Last Updated on June 20, 2023 by Barry Gray
I love to experiment with coffee as I feel it allows me to explore different flavors and coffee experiences. I admit that I do get carried away at times, and not all of my experiments work out.
But this time, I’m doing something different, and yet it’s still a very valid experiment.
What I plan on doing is to determine if it is indeed possible to brew coffee beans without going through the grinding process. Will it work, and what kind of coffee will I get at the end of it?
Yes, you can actually brew coffee beans without grinding them. However, prepare for it to take some time to complete the brewing process, as it should be at least 60 minutes before it’s ready. That is why we grind coffee beans to allow us to brew coffee quicker.
This answer did not come as a surprise to me. It made sense that you would still be able to brew coffee without grinding, but it does take a bit longer than I anticipated.
And yet, you do have to think about several aspects to end up with a wonderful cup of coffee that is packed full of flavor. Don’t stress though, as I will make life a bit easier for you regarding all of this.
Why Grind Coffee Beans?
Let me, first of all, explain why we grind coffee beans. After all, if you can still make coffee without grinding them, then is there a point in doing it?
The answer is pretty obvious.
The main reason we grind coffee beans is to increase the surface area of the coffee. This is important as it allows the water to come into contact with more coffee.
By doing this, we allow the water to extract even more flavor from the coffee beans and to do so in a shorter period.
But have you ever thought about a potential problem with all of this?
You see, to get a good cup of coffee, it helps if the ground coffee is all the same size. However, that’s not always something that happens.
If you plan on grinding your own beans, I would certainly advise you to get a quality grinder and do try to push the boat out a bit regarding what you can afford.
More inexpensive grinders sort of hack away at the beans leading to chunks and lumps rather than a smooth grind. The result of this is an inability to extract all the flavor from the beans as the water processes the coffee at different rates.
A better quality grinder will produce a more consistent result, and the quality of the coffee you can then make will vastly improve.
Overall though, I would say the biggest reason for grinding those coffee beans is to shorten the brew time.
The Problem With Grinding Your Coffee Beans
Yet, there’s another problem associated with grinding down coffee beans, and it’s all to do with the rate at which your coffee will begin to deteriorate.
Coffee beans will start to deteriorate after the roasting process. However, the rate at which this happens is extremely slow when compared to the rate it happens with when those coffee beans have been ground down.
As soon as you grind your coffee beans, you really kickstart the process of oxidization, and that’s a huge enemy of coffee. Increasing the ability of oxygen to work its way into those coffee beans will result in them going stale and losing flavor.
As you can imagine, that’s hardly a good thing to let happen.
If you keep your coffee beans whole, it does give you more time to actually enjoy the coffee you can brew from them. However, to do this, you will need to know the best way to brew your coffee with those whole beans.
How to Brew Coffee with Whole Coffee Beans
I admit that I felt slightly panicked the first time I thought about doing this.
I didn’t want to ruin some perfectly fine coffee beans, and I had to think a lot about the required process that would allow me to get the type of results I wanted.
After thinking it through, this is the method I tried in my first attempt to get an excellent brew from those coffee beans.
The Double Boiler Approach
I decided the best approach was to use the double boiler method. If you don’t know what that is, all you need is a saucepan and a mason jar, and you will be ready to go.
Now, I know some people would figure you should just throw some coffee beans into boiling water and let it do its thing. Well, that will not work as you hoped, and the double boiler method offered more control over the entire method.
If you want to copy my approach, then these are the steps to follow.
- Fill the saucepan with water and bring it to the boil
- Take your mason jar and add coffee beans to it
- Make sure the mason jar is filled to about a third of capacity
- Add some of the hot water from the saucepan to the mason jar
- Add some additional water to the saucepan to ensure it’s 50% full
- Set everything to a medium heat
- Add the mason jar to the saucepan
- Allow everything to simmer for between 45 and 60 minutes
- Stir every 10 minutes
- Remove the mason jar from the water after 60 minutes
- Strain the coffee into your cup, and enjoy
I admit I tried changing the time it takes for coffee to brew, and this time of 60 minutes resulted in the best coffee. I tried at 30 minutes, but it was far too weak to be enjoyable.
What Does the Brewed Coffee Taste Like?
So, what were my thoughts on the coffee after that 60-minute wait? Honestly, it was mind-blowing, and it makes sense as to why it should taste so good.
Giving the beans that time to slowly brew allows for a gradual release of flavor and aroma from the beans. It’s like a slow burner approach, and I was impressed by how the coffee was packed full of everything you would hope to experience.
As I said, the time was essential. I feel the hour long wait is perfect, giving the water more than enough time to extract the maximum flavor.
But here are some reasons why brewing coffee with whole beans is such a great idea.
You Don’t Worry About an Inconsistent Grind
The thing you need to remember with an inconsistent grind is it’s too easy to either be too quick with the brew or wait too long. Either option will lead to a poor quality coffee that you will find difficult to enjoy.
If you have a fine grind and brew for too long, then the coffee can become far too bitter and overpowering. It can be to such an extent that you will struggle to enjoy the coffee.
But a larger grind that is under brewed is just as bad.
If you do this, expect your coffee to come across as far too weak to be enjoyable. The coffee will be lacking in so many ways, and if I had a choice, I would prefer an over brewed coffee to an under brewed one.
At least with over brewed, you still get some flavor, which is often missing from weak coffee.
But brewing with whole beans removes this entire issue. In a sense, you feel you can guarantee your coffee will taste a certain way, and that idea of consistency is a huge deal.
You Can Enjoy the Aroma for Longer
Another huge bonus, in my eyes at least, is the fact that you have the ability to enjoy the fantastic aroma for longer when brewing coffee for an hour.
It’s an absolute delight for the senses. Still, the problem I have with this is it really tries your ability to hold on and wait when you have that coffee aroma filling the room.
It’s not easy to do, but I hope you can hold on because it will be worth it in the end.
It Tastes Fresher
I feel the final main reason why you should seriously consider brewing coffee with whole beans is because of how fresh it tastes. I promise you will be very likely to have a different experience than you expected.
It’s all to do with the coffee not having the opportunity to start deteriorating, thanks to grinding it down. If you manage to brew coffee with whole beans that have just been roasted as well, then you are in line for a stunning coffee that will blow you off your feet.
It actually hit me hard the first time I tried brewing coffee this way. I’ve obviously used coffee beans before and ground them down at the time of use, but this was something completely different.
It’s the sort of taste experience that makes me want to do it again and again when I’m not in a rush to have my coffee.
My Recap on Brewing Coffee with Whole Beans
I feel that brewing coffee with whole beans is something everybody should try at some point. It’s well worth it, but here’s a recap of the main points I feel stand out.
- It takes time to brew coffee this way and allow for 60-minute brew times
- It provides you with a fresher coffee
- It’s best to use a double boiler method to brew the coffee
- It enables you to experience the aroma of brewing coffee for longer
- Don’t brew for less than 45 minutes, or you get a weak coffee
- It provides more consistent results with your coffee
For any individual who has never tried this approach, change that now and give it a go.
You can brew coffee beans without grinding them, but you cannot do this if you want a quick coffee. It takes time for it to all work, but you will still get your hands on a decent cup of coffee at the end.
I certainly enjoyed trying this out to see the type of coffee I could make. I was surprised at how good it was, and if you have the patience, I would go ahead and try it out yourself.