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Coffee Journey with Reika: Extraction Theory #5 "Whole beans or ground coffee?"

Hi everyone, it's Reika, assistant roaster at Kurasu!

It's been a while since my last post and I'm sorry to have kept you waiting. 

Here's our topic for today:

"Do you purchase whole bean coffee or ground coffee?"

Read through to find out the difference the two will have on your home-brew experience and ways to enjoy each type of coffee. Plus, I will be giving away how I personally like to purchase coffee for myself!

1. The Pros and Cons

Purchasing whole beans


- You can adjust grind size according to your favourable taste and brewing equipment. 

- You can enjoy the aging process. 


・It's a bit of a pain having to grind all the time.  

・The quality of brewed coffee depends on the grinder you use at home. 

Purchasing ground coffee


・The size of coffee grounds are consistent, with little fines.

・Easy - no need to sweat over grinding your beans!


・The aroma disappears relatively quickly.

・You may feel pressured to finish the bag while it's in good state (which is not very long.)

・You can't adjust the grind size yourself.

2. How to make the most out of your purchased coffee 

*Here I've picked up one negative aspect from each type, whole bean and ground coffee. 

How to reduce coffee fines.

In general, home grinders lack consistency in grind size compared to grinders for professional use. To solve this issue, we recommend making the grind size coarser when grinding coffee at home. This will reduce coffee fines. 

However, this may be concerning for some of you. Wouldn't changing the grind size affect the concentration level of coffee? The answer is yes, so please try adding extra coffee to adjust the taste of coffee. 

How to enjoy ground coffee for a longer period of time. 

The aroma and good flavours of coffee deteriorate fast once it's ground. 

I've tested storing at room temperature, in the refrigerator and freezer to see how coffee aroma and flavours change over time.

Let's check out the results!

Coffee: Ethiopia Haloberiti (light roast)
Aging: One week from roast date

Room (April in Japan)  
Refrigerator (2°C)  
Freezer (-20°C)

Vertical axis: Deliciousness (Judged by Reika on a scale out of 0-10)
Horizontal axis: Days since purchase (Purchase date counted as 0)

Room (April in Japan)




Aroma is slightly weaker but the flavour is good.

Coffee at its peak, or almost at peak

Gas is still noticeable, flavours have not flourished yet. 

Flavours and aroma seem hidden. Perhaps lacking extraction efficiency since coffee was frozen.

Gas released.


Aroma is weak, has the least gas content out of the three.

Coffee at its peak or slightly passed it. 

Flavours are rich compared to room temperature stored coffee. 

The most aromatic and flavourful out of the three. Great acidity and sweetness. 


Well passed its peak.
Lacks flavours but Ethiopian notes are noticeable. 




Dark, flat and out of date.

Same as above. 

Same as above. 


Same as above. 

Coffee at its peak.

Still getting better, not at its peak yet. 


Dark, few flavours, little taste. 

Losing tastiness.

Good aroma and texture, with depth in taste. 


Dark, little taste, short aftertaste, empty.

Dark, no taste. 

Coffee at its peak.


No taste short aftertaste, oxidized.

No taste.

Same as above.


Oxidized, nutty, hollow taste profile.

No taste - a little out of date. 

Still good and sweet. Not yet oxidized. 



Still good but passed its peak. 



Peak time
- Room: Day 1 (Best before day 4)
- Refrigerator: Day 5 (Best before day 8-9)
- Freezer: Day 2-9 (Best consumed within two weeks)

As shown in the line graph, this experiment showed that freezing is the best way to enjoy coffee for the longest period of time. Still, it is best consumed within two weeks so I recommend purchasing in small quantities that can be consumed within that time frame. 

Overall, I noticed coffee loses gas and aroma quickly from the moment it is ground - best to drink your way through your bag swiftly while it's good! 

3. How I enjoy my bag of coffee beans 

Through this experiment, I've come to appreciate the long shelf life of coffee beans. While ground coffee reaches its peak within a week or so, the whole beans continue to get better. 

So enough of going over the results...
Let me share with you how I like to purchase and enjoy coffee at home!

I purchase coffee in whole beans. One of my favourite moments is opening a brand new bag to release and inhale the fresh aroma coffee beans; it's a special moment you can only enjoy once per bag! 

Here's the rest of the flow...

1. Cup the coffee beans - This helps me grasp a rough idea of the coffee. 
2. Brew myself a cup straight away. 
3. Rest the remainder of coffee beans and cup again. 
4. Brew myself a cup again. 
5. Adjust grind size based on the impression I got on step 4.
6. Increase temperature of water to extract flavours more. 
7. Simply enjoy drinking coffee, deciding on which coffee to pick out from my stock depending on the mood for the day. 

It takes me about 2 months to finish a 250g bag on my own. I want to spend enough time on appreciating each bag of coffee beans, going through the above routine. I like to adjust the grind size and experiment brewing with different equipment. I guess you now understand why I prefer to buy coffee in whole beans!


I hope you got an idea of pros and cons of purchasing whole beans and ground coffee, and how you can enjoy each to its full potential. There is no right or wrong in how you enjoy coffee. I hope you find what suits you the most. 

I'd love to know how you like to store coffee and what kind of brewing methods you practice at home. Looking forward to hearing from you!

See you next time. Until then, happy home brews!