October 11, 2005
There is probably no single step that will give you more quality improvement for your money than grinding your own coffee beans. Ground coffee goes stale literally within minutes. If you spend your money on decent beans (or even halfway decent beans) and grind it or have it ground at the store, you’re wasting your money. By the time you get to the second pot, you might as well be drinking coffee out of the can.
Unfortunately, where most people go for their first grinder is to a “blade” grinder — one of the little “whirly-blade” things that doesn’t really grind coffee as much as it chops it up. In the process, it also gets the beans hot, burns them, and destroys some of the character of the taste. Worse, it produces an uneven grind — little pieces and big pieces.
While the coffee from a blade grinder will be light-years ahead of pre-ground coffee, a fairly small step up can get you almost as much further ahead again.