How to Make Whole Bean Coffee? Complete Guide

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As strange as it may sound, making coffee from whole beans is very much possible sans a coffee maker or high-end coffee grinder. And not just any regular tasting coffee, but one with great flavor.

The next time you accidentally get whole bean coffee instead of ground coffee from the grocery store, there’s no need to be disappointed. Here’s how you can use the whole beans to make yourself a flavorful brew.

Making Coffee with Whole Coffee Beans

Once picked off the plant, the cleaned and dried coffee beans, known as green coffee beans, are sent for roasting before packaging. These roasted beans are what we find packed and available at coffee shops and markets.

Unlike pre-ground coffee, it takes longer to brew whole, unground coffee beans; what you get is lesser acidity and bitterness than a regular brew.

Here are some tried and tested ways to use whole beans and make a delicious cup of Joe.

Double-Boiler Method

The list of items you’ll need for this is:

  • Whole coffee beans (preferably Arabica)
  • A large saucepan or container
  • A heat-safe mason jar or mug
  • Water
  • A strainer

Here’s the brewing process for the double-boiler method:

  1. Fill a third of the mason jar with the whole coffee beans.
  2. Next, add one cup of clean, boiled, hot water to the coffee beans in the mason jar.
  3. Place the mason jar inside a container or saucepan. Fill the container with hot water just below the halfway line. This makes a double-boiler.
  4. Let the water in the container simmer on medium heat on the stove for about one hour. Stir the coffee at regular intervals.
  5. Turn off the stove and carefully remove the mason jar from the container with a pair of tongs and a cloth.
  6. Strain the brewed coffee and make yourself a relaxing cup of good Java.

Steeping

If you have an insulated container, mug, or thermos, you can put it to good use for brewing coffee.

All you need to make coffee this way is:

  • Whole coffee beans
  • Boiling water
  • An insulated travel mug, thermos, or container

Here are the fairly simple steps that require an hour’s worth of your patience for the result:

  1. Fill two-thirds of the insulated mug with boiling water.
  2. Allow the water temperature to drop slightly; for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add about a third of the mug’s worth of coffee beans, close the mug, and shake well.
  4. Keep the container aside for an hour while shaking it at regular intervals.
  5. Finally, strain the coffee and enjoy a fresh brew.

There are a couple of disadvantages associated with making coffee from whole beans:

  • It takes a longer time to brew whole bean coffee; probably not the best option when you’re in a rush. The beans must be steeped for at least an hour for the ideal coffee.
  • Using whole beans gets expensive in the long run if you drink a lot of coffee. This is because you need more beans than grounds to brew coffee.

Why Make Whole Beans Coffee?

A cup of coffee made from whole beans has a delicious taste that can compete any day with what you can get from espresso machines. Here’s why whole bean coffee is a good choice:

Difference Between Ground and Whole Bean Coffee

The oils within a coffee bean give it its familiar aroma and flavor. When you grind coffee beans, the oils are released, allowing them to get absorbed in water when brewing. However, the oils’ exposure to air causes their slow evaporation.

There’s no denying that pre-ground coffee beans are a convenient way to make coffee; however, even the well-sealed cans lose flavor faster than whole coffee beans.

When you buy whole beans, you could grind them at home, right before you make your brew. This retains the flavor and freshness for longer. Once you’ve tried this, you’ll see an apparent difference in your coffee flavor.

Grinding Coffee Beans Causes Deterioration

Unless you grind the coffee beans right before you brew them, the oxidation process of the ground beans will result in a less-than-perfect taste.

Carbon dioxide transfers the oils released upon grinding from the beans to water. Storing the ground coffee in an airtight container helps retain the carbon dioxide and flavor; however, it’s best to avoid storing ground coffee for extended periods.

Scenarios where You Brew Coffee with Whole Beans

Unless you love experimenting with different brewing techniques or love whole bean coffee over ground coffee, you might wonder why you would have to brew whole beans.

Here are some scenarios where you might have to consider this option:

  • When someone gifts you whole beans, or you accidentally purchase a pack of them from the market.
  • When you’re on a camping trip and have coffee beans but forgot to get a coffee grinder.
  • When you travel to a city and find only whole coffee beans, there’s no need to buy a grinder for your brief visit; just brew the coffee beans.
  • When there’s a power failure, and you desire a cup of coffee but have only whole beans on your hands.

Tips to Buy Good Coffee

If you’re accustomed to whole bean coffee or grinding your own beans, it would help to keep in mind these tips for purchasing good beans:

Pick Light or Medium Roast

Dark roasted coffee has a smoky, bitter taste. Unless you’re fond of it, you could go for light or medium roast beans. A light roast contains more caffeine per scoop than a dark roast if it’s the caffeine kick you’re looking for.

Direct From a Roaster

Rather than buying your beans from a supermarket, go to your local coffee shop or roaster and get them from them. Often, cafes will grind the beans for you if you ask for it.

Check the Roasting Date

If you’re getting beans from the store, look out for the roasting date; even vacuum-sealed beans don’t stay fresh for long. However, if you’re visiting a cafe or roaster for your purchase, ask the barista when the beans were roasted; they’ll most likely have the information.

