Regrinding medium- and coarse-ground coffee for espresso may be tempting when you receive samples in the mail or gifts for friends. Espresso is one of the best ways to sample a coffee, after all. No matter how badly you would like to try a pre-ground coffee as espresso, however, we at Driftaway Coffee don’t recommend regrinding grounds. There are a couple reasons why.
Most importantly, regrinding medium and coarse coffee grounds on a finer setting will likely clog your coffee grinder. The grounds won’t flow through your grinder like whole beans do, and the result won’t be espresso grounds. Instead, you’ll have a dark-colored grime that finds its way into every nook and cranny of your coffee grinder.
To remove this grime and make your coffee grinder workable again, you’ll have to disassemble and thoroughly clean the grinder. While this isn’t impossible to do, it’s not a lot of fun (especially when you don’t have a cup of coffee), and it may void any warranty your grinder is under.
Additionally, the black gunk you manage to remove from the grinder still won’t be suitable for making espresso. It’ll be better used as fertilizer for the garden or paint for an art project. As an espresso puck, the grime will be too fine to allow steam through.
Even if you somehow manage to regrind grounds to an espresso-suitable fineness without clogging your grinder, the new grounds won’t produce flavorful espresso. Aromas — which become flavors when captured by brewing — are released when coffee is ground. If coffee has already been ground, many of the aromas that make espresso so flavorful have already been lost.
This is why we recommend grinding coffee within a few minutes of brewing it and espresso within 1 minute of pulling a shot. While it’s not always possible to do grind fresh with pre-ground samples and gifts, you won’t fully appreciate the coffees if you try to regrind them for espresso. Too much flavor has already been lost.
If you receive or otherwise end up with a pre-ground coffee, your best option is to brew it using a method that’s appropriate for the coarseness the coffee is ground to. View this as an opportunity to reconnect with a French press, experiment with a manual pour-over or try some other brew method, depending on how coarsely the coffee is ground.
Should you absolutely be determined to try a medium- or coarse-ground coffee as espresso, you might be able to get something akin to espresso using a machine that has a pressurizing valve after the basket. On some machines, such a valve can sort of compensate for coarse grounds that don’t allow sufficient pressure to build up. The result isn’t the best espresso, but it may be passable.
If you’re looking for whole-bean coffee that makes great espresso, check out our subscription packages. We’ll ship freshly roasted, never ground coffee directly to your door so you can enjoy true espresso and avoid messing up your grinder.
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