This is one of the questions we’re asked most commonly about the humble coffee bean. Logically, you’d presume that whole bean coffee would be cheaper than ground coffee. After all, ground coffee demands more processing than whole bean coffee, which would surely have an impact on the price.
In reality, the best coffee beans in the world will always be more expensive than the closest comparable ground coffee. On the plus side, it’s also true to say that whole bean coffee is the best coffee money can buy. Even if it costs more, it’s a price worth paying.
So with this in mind, here’s a quick look at a few reasons why the best coffee beans in the world are also more expensive than equivalent coffee grounds:
In many instances, farmers and producers aren’t in the habit of using the best coffee beans in the world to produce ground coffee. Instead, they reserve their best beans for the kind of whole bean coffee that’s simply unbeatable in terms of quality. Hence, you’ll often find two coffees that are technically the same – one ground, one whole bean – and the latter will be more expensive. There will always be exceptions to the rule, but this is typically the way things go.
It’s also true to say that when it comes to the best coffee beans in the world produced by dedicated growers worldwide, general production standards are as high as it gets. Some of the most reputable and revered coffee farms continue to use the same hand-selection, harvesting and processing methods as have been used for generations. This being the only way to ensure every coffee cherry is picked at its peak ripeness, with the strictest quality control standards from start to finish.
It’s also not entirely uncommon for coffee producers to mix a wide variety of beans into a single batch of ground coffee. The result of which can indeed be superb coffee, but it’s with quality whole bean coffee that you’re guaranteed one single type of coffee from one origin. It’s a little like comparing a blended whisky to a fine single malt – both can be great, but one is considered superior. If every single coffee bean can be traced all the way back to the farm it originated from, you’re looking at a quality batch of coffee.
Last but not least, demand for the best coffee beans in the world is at an all-time high. In addition, demand for fresh whole bean coffee is rocketing all over the world like never before. Nevertheless, the most revered farms and producers are not producing a great deal more coffee today than they were several decades ago. As such, demand is outstripping supply, resulting in higher prices. Ground coffee production has been stepped-up massively over the years – quality whole bean coffee remains an exclusive and far more premium purchase.
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