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Whole Bean vs Ground Coffee: Which One is Better?

“The smell of fresh-made coffee is one of the world’s greatest inventions.”_Hugh Jackman

Coffee lovers worldwide stand with Hugh on this one, and so do we. There is absolutely nothing like coffee. Do you know the difference between the whole bean vs. ground coffee? Which is better to buy?

This article is dedicated to coffee lovers around the world. Let’s learn more about the two forms.

15-Second Summary

  • Whole Bean coffee is a roasted bean that hasn’t been ground, while ground coffee is a processed bean.
  • Whole Bean coffee has more aroma and freshness when compared with ground coffee.
  • Ground coffee is more cost-effective and easily accessible.
  • To make your coffee, the substitute ratio of whole bean coffee to ground coffee is 1:1.
  • While the general rule of thumb for the water and coffee ratio is 1:15.

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Whole Bean vs. Ground Coffee: What Are They?

What is Whole Bean Coffee?

whole bean coffee

Whole beans are roasted coffee beans that haven’t been ground yet. It’s still bean form; you need to grind it first to enjoy it as the coffee.

Further reading: Best Whole Bean Coffees on Amazon

What is Ground Coffee?

ground coffee

Ground Coffee, as the name implies, is pre-grinded whole beans. This is the coffee that you brew and drink up in the mornings.

You might say, “Aha! Since ground coffee is ready, why do I need the whole beans?!”  Let’s find out!

Difference Between Whole Bean and Ground Coffee

Flavor- Whole Bean Wins

The flavor is an essential attribute of coffee. Knowing what you get from each form of coffee will help you decide if whole beans or ground coffee is best for you.

We have to give all the flavor accolades to whole beans. They are bubbling with full flavors, little wonder why coffee experts prefer whole beans.

Does that mean ground coffee has no flavor? On the contrary, ground coffee has flavor, but whole beans take it all away when you compare both.

ground coffee vs whole bean

If you don’t mind the little flavor difference, you can still enjoy ground coffee; this form is readily available.

Did you ask why whole beans have so much flavor? It’s simple; whole beans don’t undergo more physical processing after roasting. This reason keeps their aroma and taste all intact in the bean.

Roasting is the procedure of heating green coffee beans to brown to enhance their flavor and aroma.

Expiration- Whole Bean Wins

Fresh coffee gives the best taste. After the coffee bean is roasted, its freshness begins to decline slowly; over time, it loses freshness.

With ground coffee, the rate of expiration is faster. Ground coffee becomes more vulnerable to heat, humidity, or other environmental factors.

While both coffee types can lose their flavor and taste, especially when stored improperly, whole beans tend to last longer.

Ease- Ground Coffee Wins

Ground coffee takes the cup when it comes to accessibility and ease.

Ground coffee is your best bet if you like to wake up, make a coffee cup, and rush off to work.

But if you like to take the brewing process in, try out different techniques and experience the brewing life, then whole beans should be your pick.

whole bean vs ground coffee

Ground coffee is a faster option than whole beans because they are processed and readily available. Ground coffee saves a lot of time and energy; all you have to do is scoop and brew.  

Whole beans are more time-consuming since you have to grind them first.

Cost- Ground Coffee Wins

In this battle of ground vs. whole bean coffee, ground coffee wins. It is relatively cheaper to purchase ground coffee than whole bean coffee.  

Companies that produce whole bean coffee spend more money shipping fresh whole beans because they can get contaminated during transportation. Ground coffee comes packaged (most times), unlike whole beans, so it’s easier to transport.

ground coffee teapsoon

Whole bean coffee is more expensive because its quality is higher. They usually have a particular source and are a more intentional blend of coffee.

In contrast, commercial ground coffee might consist of coffee blends. They can be gotten from different sources, batched up, and ground. Mixing coffee blends saves the cost of using one type.

Additionally, whole bean coffee is more expensive because you have to buy a coffee grinder. Coffee grinders’ prices vary from $10 to 1000. Definitely not cheap!

Now you know the significant differences between ground vs. whole bean coffee, let’s talk about measurements.

Ground Coffee Vs. Whole Bean- Measurements

With coffee, the metric measurement is by weight.

Both coffee forms don’t have too much disparity regarding weight. There is a general rule: use a 1:15 ratio of coffee to water.

The rule means for every gram of whole bean coffee, use 15gram of water. Or, for one cup of water, use three teaspoons of ground coffee.

Ground coffee vs. whole bean coffee: what is the volume ratio? Coffee research [1] shows that ground coffee occupies almost the same space as whole beans. This makes the substitute volume ratio 1:1.

What Is The Difference Between A 12oz Whole Bean Coffee Vs. Ground Coffee?

A 12oz bag of ground coffee will give you 16, 12-ounces [2] if you use a drip machine.

However, this amount may vary slightly depending on the machine you use and the coffee you use.

If you consume two cups of whole beans daily, it equals eight ounces each.

Watch this video to see how much ground coffee a 12-oz bag of whole beans makes to understand better.

At this point, we will understand if you want to know which coffee form gives you more.

Do You Get More Value For Coffee With Whole Beans or Ground?

For this question:

  • You get more with whole beans than ground coffee. That explains why it is expensive.
  • You get a fresher, more aromatic blend of finest coffee beans with whole beans than ground coffee.

We are confident that coffee baristas, connoisseurs, and general coffee lovers have learned a lot from this article.

To wrap it up, let’s answer a few questions.

FAQ About Whole Bean vs. Ground Coffee

Is it better to buy coffee beans or ground?

The answer to the question depends solely on you. If you want a cheaper option, ground beans are best for you. But if you prefer a more refined, exotic option, go for whole beans.

Are coffee beans better than ground?

We love whole beans; the freshness, aroma, and quality are to die for. But the choice of which option is better solely depends on your taste.

Is it cheaper to buy whole bean coffee?

No, it’s more expensive to buy whole bean coffee. Since you have to buy a coffee grinder, spend energy and time grinding it. However, if you don’t mind those, we assure you it’s worth the effort.

Where can I get coffee beans ground?

Walmart, Starbucks, Supermarkets, Malls, and online stores are your surest source of ground coffee beans.

Final Thoughts

Coffee! Coffee! Coffee! It’s so delicious! Whether it is the whole bean vs. ground coffee, you can always enjoy a refreshing cup to kick off your day.

If you like to run off to work with a cup of coffee in hand, you might want to befriend ground coffee.

However, if you prefer to test the waters, enjoy the moment and brew your cup personally; by all means, get a whole bean bag.

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I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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