beans are then stored properly to preserve the freshness of the bean. In essence, an unbroken coffee bean acts like a container. The beans hold in the flavorful oils and aromatic compounds until broken. Once the beans are ground, the flavor is exposed for brewing, but the flavor and aroma will dissipate if the brewing does not happen within a short period of time. Whole bean coffee stays fresh much longer because there is less surface area exposed to oxygen. Grinding the coffee yourself is not only the best way to enjoy the freshest coffee; it is also the first step in experiencing the aroma of the coffee even before you brew it. Ground coffee will begin to get stale within 15 minutes, so it is best to buy yourself coffee grinder to grind whole beans.

Another way to prevent ground coffee from becoming stale is to store unopened bags in a freezer. Every time the bag is opened, tighten the seal that closes the bag and store the bag in a dry, cool place away from heat. The reason to store it this way is to prevent air and moisture from reaching the coffee and causing the beans to begin to go stale.

Coffee tastes best if consumed seven to ten days after the beans have been roasted, but the flavor can be preserved if stored properly using a sealed container that prevents oxygen from getting to the coffee. There are several commonly used words within both ground and whole bean coffees. These terms are acidity, aroma, body, clean, earthy, flavor, fruity, mild, smooth, spicy, strong, and sweet.

The term acidity means it is a very desirable, refreshing, mouth-cleansing quality that increases flavor and gives liveliness to the cup. Acidity often mistaken for "bitterness" but is generally the result of dark roasting or over extraction during brewing.

The term aroma refers to the odor of the coffee and contributes to its flavor. Terms used to describe it include caramel (candy- or syrup-like), carbon (for dark roasts), chocolate, fruit, floral, malt, rich, round, and spicy.

The term body means the perceived thickness of brewed coffee on the tongue. Descriptions can range from "watery," "thin," or "light" to "medium" or "full", "heavy," "thick," or "syrupy."

The term clean refers to the clarity of the flavor.

The term earthy describes the odor and carbon-rich, natural flavor of the coffee bean that is revealed by the roasting process.

The term flavor is the overall impression that the coffee provides to the coffee lover. Aroma, acidity, and body are the ingredients involved with flavor.

The term fruity is a description of aroma or flavor that has the characteristics of fruit.

The term mild means a coffee with harmonious, smooth flavors.

The term smooth refers to flavor that lacks harshness.

The term spicy refers to flavor that recalls a particular spice: pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.

The term strong refers to a large presence of flavor and aroma

The term sweet refers to flavor that has the quality of smooth and palatable

Try to perceive these individual coffee traits next time you enjoy your favorite brew.