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Whole Bean vs Ground Coffee, Which is Better?

Whole Bean vs Ground Coffee, Which is Better? - Aerial Resupply Coffee

It’s a tale as old as time in the coffee world.  Which is better, whole bean or ground?

We will explore this and come to an answer using five important (to me) factors.  


In a hurry?  Need that coffee brewed in 30 seconds? Cool, throw a K-Cup in.  Heading to bed and forgot to set the pot for the next morning? Too easy, dump some ground coffee into the filter.  Need some caffeine for traveling, grab a super convenient pack of instant coffee. 

Let’s reset.

In a hurry?  Let me dig out my electric grinder, plug it in, dump in some beans, grind the stuff, see if it’s good enough and drop it into my machine.  Want that same K-Cup feel?  Grind the beans, get some contraption that fits in your machine, cram some grinds in it, close the lid and insert into your machine.  Oh yeah, make sure you clean up the grounds all over the counter and in your coffee. 

Ground 1

Whole Bean 0


There you are at the store, in a whole entire aisle containing coffee.  Different types of coffee in different bags all in different sizes.  Then you ask yourself, "How long has this coffee been sitting here?"
There's no way to know.  Similarly to other perishable items, there must be some sort of shelf life on coffee. Right?
There totally is.
For a very oversimplified comparison, what do you think spoils more quickly, an uncut loaf of bread, or a sliced loaf of bread?
If you guessed a sliced loaf of bread, you are correct.  The freshness of coffee works a very similar way.
Whole beans retain their freshness better than their ground counterparts.  The innards of whole bean coffee are not exposed to oxygen during the their travels to their point of sale, while ground coffee is.
If you purchase whole bean coffee, grind just enough to brew and keep the remainder stored as whole beans.  This will guarantee that you have the freshest possible coffee.
Ground 1

Whole Bean 1


For all of your control freaks out there, what the heck does "control" mean in reference to coffee?

For the sake of this article, 
control means the end user's input as to how he wants the coffee to taste/for what purposes he wishes to use the coffee.

Did you know that there are different coffee grind sizes?

Did you know that each grind size is for a specific way to make coffee?

Did you know that each type of coffee bean has a recommended grind size?

When you purchase already-ground coffee, you may be limiting yourself in ways to use it.

Sure, this is super next-level and probably does not apply to most people out there who make coffee with a Keurig or drip style method.

Grinding your own beans allows you to influence the flavor of the roast and lets you more easily use less-traditional brewing methods like French Press or pour over.

Grind your beans for longer to make them more fine, or for a shorter time to keep them larger.

Ground 1

Whole Bean 2


Just like whole beans stay fresher for longer, they also hold their flavor longer.  

More of the flavor is kept in the bean and when you grind it at the point of use, you are activating additional tastes from the oils that are kept inside the bean.

This one is short and sweet.

Ground 1

Whole Bean 3


Whole bean coffee isn't ground in the factory, meaning that it takes less labor to produce.

Therefore, the savings is passed onto the customer, right?

So one would think, I know that I did!

Take a wander down a grocery store aisle, and whole mean coffee is USUALLY more expensive than its ground counterpart.  

What the heck?

If the coffee is being packaged as whole bean, there are more eyes on each bean as they go into the packaging.  Therefore, MORE labor is needed.  While it's more expensive, you are paying for higher-quality beans.

On price alone, the point goes to ground coffee.

Ground 2

Whole Bean 3


There you have it!  With a final score of 3-2, whole bean coffee skates by and wins!

Of course, these are mostly subjective points and totally my opinion.

Please check out the link that I used for some of my research (it's hyperlinked under "It's a tale as old as time..."

How do you prefer your coffee and why?

Let me know in the comments!


Also - don't forget to check out our author's personal blog over at Talking Llama



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