Pros and Cons of Grinding Coffee Beans On-Site

Purchasing pre-ground coffee is easy, but there are plenty of reasons to purchase whole coffee beans and grind the beans on-site.

By Kinnek Knowledge Team  |  June 09, 2018

If you’re in the food service industry — for example, if you operate a restaurant or cafe — then it’s highly likely that your menu includes coffee beverages of some kind.  Coffee is a ubiquitous item in the food service industry, but despite this near-universal presence (and customer expectations), many business owners remain confused as to how best to handle their coffee production in-house.

Among the most common concerns is the issue of grinding coffee beans.  Owners often hear that they should purchase a commercial coffee grinder for their business, but — outside of the specialty coffee shop industry — many people are unaware of the various pros and cons of grinding whole coffee beans on-site.

Thinking about grinding coffee beans on-site?  Consider the following.


Grinding Beans On-Site Results in Better Quality Coffee

As a general rule, grinding beans on-site ensures freshness and minimizes the loss of essential coffee bean oils that affect the flavor of the coffee brew.  Further, waiting until the last second to grind the coffee beans prevents the beans from oxidizing, which results in “staling” — staling can further subdue the complexity of the natural flavor, thus narrowing the ultimate flavor profile of the coffee brew.

If you purchase pre-ground coffee, you simply won’t be able to preserve the flavor (and aroma) to the same extent, even if you put in a great deal of effort.  Oil loss and oxidization are unavoidable.

Control, Control, Control

Many people unfamiliar with the complexity of brewing don’t realize that the flavor and texture of coffee can vary significantly depending on how the bean is ground.  Sometimes a finer, more even grind is preferred, and sometimes a coarser grind is preferred — by purchasing a separate, commercial coffee grinder for your restaurant/cafe, you give your business the flexibility to brew a wider range of coffee styles.

Automated Coffee Makers May Include Grinding Functionality

In some cases, you don’t have to purchase a coffee grinder — in today’s industry, many vendors offer high-end automated coffee makers that include a built-in grinder.  Your employees simply pour the whole beans into the machine, and it will grind it to the texture necessary for the selected brew style.


Pre-Ground Coffee is Generally Cheaper

Unfortunately, pre-ground coffee tends to be cheaper than purchasing whole beans.  With pre-ground coffee, the vendor can pack in more of the product (the “grind”) than they might have otherwise been able to do with whole beans.  Price can vary significantly depending on the vendor, their location, and their distribution process.  Some vendors may be able to supply whole coffee beans at a reasonable price, so keep on the lookout!

Employees Must Be Trained to Grind Beans Properly

Employees need training in order to properly grind coffee beans — a poor grind will lead to gritty textures and an unexpected, strange flavor profile.  If your customers are not the sort that will be able to differentiate between pre-ground and whole bean coffee, then you may want to choose pre-ground coffee in order to avoid the hassle of training and supervising staff.

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