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A journey back into the pre ground land..

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  • A journey back into the pre ground land..

    Hey Guys,

    This is just a, turned out to be not so, quick write up on a recent experience I have had with pre-ground coffee.

    My workplace (a coffee roastery) recently acquired a Compak R80 Shop Grinder. In order to check what the grind was like, they gave me a sample to test at home on my Sunbeam 6910. Now usually I use a 22g VST with a tamp from a certain Canadian place but to test for the average punter I promoted my old baskets from cup risers to their actual purpose (the double baskets, single wall and double wall) and pulled out my sunbeam tamper.

    The coffee was ground and stored in a sealed 2-way valve bag. The next day I scooped up two x(apparently)7g scoops and tamped not too firmly into my double wall basket. The results - very sharp and sour and a face that looked like it had just been punched in. I was then reminded about what the pressurised basket's puck looks like and how much of a struggle it is too clean..

    Single wall - a lot better, although still tasted gross. It's a lot better in a sense that you got a 2x2 great wall ute but then you got a 4x4 great wall ute. They are both crap but one is still slightly crappier (apologies to all great wall owners out there-I've never been that good with similes)

    2nd day! So this time I started will the single wall (bad move michael..). Pretty much the same as yesterday but worse. Even thinner and sourer!
    And so we come to the 2nd day, double walled shot. The only really positive was that I was encouraged to level my machine as one side was double the volume of the other! Anyway, I decided to try the shot with the pale looking, frothy crema (very bad move michael..). Well, it only lasted about 2 seconds in my mouth before running to the sink and grabbing a piece of chewing gum.

    And so as I write this after downing my Short Black made with freshly grounded coffee straight into my single walled basket using a sunbeam tamp just to compare I'm left feeling sorry for those poor customers who just today I ground out 2kg of specialty roasted coffee for espresso for them. Where as for the same amount of money plus a tad more, they could have invested in at least an EM0480 (as i have) or even a Slim Mill for the fraction of the price!

    This leaves a big question in my mind for roasters around the world or local. Is there room for a limit as to how much ground coffee one can sell in order too withhold the quality and therefore the reputation of the coffee? Ok so I can understand how this may annoy customers but surely even the most simple minded people can grasp the fact that when you reduce the size of the bean 0.00006% of the original size (i have no idea what the actual figure is, please enlighten me if you do know!) it will go staler at a rate which is 60000% times the original rate.

    So instead of beans being stale within one month (744 hours) 744x0.00006=0.04464 about 2.6 min (I knew there was some reason i went through extension maths haha). So one granule of coffee will go stale in 2.6min! Surely there has got to be logic behind a limit. It isn’t all maths though. The proof is in the pudding or in our case espresso and the espresso pretty much tastes terrible.

    Anyway, this is just the 700 words of rambling by a 17 year old boy who has probably drunk too much coffee today. But I personally think there has to be some limit to the amount of ground coffee one is allowed to sell.

    If you made it this far, congrats and thank you haha
    Michael
    15
    Strongly Disagree
    33.33%
    5
    Disagree
    26.67%
    4
    Neutral
    6.67%
    1
    Agree
    20.00%
    3
    Strongly Agree
    13.33%
    2

  • #2
    Thanks Michael,

    An entertaining read.

    Cheers,

    Craig.

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    • #3
      A journey back into the pre ground land..

      When I've used pre-ground beans at work, in my presso, with the grounds kept with a modicum of air tightness, I got decent results for about 2 days, drinkable in the 3rd day and rubbish after that.

      Comment


      • #4
        A journey back into the pre ground land..

        Glad you enjoyed Craig!
        And Jonathon, I suppose everybody has different experiences and they are all interesting to hear.

        Michael

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        • #5
          Interesting idea, I think if i owned a specialty coffee roastery I would try that idea out. But I would go cold turkey, not offer pre-ground at all. I mean why would a customer want to spend the extra money for specialty coffee but be too tight to buy a grinder?

          Im sure someone will argue with me though..

          Comment


          • #6
            A journey back into the pre ground land..

            I like the sound of that! but you could also have on retail some relatively cheap domestic grinders such as the Sunbeam or Rocky. And to entice the customer even more, you could chuck in a free 500g bag of your coffee or just an in store demonstration to get them going.

