I am a lover of coffee. If it wouldn’t make me jittery, I would drink it every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s just something so comforting about a warm cup of freshly brewed coffee in the morning. Apparently, I am not the only person that thinks so either. It’s been proven that Americans in general love their coffee.
Coffee Statistics show that Americans consume 400 millions cups of java per day. That is equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee each year! It goes without saying that the United States is the leading consumer of coffee in the world. Just look around you, specialty shops, like Starbucks, are all around us. Starbucks is the definite leader of the coffee industry, but with the tough economic times Americans have faced in 2008, many people simply can’t afford to spare the money for this gourmet delight. The Huffington Post reports that in July 2008, Starbucks had to close the doors on 600 of it’s stores. Many Americans began making their own coffee at home.
For Christmas this year, I received a practical, yet delicious gift. A bag of whole bean coffee and a coffee grinder. This was a first for me, as I had never tasted coffee that had been freshly ground. Now that I’ve tried it, however, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the pre-ground coffee that I was accustomed to. After tasting the difference in the quality of flavor that freshly ground coffee provides, the typical canned coffee from the grocery store seems bland and boring.
Whole coffee beans aren’t much more expensive than the pre-ground coffee sold on the store shelves. If you were to purchase one pound of whole coffee beans, it would make approximately 40 six ounce cups of coffee. Until you taste the robust flavor and smell the heavenly aroma of freshly ground beans, you wont be able to appreciate the difference
So, what are the benefits of grinding your own coffee beans at home? Well, for one thing, grinding the beans just before brewing will help protect the aroma of your coffee. When coffee has time to mix with the air around it, it loses a lot of flavor and aroma. The longer it sits, either in a canister or out in the open, the less fresh it will be. Which is why you should never grind more coffee than you plan on drinking. In other words, don’t grind all the coffee beans in the bag at one time. This would be defeating the purpose of grinding the coffee. Be sure to grind the amount you want, and then place the remaining beans in an airtight container to maintain the flavor of the beans. Of course, another benefit to grinding, and brewing, your own coffee, is that when you make it yourself at home, it is actually affordable!
The grinder I received as a gift is a blade grinder, which is just perfect for me. It’s simple to use, easy to clean, and is capable of grinding up to fifteen cups of coffee at a time. Since I’m the only one in the house that drinks coffee, this is all I need. Blade grinders are typically small in size which is another benefit for home use. Blade grinders are fairly inexpensive, with prices starting at under $ 20.00. To use, simply pour the desired amount of beans into the grinder, snap on the lid and either hold down the power button, or press it to pulse. (You will receive a better grind if you pulse) After use, pour out the ground coffee and wipe the inside of the grinder clean.
Another type of grinder available is a Burr grinder. Burr grinders are said to be the best option for grinding coffee beans. Most Burr grinders include a compartment at the top of the grinder that holds the beans. This is an airtight compartment that will keep the beans fresh until you are ready to grind them. When you are ready to grind, simply select the amount of coffee you’d like to prepare and the Burr grinder will release that amount of beans to be ground. Burr grinders work, for the most part, the same way as a blade grinder, although it is said that they are better at preventing spillage and waste of the coffee.
There are many different types and flavors of coffee. They can be purchased in various bodies such as mild, medium, bold, and extra bold. According to a Consumer Search study, in a blind taste test, the most preferred tasting whole bean coffee, available in supermarkets, is Eight O’Clock 100% Colombian. It is enjoyed by many for it’s smooth, but bold, flavor. Coffee drinkers enjoy it’s toasty, nutty aroma. Eight O’Clock uses 100% Arabica beans, which are considered to be more flavorful than the Robusta beans found in most supermarket coffees. When selecting coffee beans for the first time, you may want to try something mild such as this one, simply because whole beans tend to have a richer flavor than the pre-ground coffee.