Grinder: Many will tell you that it is ok to use pre-ground breans, but I whole-heatedly disagree. The oils in pre-ground coffee beans tend to evaporate, causing them to lose some of their flavor. Make the investment and get a good grinder. For many aficionados,grinding beans is an art form – and as with any art, the artist is only as good as the tools he uses. You may be tempted to get one of the smaller (and cheaper) push down grinders – if that’s all that’s in your budget, be prepared to practice – a LOT! You do not want to over grind because it makes the coffee bitter. It is better to use a little more bean than to risk over grinding. The Kitchenaid Coffee Burr is a great grinder and worth the investment (search for sales and deals online to soften the blow to the wallet)
Bean Storage: You’ll likely find yourself storing your beans in the fridge or the freezer, but keep in mind that in order for the flavors to truly come forward – they have to be at room temperature. If you have more beans than you’ll use – keep them in an air tight container and place them in the freezer. When you remove them from the freezer for use, it is best to let them sit and “thaw” out for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Now these are just my personal tips from my very own kitchen, but you’ll need to really play around with your own recipes and understand your particulars when it comes to taste.
Columbus Georgia USA
Equatorial Guinea Malabo