            Comment


            • #7
              No one's going to argue with you! At least not me.
              The reason that any coffee roasters supply pre-ground is simple; it gives them a wider market and more cash flow, which maintains
              viability and therefore a happy bank manager!
              Bigger roasters, quite commonly, supply wholesale packaged, pre-ground coffee to their wholesale customers.
              Smaller, 'specialty' roasters still do it but in a different manner. If they have an online shop or a direct retail outlet then often
              they will supply coffee pre-ground, to order. The other way smaller roasters supply pre-ground is by providing a suitable
              bag grinder to their wholesale customers so coffee can be pre-ground to order, at the retail point of sale.
              If roasters, in general, refused point blank to do pre-ground then a lot of people possibly wouldn't progress to fresh ground,
              they would just stick to instant.

              Why is there a market for pre-ground coffee? For the most part, it's a matter of education and/or experience/exposure,
              i.e. you only know what you know and can only act on that premise.
              Often it's a throwback to the instant coffee culture or the supermarket mentality and sometimes it's a mistaken
              belief that it's the machine that makes better coffee, not the ability to grind fresh beans on demand, no matter what the
              coffee making procedure is. And don't forget the power of advertising and it's ability to subvert and mislead!

              The only other point I would make about pre-ground coffee use is that it's not about judging where a person is, on their
              individual coffee journey but more about hoping they can get to a better place and by providing a bit of friendly light for their path.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Wynton87 View Post
                Interesting idea, I think if i owned a specialty coffee roastery I would try that idea out. But I would go cold turkey, not offer pre-ground at all. I mean why would a customer want to spend the extra money for specialty coffee but be too tight to buy a grinder?

                Im sure someone will argue with me though..
                FWIW, our bag grinder is the least used piece of equipment that we have and I am delighted to keep things that way! Most weeks it does absolutely nothing.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm working OS at the moment, and brought my aeropress and Porlex hand-grinder with me. SWMBO is too lazy to use the hand-grinder. While buying some fresh beans the other day, my other half decided to ask them if they'd grind a bag for her. I furtively glanced at the (Melbourne) girl shaking my head. She replied 'sorry, we can only do that when we are not busy...'. There were three people in the cafe (if was NY Eve morning). However, as a consequence of this, and SWMBO buying a pack of ground coffee elsewhere, I've been able to force a side-by-side blind comparison....and I think she has got the idea.

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                  • #10
                    And as a p.s., I don't have a bag grinder at all and it's going to stay that way!
                    It'd take a month of Sundays to get my money back on the outlay.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A journey back into the pre ground land..

                      Nicely put Chokkidog. That is definitely an angle that needs to be taken into consideration. It's a hard balance between quality, quantity and in turn profit and income... But also the education of the customer. One of my coworkers likes to take the hardline direct route by saying to some customers "and that coffee will be stale by the time you get home" when handing the grounds over. I don't particularly think this is the best way but I suppose it's better than nothing! I try and ask if they have considered a grinder and go on from there.

                      Mike

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                      • #12
                        A journey back into the pre ground land..

                        Reminds me of the debate I have with my wife, I say that if I ever open a restaurant I'll only serve steaks up to medium, if they want it cooked any more they're in the wrong restaurant. She says the customer is always right, and of course who are you going to fob off the bad cuts of meat to...

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                        • #13
                          No one's going to argue with you!
                          Good luck with that thought on a busy Internet forum... ;-)

                          The reason that any coffee roasters supply pre-ground is simple; it gives them a wider market and more cash flow...
                          Whoa... not "any", maybe "most" or even "some" but certainly not all of us.

                          I have always offered ground in BeanBay but it was never about sales figures (and like Chris above, I'll never get my money back on the expensive bag grinder), it was simply and option for people as a stepping stone away from pre-packaged and instant coffees.

                          A quick look through last years figures and I ground less than 0.1% (a kilo ground in every tonne) and even then that figure is skewed because I grind "plain label" for a commercial customer who brand it as their own. (No way I'm putting my name on that stuff!) ;-)

                          In BeanBay those ordering need to select from a table of sizes. At the top is "whole bean", under it says:
                          "For quality, CoffeeSnobs strongly recommend buying as whole bean."
                          and then under that they can select Espresso Ground, Filter Ground or Plunger Ground.

                          I think the simple statement guides most people to research what the differences are and if I talk to them I certainly tell them my thoughts.

                          So in answer to the poll question: I Strongly Disagree

                          Let people drink what they like, guide them in the right direction but don't be a snob about it.
                          (insert something about pot / kettle / black here)

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                          • #14
                            Wise words Andy.

                            My coffee journey started with a $5 garage sale coffee machine and supermarket pre ground coffee. I got a taste for what it could be and have made a few progressions since. Funnily enough I thought it was pretty sensational at the time!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A journey back into the pre ground land..

                              There was a time when I thought the illy coffee from my $3000 Jura super automatic was the cream of the crop too Craimos! Now I'm making better coffee from my $700 Sunbeam. Who would've thought!

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