Whole Bean or Ground Coffee
How Many Cups of Coffee from 1 lb.?
Rule of Thumb for Brewed Coffee Yield
|Bag Size (pounds)||Bag Size (ounces)||Number of standard cups of brewed coffee|
|1/2 lb.||8 oz.||41 (9 oz. cups)|
|3/4 lb.||12 oz.||62 (9 oz. cups)|
|1 lb.||16 oz.||82 (9 oz. cups)|
|5 lbs.||80 oz.||410 (9 oz. cups)|
The information above can be used as a rule of thumb. A lot of things determine the yield from a pound of coffee, including personal taste preferences and how much coffee is used in brewing. Since most people measure their coffee by volume instead of weight, we have converted weight (oz./lbs.) to volume (ounces) to create the table above
*Rule of thumb to convert (weight to volume) coffee: 1 pound of coffee equals 100 tablespoons of coffee (whole coffee beans or ground coffee)
Should I Grind My Own Coffee Beans?
The best way to enjoy coffee is to purchase whole bean coffee and grind it yourself, just before brewing. More more people are discovering the amazing amount of freshness that comes from freshly grinding coffee at home. Whole beans maintain their freshness much longer than purchasing ground coffee.
If you grind it yourself, it is wise to invest in a good "burr" coffee grinder. The less expensive "blade" grinders essentially chop the coffee bean instead of grinding it. Most use a push button without a predetermined time for how coarse or fine the coffee is ground. This leads to inconsistent grinding.
With a blade grinder, it is difficult to grind to the proper coarseness. Blade grinders also create a lot of heat, which reduces the quality of the coffee. A blade grinder cannot sufficiently grind coffee fine enough to use for espresso.
In contrast, a good "burr" grinder will consistently grind your beans to a desired level of coarseness. They generate less heat and create a much more consistent grind. If you use an espresso machine, make sure the burr grinder you purchase can grind the bean fine enough for espresso.
What Type of Coffee Grind Should I Use?
Whether you choose to grind your own coffee beans or purchase ground coffee, you should be familiar with the type of coffee grinds. Standard grind levels are (from most coarse to most fine): French Press Grind, Percolator Grind, Auto Drip Grind, Fine Grind, Espresso Grind, Turkish Grind.
For most people, the "auto drip" grind is the proper choice. This is for modern coffee makers that use a drip water system. These are standard coffee makers that most people purchase.
* AUTO DRIP GRIND - for standard, modern drip coffee makers. This is the most common grind type. The grind consistency should be similar to standard granulated sugar.
* PERCOLATOR GRIND - these are for the old fashioned style "percolator" coffee makers that most people used during the 1950's through 1970's. They are still sold today, but not widely used. Percolator grind is coarser than "auto drip", but not as coarse as "French Press" grind.
* FRENCH PRESS GRIND - this is a coarse grind for use in a french press or press pot. The coarser grind prevents the coffee grounds from seeping through the mesh screen of the press.
* FINE GRIND - this is a finer ground coffee intended for use with most home espresso machines.
* ESPRESSO GRIND - this grind is a very fine grind intended for use with commercial espresso machines. Generally it is too fine for use with most home espresso machines.
* TURKISH GRIND - this is an extremely fine grind (rarely used in the U.S.) that grinds the bean into a very fine powder. Some European and Asian countries make their coffee in this style.
Coffee by Weight or Volume?
Coffee - Sold by Weight / Consumed by Volume
There are many misconceptions about purchasing coffee, grinding coffee beans and the ratio of coffee used per water. The first thing we need to clarify is that coffee is sold by weight, not volume. Typically, coffee is sold in 1/2 lb., 3/4 lb. or 1 lb. packages. We are also starting to see a lot of 10 and 11 ounce coffees on the market from grocery store brands. This is a way to increase the price by adjusting the volume. Many people mistake a 12 ounce bag for 1 pound, because they assume all coffee is sold in 1 lb. bags.
Typical Coffee Sold by Weight
* 1 lb. - 16 oz.
* 3/4 lb. - 12 oz.
* 1/2 lb. - 8 oz.
Even though coffee is sold by weight, it is typically measured and consumed by volume. The SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) created a standard for brewing coffee by weight of the ground coffee to water ratio. Most specialty coffee shops measure their coffee by weight for brewing. Most consumers typically measure their coffee by volume for brewing at home. There may be a few serious coffee drinkers using digital scales to weigh their coffee filter, but most people use a dry measure like a scoop or tablespoon.
A Common Question - Does 1 lb. of whole coffee beans weigh the same as ground coffee? Yes. 1 lb. of whole coffee beans weighs 1 lb. after grinding. The answer may seem obvious, but the confusion arises because of the weight vs. volume issue. When a pound of whole coffee beans is ground, it may well take up less volume in a package, but the weight does not change. Keep in mind we buy coffee by weight, but measure coffee by volume.
This creates some confusion about the amount of coffee used for brewing. We get into the specifics for coffee to water ratios below, so we won't cover that here, but the point I want to make is that coffee beans and ground coffee vary by volume.
Dark Roast versus Light Roast
Have you ever noticed that a bag of dark roasted coffee is typically larger than a bag of light roasted coffee? Dark roasted coffee is lighter in weight so it takes more volume to fill a 1 lb. bag. I have recently noticed that some grocery stores are selling coffee in the same sized bag, but their darker roasts weigh less, but the package looks the same size.
Green coffee beans contain moisture. As the bean is roasted it also dries and moisture is removed. The darker the roast, the longer the coffee bean is roasted and more moisture is removed. As moisture is removed from the bean it also weighs less. A darker roasted coffee bean weighs less than the same lighter roasted bean, but takes up the same volume. It takes more dark roasted beans to equal the weight of the lighter roasted beans. Remember, coffee is sold by weight, not volume, so a 1 lb. bag of a dark roast is larger than a 1 lb. bag of a light roasted coffee.
Another variable is that different coffee beans from different coffee growing regions vary in size and weight. For instance, coffee beans from Ethiopia are smaller than coffee beans from Colombia. They simply take up less room.
When purchasing coffee, just be aware that coffee is sold by weight, but typically consumed by volume. Just check the weight to compare apples to apples regarding pricing.