Whole bean or ground coffee can be quite the debate among coffee connoisseurs, with both sides of the story having some positives and negatives. Most people buy and use ground coffee, mainly because that is the easiest to use and the form that is found on the shelves of every local supermarket. It's ready to brew, and won't require any extra time, skills or equipment on your part. And that pretty much sums up all the positive aspects of pre-ground coffee. Ease and convenience.
People also lean towards ground coffee because they wouldn't know what to do with whole bean coffee. There are a few pitfalls to ground coffee though, so you might want to think twice about taking that route. The most important one is freshness. Once it's been roasted and ground, coffee will go stale fast. All the taste is in the bean oils, and they will evaporate once the beans are ground up. Even cans of coffee that have been vacuum-packed are going to be a lot less fresh than coffee you grind yourself. If you've never had freshly ground coffee, you may not even realize there is a difference. But if you buy whole beans, and then grind them up minutes before you brew up your pot of coffee, the flavor is much stronger and the subtle tastes of your specific type of bean are more noticeable. The second thing to consider when comparing whole bean to ground coffee is grind fineness. Depending on what brand of ground coffee you buy, you usually don't get to select how fine or coarse you want. Different brewing methods work best with different types of coarseness, so why...
Just like wine, coffee boasts dramatic variances in flavor. The beans themselves hold unique clusters of flavor that can bring to mind anything from violets, to cranberries, to tomato soup, and discovery of these flavor profiles is a delicious adventure well worth taking.
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