You may wonder about the differences between grinding your own coffee and buying it pre-ground. There are many outcomes to consider, including the taste and freshness of the coffee, the convenience, and the price difference.
This article will examine whether or not it is cheaper to buy pre-ground coffee or to grind your own coffee beans.
Price Differences Between Pre-Ground and Whole Coffee Beans
Generally, the price per pound of pre-ground coffee and whole bean coffee are the same within a single brand.
For example, Starbucks sells both whole bean and pre-ground coffee for approximately $7.99 for a 12-ounce bag, while La Colombe sells both their basic whole bean and pre-ground coffee for $13.00 for 12 ounces.
Most brands of coffee, whether sold by whole bean or pre-ground, will cost between $6-18 for 12 ounces.
Since coffee is packaged and sold by weight, it is likely that you would get the same output of brewed coffee from a bag of whole beans as with a bag of pre-ground coffee.
Reasons Why Pre-Ground Coffee Can be Less Expensive
However, some companies, who tend to produce mass amounts of lesser quality coffee, are able to sell these large amounts of pre-ground coffee for a lower price.
Typically, this is for several reasons. The demand for pre-ground coffee is higher than the demand for whole bean coffee, thus making the price even cheaper.
Many organizations that sell or use coffee at large scales may prefer the convenience and lower price of buying lower quality coffee in bulk.
Pre-ground coffee has less volume and takes up less space than whole bean coffee. This means that the coffee can be packed down more, which may reduce shipping costs.
Potential Additives in Pre-Ground Coffee
According to ACS there is also a possibility that pre-ground coffee has additives in it that are not coffee beans, whether intentional or not.
For example, twigs or sticks may be unintentionally mixed in and ground up. On the other hand, some companies may add fillers intentionally, such as chicory, corn, or barley, to reduce costs further.
A similar question was asked over at The Simple Dollar.
The writers there compared the cost of grinding their own coffee to the cost of using a coffee pod. They found that the average cost of grinding their own coffee came out to approximately $0.11 per cup, while a coffee pod cost approximately $0.26 per cup.
That’s a big difference.
Other Factors to Consider
Another factor to consider is the up-front cost of obtaining equipment to grind your own coffee. A basic entry-level coffee grinder costs approximately $15-20 at various stores, while upscale coffee grinders can easily cost up to $250… some can even go into the thousands!
Time is another factor that could be related to cost.
Many people consider time to be money, and the time it takes to grind your own coffee is greater than that of using pre-ground coffee.
A typical process of grinding your own coffee and brewing it may take 5-10 minutes, depending on the method of brewing you use. The same writer at The Simple Dollar found that it took them 7 minutes to grind and prepare their own coffee.
In general, the price of grinding your own coffee is comparable to the price of buying pre-ground coffee. However, there are other factors to consider as to why you might want to grind your own coffee, including improved freshness and taste of the coffee.
Also, if you choose to roast the coffee yourself before grinding then you may actually find the costs start decreasing significantly over buying pre-ground.
Here’s a post I published a while back on roasting your own beans. Give it a look to learn how easy it can be for the regular Joe.
The pros to this obviously include controlling the process from start to finish at a lower cost but at the sacrifice of losing a ton of convenience. There’s no wrong way in my opinion.