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devotea logo... Date Printed: 10-23-2021
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Storing and Grinding Coffee

Coffee Storage

Green coffee beans do not require any special storage and remain good for long periods of time. Once roasted, the life of a bean shrinks rapidly. As mentioned under roasting, the roasting process creates and drives to the surface oils which contain the flavor of the coffee. These oils will continue to oxidize as long as they are exposed to air. Oxidizing increases bitterness, and eventually destroys the appeal of the coffee. Beans should be stored in a clean, dry, air-tight container, and in a dark place if the container is transparent. Do not store beans in a refrigerator. Refrigerators tend to be humid inside to start with, and the process of removing, opening, reclosing, and returning the container to the refrigerator will cause condensation to occur within the container. Freezing coffee is also not recommended unless the coffee is first repacked into smaller packages that can be used up within a few days after thawing, and without returning the opened package to the freezer. Whole bean coffee will stay fresh longer than ground coffee, but we recommend buying only enough coffee to last about 1 week.

Grinding

First, grind only the coffee you need for immediate brewing. Whole beans will stay fresher than ground coffee. The method of brewing will determine the coarseness of the grind. Coffee makers (drip brewing) require a grind about the same texture as granulated sugar. A coffee press requires a very coarse grind, while espresso makers need finely ground coffee.

Grinders

Grinders range from inexpensive blade grinders (actually choppers) to expensive conical burr grinders with all kinds of bells and whistles included. The old maxim, "You get what you pay for." applies well in this area.

Blade grinders are by far the least expensive. That would be the good point. They do a very inconsistent job of grinding coffee, which leads to inconsistent results no matter what coffee maker is used. They also tend to overheat the coffee during grinding, which can really hurt the flavor of the coffee. If its all you can afford though, look for one that has an oval chamber rather than a round chamber. The results will be better. Krups is the only unit that wasn't severely disappointing.

Disc or flat burr grinders are a step up in grinding technology. While the grinding results are more consistent, they also seem more prone to clogging. If you can afford this level, save a little while longer and go for the conical burr instead.

Conical burr grinders are our recommendation. Expect to pay in the $100 range for a good basic unit. With good basic maintenance (read that as cleaning and keeping metal objects out) you should only need to buy one in your lifetime. Conical burr grinders crush the beans between a rotating cone shaped burr or gear and a matching stationary piece. The easily adjustable spacing between the rotating and stationary teeth determines the coarseness of the grind, while the gaps between the teeth allow ground coffee to easily drop out of the grinding area into the finished chamber. This prevents overgrinding as well as overheating. A slower grinding speed also reduces heat build up. These grinders deliver good, consistent results on fine espresso grinds or coarse french press grinds, and anything between.