Grinding Coffee Beans Without a Grinder

The purpose of grinding your beans is to reduce the time to make a brew and for

You don’t necessarily need high-end coffee grinders to make coffee grounds. Here are some other ways you can grind beans with some everyday kitchen gadgets or items.

Blender

A blender is one piece of kitchen equipment that can be found in almost all homes. It’s also an easy way to grind coffee beans, although not as consistent as a burr grinder. The blender’s blades chop the coffee beans, similar to a blade grinder.

Just toss your coffee beans into the blender and ensure you tilt the blender slightly for the beans to get evenly ground. It’s best to avoid running the blender continuously; it could heat the beans and cause a bitter taste to your coffee. Instead, pulse the blender for a roughly coarser grind.

Food Processor

With a food processor, you get slightly more power than a blender. Using one is similar to using a blender to grind coffee beans.

Put the desired amount of coffee beans into the food processor. Just like with a blender, pulse it for a coarser grind while tilting it slightly to get an even grind.

Rolling Pin

Yes, a rolling pin that you use to roll dough for bread, cakes, and more can also be used for crushing coffee beans. It crushes and grinds the beans simultaneously.

Place the required amount of coffee beans in a plastic ziplock bag and keep it on a hard surface, like a counter. Keep rolling the rolling pin back and forth to crush the beans.

With this technique, you’ll be able to achieve a medium-fine to a fine grind, which is ideal for preparing drip coffee or a pour-over brewing method.

Hammer

You can get your coffee beans powdered well with a regular hammer, mallet, or a meat tenderizer. Similar to a rolling pin, you’ll need a ziplock bag to hold the coffee beans.

Place the ziplock bag with the coffee beans on a flat, hard surface like a counter or a cutting board. And pound away until the coffee beans are ground. You’ll get a coarse to medium grind that you could use for drip coffee or cold brew.

Mortar and Pestle

This age-old, time-consuming technique is typically used to grind spices, herbs, and medicines into a fine powder. So, why not use it for grinding beans as well?

Apart from spending more time and energy into its use, you can get an even grind and great flavor. The combination of hammering and rolling can result in a consistent texture. This is your go-to tool if you want French-press coarse grounds to Turkish-coffee fine.

Place coffee beans at about one-fourth of the mortar’s capacity. Hold the pestle in one hand and keep the mortar in place with the other hand. Use a twisting motion to crush the beans, intermittently rolling the coffee around to check the texture and consistency.

Spice Grinder

This might seem slightly unconventional, but the powerful blades of spice grinders are a good substitute for coffee grinders.

If you’re using an automatic spice grinder, you’ll have to pulse the coffee beans for a uniform grind. On the other hand, if it’s a manual one, just use it like you would for any other spices.

Using Home Ground Coffee to Brew Coffee

Grinding your coffee lets the beans stay fresher and makes a great cuppa Joe. You’ll be the one in control of the grind’s fineness to suit your brewing method.

Once you have your coffee grounds ready to use, here’s how you can make a great cup of brew:

Use a Thermos Like a French Press

With a French press, you press the grounds down, and a filter keeps the grounds out of your cup. Would you believe you could use a thermos as an alternative to a French press?

  1. Use 3 tablespoons of coarse-ground coffee for every 8 ounces of water.
  2. Put the coffee into a thermos or container for steeping and pour hot water in, allowing it to steep for 4 minutes.
  3. Stirring once after the first 2 minutes will help speed the extraction process.
  4. Your brew is ready to use; just strain it and prepare a cup of great coffee.

Make a Cold Brew

Using commonly found items around your house, you can make some delicious coffee. Keep coffee filters, coarse-ground coffee, some rubber bands, and a plastic container ready for preparing your cold brew.

  1. Place 3 tablespoons of coffee (for 8 ounces of water) into a filter; use more filters for a larger batch.
  2. Use a rubber band or twine to secure the gathered edges of the filter.
  3. Place the filter(s) into the container and pour water into it. For an even extraction, gently massage the filter once it’s wet to break any clumps.
  4. After 16-18 hours of steeping, take the filters out.
  5. The concentrated brew can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It can make an amazingly good cold brew.

Cowboy Coffee

Don’t be surprised by the fancy name; this is just your simple coffee.

  1. Fill a medium pot with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Turn off the heat and keep the water aside for 30 seconds.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of fine-ground coffee for every 8 ounces of water.
  4. Stir the grounds and let it steep for 4 minutes, with another stir after the first 2 minutes. Once the grounds settle, your brew is ready to consume.

Final Thoughts

While nothing can beat the convenience and ease of pre-ground or instant coffee preparation, you can definitely get better coffee with whole beans.

Although it takes longer to brew and with less surface area than ground coffee, you’ll need more beans; you’ll be one satisfied coffee aficionado.

Have you got whole coffee beans on your hand and no coffee grinder? You can still make your brew and have your dose of caffeine; use the whole beans or grind it yourself with easy hacks. You’re bound to be impressed with whole bean coffee.

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AUTHOR

Jeff Stone
Jeff is a coffee aficionado. He loves a couple cups of joe first thing in the morning. He like trying out new grounds and gear and then writes about it here. When he is not sipping java, he is usually writing it for his clients as a software engineer.

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