If you are a selective coffee drinker like myself, then most likely already know that whole bean coffee is definitely the way to go. Whole bean coffee stays fresh much longer, and if you brew it right after grinding it you get a flavor you simply can’t get from pre-ground coffee that’s been sitting around for a short time. Even only mediocre whole bean coffee brands taste pretty good if brewed right after grinding.
One can find some of the best whole bean coffee in Costa Rica. As an area well-known for its coffee, I was keen to try some genuine Costa Rican brews during my visit there last year and I was totally blown away when I did. Despite the fact that I wanted to make the experience last as long as possible, I obviously carried as much coffee back with me as I could fit in my suit case. Knowing for a fact that the freshness is much better preserved when the beans are yet to be ground, I only brought back whole bean coffee to make it last longer. When I got home, I quickly put three of the four bags I had bought into the freezer, and left the other out for immediate use. Whenever I crushed that whole bean coffee it transported me right back to Costa Rica, and I was in a coffee-drinkers haven for the next couple of months. It’s a good thing I didn’t bring back already ground coffee; it would have lost a lot of its unique flavor.
At the same time the problem with whole bean coffee is that you have to grind it, which means you need to buy a coffee grinder. Moreover, coffee grinders can be a pain to clean, and it’s just an extra step you have to take before enjoying your coffee. If the flavor isn’t really that important to you, and/or you are running out of time or patience, whole bean coffee probably won’t appeal to you that much. The majority coffee drinkers I know don’t even have a coffee grinder; scooping out coffee ‘powder’ into a machine and pushing a button is the extent of their coffee making experience. Of course, there is something nice about just being able to add some already ground coffee in a machine and having a pot brewed in just a couple of minutes with not much effort. For this reason, I usually keep both whole bean coffee and already ground coffee on hand. For times when I’m in a rush, I use the ground coffee, and if I’ve got time to relax I’ll grind up some fresh whole bean coffee to savor its taste.