As you all know, the standard way of brewing coffee is done with coffee grounds rather than coffee beans. Every coffee brewing method throughout history uses coffee grounds, which is why the first step we take before every brewing process is to grind coffee. Since this is something that works well, we don’t question the necessity of grinding the beans.
While it’s known that grinding coffee causes coffee extraction to be more efficient and that certain grind sizes are a necessity for certain brewing methods to work, there are times we simply don’t have access to a coffee grinder.
If you have also been in this situation where you’re stuck with coffee beans but nothing to grind them with, you will most likely be asking this question:
Would it be possible to brew coffee with whole beans without grinding them?
Fortunately, it turns out that it is indeed possible to brew coffee with whole beans without grinding them. While the process takes longer than brewing with coffee grounds, it works well enough for a decent cup of coffee.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the process and find out how it’s done.
Making Coffee with Whole Beans
Even though the process of brewing with whole beans takes longer than usual, it is a simple process that can be done with simple household items.
- Start by finding a heatproof container such as a mason jar.
- Add coffee beans to the jar, and fill the jar with hot water while leaving enough space for coffee beans to float on top of the jar.
- Place a saucepan on the stovetop, and place your container on top.
- Add water to the saucepan, bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat.
- Let the coffee simmer for a while. You’ll notice that the water inside the container is slowly changing color and starting to look like coffee.
- When you feel like your coffee is ready (you can test by smelling or tasting), take the container off the heat. Since the container will be hot to the touch, ensure that you use oven mitts or a towel to remove it safely from heat.
- Strain and pour the coffee into your cup.
Is There Any Reason to Brew Without Grinding?
Truth be told, there aren’t any advantages to brewing without grinding, which is why this method should only be used as an absolute last resort.
Let’s get into the reasons why brewing with ground coffee always yields a better result than brewing with whole beans.
While evening out the smaller surface area of whole beans compared to ground coffee with an increased brewing time sounds logical to an extent, there are a few problems with this approach that we should be putting into consideration.
When coffee beans are ground, the increase in extraction rate isn’t the only thing that takes place. Grinding coffee also allows water to come into contact with all parts of the coffee evenly and creates a consistent extraction process.
On the other hand, even though submerging whole beans will allow you to extract some flavor from the coffee beans, the water will never be able to reach and extract the inner parts of the bean.
While increasing the brew time is helpful to prevent coffee from turning out too weak due to a low extraction rate, it doesn’t fix the problem of uneven extraction. A brewing time that is too long will simply cause over-extraction of the parts that came into contact with water for a longer amount of time, whereas the inner parts will remain under-extracted.
It is for this reason that an even grind size is very important for brewing coffee optimally. As the quality of extraction largely determines how your coffee will turn out, the first thing you should be investing in is a high-quality grinder to start your coffee journey.
Brewing with Whole Beans vs. Pre-Ground Coffee
We established that brewing with ground coffee is indeed better than brewing with whole beans, but you may be wondering whether this applies to pre-ground coffee or not.
As you know, pre-ground coffee isn’t something that gets a good reputation in the coffee world due to various reasons such as being produced with lower-quality beans and not being fresh. For this reason, we always recommend buying whole bean coffee and grinding it freshly despite the costs of doing so are higher than just buying pre-ground coffee.
While it may seem like even brewing with whole beans that aren’t ground is better than brewing with pre-ground coffee due to all the negativity surrounding pre-ground coffee, the importance of achieving an even extraction is way too important.
While it’s best to get a grinder and grind your own coffee beans, we recommend using pre-ground coffee over brewing with unground beans due to the large amount of extraction-related problems caused by brewing without grinding.
While brewing with whole beans is something you can indeed do as a last resort, don’t forget that your coffee will turn out to be decent at best. Even though it may not seem like an important thing at times, a high-quality coffee grind is a staple of achieving optimal extraction.
If you don’t have a grinder yet, we highly recommend investing in one as soon as possible and take your coffee game to the next level. You can trust us when we say that you will be amazed at the difference.
Have a great day, and enjoy your coffee!