Better to Have Coffee Beans Fresh, or Properly Ground?

Good Questions

Q: I've had a French press for a few years that I mostly use for tea and the occasional cup of coffee (my tea never tastes like coffee, I swear). Lately I've been craving more cups of coffee than tea. I want to be able to brew the best cup of coffee possible without having to purchase any new equipment or very expensive beans. I'm wondering about two options for the beans/grounds.

Is it better to: a. Buy coffee ground coarse in the shop for a French press and store it at home or, b. Buy fresh roasted whole beans and grind them at home in my cheap blade grinder that grinds coffee fine/unevenly? What's more important, that the coffee is freshly ground or ground coarse for the French press?

Sent by Marri

Editor: Marri, oooh you're on the horns of a dilemma indeed! As someone who really didn't enjoy French press until she had a burr grinder, I would have to give the nod to properly ground beans. When you grind in a blade grinder, you get all this fine silt that can make French press coffee taste muddy and bitter. On the other hand, I feel that freshly ground beans are very important as well, so it's really not a fun choice!

If you do find yourself in a place to spend a small amount of money eventually on your coffee setup, I would highly recommend an Aeropress. This little gadget isn't much to look at it, but it makes a brilliant cup of coffee, and it is much more forgiving of an uneven grind. It's also the fastest way to make a great cup of coffee at home; it's my favorite way of brewing coffee. And at $26 it's a heck of a lot cheaper than a burr grinder, which should cost $100 or more.

Good Product: Aeropress Coffee Maker
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker, $25.95 at Amazon

Readers, what do you think? Do you agree — or do you have other advice for Marri?


Related: How To Make Perfectly Robust French Press Coffee

(Image: Bodum)