Last Updated on June 9, 2023 by Barry Gray
I think it’s fair to say most people will look at ground coffee beans and think the job has been done, and all you need to do is to add water.
But is that the case?
I’m going to spend a few minutes just examining if that’s all you can do with those pre-ground coffee beans or is there something else possible? Actually, can you regrind those coffee beans, and is it worth it?
It is entirely possible to regrind those ground coffee beans, and it could potentially enhance the coffee you then make. However, you need to use the correct method, and there are times when it’s actually better to regrind coffee beans before you use them.
What is clear is that I have a lot to get through.
Why Grind Size is Important
Grind size plays a significant role in coffee, and it will change your entire experience in line with the grind.
Here’s an example of what I mean.
If you plan on making an espresso, you need a fine grind. A coarse grind will result in a poor espresso, and nobody wants to feel as if their espresso is missing the mark in both power and taste.
But not every type of coffee drink requires the same size of grind.
Longer brew drinks have larger grinds than shorter brews, and it’s all because of what you are trying to do regarding pulling out the flavor from the coffee in the shortest possible time.
So, knowing you have the correct size grind for your coffee will be integral to you actually being able to enjoy the drink.
With that in mind, knowing you can regrind coffee that’s not fine enough in order to get the perfect coffee is certainly good knowledge to have at your disposal.
Over-Grinding is Also a Problem
But I also feel I need to point out that grinding coffee too fine will also pose its own set of problems.
If you go ahead and try to brew coffee with granules that are too fine, then what happens is you extract too much flavor and coffee for that drink.
Now, I do know some people would argue that’s not a problem. However, they would be wrong.
Having extracted too much coffee for the drink, you will quickly discover your coffee tastes out of balance, and it just doesn’t sit right.
Under-Grinding is Also a Problem
But while over-grinding coffee is a problem, so too is under doing it. If you do not grind the coffee enough, then all that happens is you get weak and underperforming coffee.
The main issue is when you use pressure, such as with an espresso, as water is forced through the coffee to extract the flavor.
The problem with granules that are too larger is they then create space for the water to get through, as the granules are not as tightly packed together. When that happens, you get less flavor and a disappointing cup at the end of it all.
Regrinding Coffee Takes Care
So, you now know why it’s important to have the right size grind for your desired coffee, but how do you even regrind coffee that has already been through that process?
Well, one thing I’ve discovered is you do need to take some care.
Actually, I tried regrinding coffee with a couple of grinders, and I achieved different results.
Also, I think you may be surprised at how I fared with this regrinding process.
I tried it with both an electric grinder and a manual grinder, and the manual grinder performed better. I know most people would presume an electric grinder would be best, but that’s not the case here.
Instead, what I discovered was that the electric grinder had an issue in dealing with the pre-ground coffee. It kept on stopping at different times as if it was trying to tell me there was nothing left to grind.
I sort of understood why it was doing that, but it left me a bit frustrated that it wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do.
The manual grinder was different.
I felt I had more control, and I could force the grinder into doing its job, and it did perform pretty well. Also, I could pay attention to the grind and how fine it was getting with me then being able to stop at any moment.
That sense of control made me feel I was less likely to waste some coffee that had been over-ground and becomes pretty much useless apart from if I was intending on making Turkish coffee.
Does Regrinding Coffee Beans Improve the Brew?
Another key point I spent some time thinking about was the role regrinding coffee beans could play in improving the brew. Would it even make a difference?
The answer is that it can, at times, improve the quality of the brew. It breaks up the coffee into an even bigger surface area allowing water to come into contact with more of the coffee, leading to a more potent brew.
It doesn’t really do much from a freshness perspective, as most of that sense of coffee becoming stale may have already happened. However, it could change your drinking experience with the beans, and it will certainly be fun finding out if you can taste the change in the coffee.
How to Regrind Your Coffee Beans Successfully
I get the feeling I may have interested a number of you in at least attempting to regrind coffee beans. Still, there is a way of doing it to increase your chances of it being a success.
For me, the key was not to overload my grinder in the first place. Also, I ensured I was only trying to regrind coffee that had some of the coarsest grinds out there.
If you overload your grinder, you increase the chances of clogging it up and the grinder jamming. Nobody wants that to happen, so go slow and steady to avoid running into problems.
Also, there’s another advantage to regrinding slowly.
By introducing the granules gradually, it means the finer parts should fall past the grinder, and it only catches the larger pieces.
As a result, you should manage to get a more consistent grind and also avoid overdoing it with some parts of your coffee.
How Does Reground Coffee Taste?
Clearly, the actual taste varies depending on the beans used, the roasting process, and even where they were grown. However, I’m not concerning myself with those aspects right now and focusing on how reground coffee is going to taste.
Generally, I felt the reground coffee came across as slightly sweeter in taste. There was a bit less bitterness than I expected, but there were still certainly hints of acidity in the brew.
I did feel it didn’t completely change the flavor of my coffee too much, and to check this, I did carry out a quick experiment.
I took my old coffee with a more coarse grind and made an espresso. I tried it with the reground coffee, and the second one won.
This was also not so much of a surprise as the initial coffee was too chunky for espresso, so of course, it would taste better.
Plus, I feel regrinding coffee will work well for anybody doing a pour over. Those finer coffee grounds will sit well in the paper filter and force the water to take its time to work through the coffee.
This should result in a sweeter coffee that has a bit more of a punch to it than before and a far more enjoyable experience.
Are There Drinks Where You Should Not Regrind Coffee?
I’ve thought long and hard about this question, and I do feel there are times when it’s best to leave your coffee grounds alone and not put them back through your grinder.
Drinks such as a French press would not work well, and that is especially the case if you create a very fine grind.
If the grind is too fine, then it will slip through the filter in the plunger part, and you will have too much sediment in the bottom of your cup. That is never a nice thing, and it’s certainly something I would look to avoid.
Would I Regrind Coffee Regularly?
Would I regrind coffee on a regular basis? Probably not, but I’m not sure if that’s due to being lazy or if it’s because I tend to buy different coffee for different drinks.
Due to that desire to purchase various coffee options, I have little need to regrind.
But if I found myself in a situation where I didn’t have the correct grind for what I wanted, then I would go ahead and do a regrind. However, I would try to avoid it wherever possible, but at least I know it’s an option for me if required.
My Recap on Regrinding Coffee Beans
Regrinding coffee beans is possible, but it’s not the easiest thing to do, and nor is it always practical. However, here are the key points that I feel you should take away from all of this.
- It is possible to regrind coffee beans
- Over grinding is an issue and leads to over extraction
- Undergrinding gives a weak coffee
- Regrinding works best with a manual grinder than with an electric model
- Regrind in small amounts to avoid clogging the machine
- Small amounts allow the grinder to catch the larger grinds with ease
- It will improve the flavor of an espresso and pour over
- Avoid it with drinks that require a longer brew
You can regrind coffee beans that were previously ground down, but it’s not something I would always suggest. I feel there are too many ways in which you could go wrong, so do take time and care over it to reduce the chances of that happening.
But if you do have a coarse ground coffee and want to make espresso, even if it’s to then form the base of other drinks, then regrinding it down to something finer is suitable. I feel it’s better doing that than wasting all of your coffee, so perhaps in those instances, it’s worth having a go at it.