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Ground vs Whole Bean Coffee: Which Should You Choose?

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ground coffee vs whole bean

When deciding between pre-ground or whole bean coffee, there are a few things to consider. This includes time, equipment, and the amount of coffee you use weekly.

Although most coffee connoisseurs vouch for fresh ground coffee every time, this doesn’t always work well with everyone’s lifestyle. There are benefits for both pre-ground and whole bean coffee depending on brewing methods you frequently use and how often you brew among other things.

Let’s take a look at what is best for your lifestyle!

Brewing Method

Buying whole bean coffee and grinding it right before you brew lets you use any brewing method you want.

The size of the grind can be adjusted on most coffee grinders to maximize your range of options. If making coffee with various methods is your lifestyle, then whole beans are a good suggestion.

Pre-ground coffee in stores is typically medium grind, which works great for the popular drip coffee maker.

If you buy your coffee at a coffee shop, the barista can grind the beans to any size grind you’d like if you don’t want a medium grind. Unfortunately, this limits you to use only one brewing method with that bag of coffee, unless the other brewing method uses the same size grind.

If you buy pre-ground coffee as a medium grind you can’t make a French press, which requires a coarse grind, or make espresso, which requires a fine grind.

brewing coffee


If you don’t own a grinder, pre-ground coffee is very convenient. Buying a grinder is a simple way to fix this problem, however, not everyone wants to own a grinder and grind their own beans.

If you only use one brewing method, most likely a drip coffee maker the convenience of a coffee grinder fades. For those that own different devices to brew with, a coffee grinder and whole beans make more sense.


Time refers to 2 different things: the amount of time you have to brew your coffee and how often you brew.

If you most often make your coffee in the mornings before leaving to start the day, then you probably have more limited time to brew.

Grinding your own beans won’t take more than 3 minutes, but this can still be too much for some. It will always be more convenient to have pre-ground coffee for busy people.

There’s 1 compromise to this for those that still want to buy whole bean coffee: grind enough for your entire week at 1 time. This limits you to 1 brewing method per week but can give you the freshness and speed you want. Ground coffee loses freshness after 1 week, so be sure to only grind as much as you need for 1 week.

How often you brew can also change whether pre-ground or whole bean coffee is better suited for you.

As mentioned, coffee grounds don’t stay good for more than 1-2 weeks. If you buy your coffee in bulk, then the whole bean would stay fresh longer, up to 1 month. If you only buy small amounts at a time and brew coffee daily or very often, then buying ground coffee can work for you.

Who Should Buy Pre-Ground Coffee?

Pre-ground coffee is best for busy people who buy small batches of coffee at a time and brew often. It’s also best if you only use a drip coffee maker since pre-ground coffee is a medium grind.

Having a barista grind it to a different size is always an option also. You won’t notice much of a difference in freshness if you use your coffee within 1 week. Pre-ground coffee can also save you time in your busy routine because you don’t have to take the time to grind your beans.

Who Should Buy Whole Bean Coffee?

If you own a variety of coffee making devices for different brewing methods, then whole bean coffee is your friend.

If you don’t already own a grinder, buying a burr grinder is recommended. Whole bean coffee is also better for people who buy their coffee in bulk or who don’t brew as often. This is because whole bean coffee stays fresh for about 3 weeks longer than pre-ground coffee.

whole bean coffee

Header image credit: Humusak, Pixabay