TLDR: Whole bean is awesome, but fresh, professionally ground coffee is better than the alternatives for folks new to artisan coffee.
For the past four years, Bean Box has offered only whole bean coffee. Because we built our business around a commitment to shipping the freshest coffee possible, we based our stance on whole bean on the idea that it’s the best possible way to ensure peak flavor in the cup.
To that end, we’ve invested tremendously in our ability to deliver fresh coffee: every week we source, receive, prep, pack, and ship over 150 different roasts, which arrive from 30 local artisan roasters, to thousands of coffee lovers all over the country. To further shorten the time between roaster and kitchen, last year we even invested in robotic packaging, which can dose, pack, and seal coffee in bags at over 1,000 pounds an hour. This year, Bean Boxers will enjoy over 75 tons of freshly roasted artisan coffee, most of which will be en route to their home within 48 hours of roasting.
By and large, the conventional wisdom around pre-ground coffee is that once ground, flavor perishes quickly. In whole bean form, there’s less surface area exposed to light, air, and moisture, so preservation tends to be better. And when we talk to customers about the ideal way to enjoy Bean Box, we always suggest grinding immediately before brewing, preferably using a burr grinder.
That said, freshness is just one facet of a broader mission: to help people discover the joys of the best artisan coffee in the world. For many, their first Bean Box may also be their very first foray into fresh coffee, artisan roasting, or even the concept of a single origin. Why should we require a grinder?
Based on a ton of testing we’ve done, we’re convinced that the freshness and farm-to-cup quality of our coffee--even in ground form--is going to make for better mornings for all of our ground coffee customers, with every Bean Box they receive.
Our freshly ground coffee is professionally ground in a highly specialized grinder, which keeps particle consistency to within microns of our ground set size, resulting in a more uniform extraction when you brew. Rather than performing one-off grinds with a small shop grinder, the way grinding is traditionally handled in a roastery, we’re integrating our new grind technology directly into the flow of packaging, which means that fresh whole bean coffee will be ground within seconds of being packaged and sealed.
Personally, if given the choice between a pre-brew grind using a kitchen spice or blade grinder or a post-roast grind using a professional grinder that maintains grind consistency and particle uniformity, I’ll always choose the latter, as it will provide a better cup every time.
Our decision is also rooted in our own behavior: for the past few years, whenever we travel, we pre-grind and then reseal our single brew pouches to bring with us. Invariably, the experience is far better and heartwarming than anything else we could scavenge on the fly.
The journey into great coffee starts with getting on the path, and there are so many steps on the way to coffee nirvana: filtered water, better coffee, fresher coffee, better grinding, more exact brewing, refining the palette, and on and on. In our experience, the first step is often the most joyful, eye-opening, and richest, and our job is to make that step an easy one; whether you’re equipped to grind or not no longer matters. Happy sipping!
Matthew and Ryan
Co-Founders, Bean Box
Better mornings, delivered fresh.