How To Make Coffee With Whole Beans: An Easy Guide

If you’re someone who prefers a simple, hands-on approach to tasks and doesn’t want to invest in pricey coffee gear, the idea of making coffee from whole beans without a fancy grinder might catch your interest.

You might wonder about the taste, time, and potential for wasted coffee beans.

The good news is that you can make coffee using whole beans.

This article explores the possibilities, showing you how to make a flavorful cup of coffee using whole beans.

We’ll explore a few different methods that break away from the usual grind-and-brew routine and reveal why you might want to give them a try.

Can You Even Make Coffee Using Whole Beans?

Absolutely, you can brew coffee using whole beans.

Now, sure, you could use a grinder to turn those beans into fresh coffee grounds, but guess what?

You can also skip the grinder and still whip up a tasty cup of coffee straight from whole beans.

Just a heads up, though—because the whole beans have a smaller surface area compared to grounds of the same size, the brewing process takes quite a bit longer.

We’re talking way longer here.

Why Would You Want To Make Coffee With Whole Beans?

Escape the Uneven Grind Dilemma

Ever noticed how blade grinders can be a bit rebellious? They chop up those beans in a way that creates a mishmash of sizes.

Some pieces are too big, resulting in under-extraction and a weak, sour cup.

Others are too small, leading to over-extraction and a bitter, strong brew.

It’s like a coffee rollercoaster you never signed up for.

If you’re stuck with a grinder that doesn’t guarantee an even grind, you might just be better off brewing those whole beans for a more reliable and enjoyable coffee experience.

Unparalleled Freshness

Whole bean coffee takes the freshness game to a whole new level.

Grinding only what you need right before brewing ensures that you’re capturing the coffee’s full spectrum of flavors and aromas.

Unlike pre-ground coffee, where the surface area is exposed to more air, whole beans keep the freshness intact until the very last grind.

Customized Grind, Perfect Brew

One size doesn’t fit all, especially when it comes to coffee grinds.

With whole beans, you get the power to customize your grind size based on your preferred brewing method.

Whether you’re into French press or espresso, tailoring the grind allows you to extract a well-balanced and flavorful cup of coffee that suits your taste buds.

Extended Shelf Life and Coffee Exploration

Whole beans aren’t just about the now; they’re about the future.

Their protective outer layer means a longer shelf life compared to pre-ground coffee.

Ground coffee starts to lose its flavor in just 7-10 days.

That’s a pretty tight window for enjoying the full-bodied flavor.

Plus, diving into the world of whole beans opens up a universe of experimentation.

Try different bean varieties, explore various roasts, and get to know coffee origins—all while enjoying the extended freshness of your coffee.

Eco-Friendly Brewing

Whole-bean coffee comes with an eco-friendly advantage.

When you choose whole beans, you’re making a more environmentally conscious choice.

Less packaging, less waste.

It’s a small but impactful step towards a more sustainable coffee routine.

Preserving Coffee’s Complexity

Whole bean coffee preserves the intricate layers of flavors that make coffee a delightful experience.

Unlike pre-ground coffee, which can lose some of its complexity over time, whole beans maintain that rich tapestry of tastes, ensuring each cup is a journey through the intricate world of coffee.

Total Brewing Control

Say goodbye to the coffee guessing game.

With whole-bean coffee, you’re the master of your brew.

From selecting the beans to grinding and brewing, every step is in your hands.

It’s not just coffee; it’s your coffee, brewed just the way you like it.

How To Make Coffee With Whole Beans: A Simple Guide

List of Items Needed

  1. Whole Coffee Beans:
    • Choose your favorite coffee beans for a personalized flavor experience.
  2. Small Saucepan:
    • A small saucepan for heating water and creating the perfect brewing environment.
  3. Mason Jar (One-Pint):
    • An essential vessel for the brewing process, allowing you to monitor and savor every step.
  4. Boiling Water:
    • A source of hot water to kickstart the brewing magic.
  5. Mug:
  6. Spoon:
    • A spoon for stirring and ensuring even saturation during the brewing process.
  7. Strainer:
    • An indispensable tool for separating the brewed coffee from the whole beans, providing a smooth and clean cup.

The Guide

Step 1: Measure the Beans

Begin by deciding the quantity of whole coffee beans you want to use.

For this guide, we recommend starting with 3-quarters of a cup of whole beans.

Adjust according to your taste preferences and the strength you desire.

Step 2: Introducing Hot Water

Bring water to a boil and add it to your Mason Jar, filling it about 3-quarters of the way.

This initial hot water bath serves two purposes: moistening the beans and kickstarting the brewing process.

Step 3: Simmering Sensation

Place the Mason Jar in the small saucepan and ensure the water level in the saucepan aligns with the water inside the jar.

Heat the water in the saucepan, creating a gentle simmer.

This simmering process aids in extracting the flavorful oils from the coffee beans.

Step 4: Embrace Patience

Exercise a bit of patience during this step.

Stir the beans occasionally as you go about your morning routine.

After approximately 30 minutes, the water will undergo a magical transformation, gradually resembling the rich color of coffee.

Keep an eye (or rather, nose) out for that unmistakable aroma, signaling that you’re nearing coffee perfection.

Step 5: Strain and Sip

After an hour of anticipation, grab a strainer that comfortably fits over your chosen cup or bowl.

With caution (using hot pads or oven mitts), pour the coffee from the now-hot Mason Jar through the strainer into your cup or bowl.

The strainer acts as a filter, preventing any stray beans from joining your freshly brewed coffee.

How To Make Whole Bean Coffee With A Grinder

So, you’ve got your hands on some coffee beans and a grinder, and you’re ready to dive into the world of whole-bean coffee.

Here are two super straightforward ways to make your coffee game strong:

Hot Cup Method

  1. Prep Your Tools: Grab your trusty mug and measure out two tablespoons of ground coffee.
  2. Heat Things Up: Boil water and let it chill for about 30 seconds.
  3. Mix and Wait: Add the coffee to your hot water and let them mingle for two minutes. Give it a little stir, wait another two minutes, and voilà—your coffee is good to go.

Thermos French Press Trick

  1. Gather Your Gear: Find a thermos or any steeping container and measure out three tablespoons of ground coffee.
  2. Pour the water: Pour hot water over the ground beans, ensuring they get a good soaking.
  3. Let It Steep: Leave it to steep for about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Strain and Enjoy: After the steeping magic happens, strain your coffee using whatever method suits you—be it a fancy French press or a simple strainer. Pour it into your cup, and there you have it—a cup of whole-bean goodness ready to be savored.

Is Grinding Your Own Coffee Better?

In general, yes, it’s better to grind your own coffee beans.

Grinding your own coffee offers a myriad of advantages, making it a preferred choice for coffee enthusiasts.

Firstly, grinding coffee beans just before brewing preserves the freshness and flavor integrity, as ground coffee tends to lose its aromatic compounds and essential oils more rapidly than whole beans.

The ability to control the grind size is another significant benefit, allowing customization based on the chosen brewing method, be it a coarse grind for a French press or a fine grind for espresso.

Moreover, grinding your own coffee provides the opportunity to experiment with various bean varieties, origins, and roasts, contributing to a more personalized and diverse coffee experience.

While convenience is sacrificed compared to pre-ground coffee, the enhanced flavor profile and the satisfaction of being an active participant in the brewing process make grinding your own coffee worthwhile.

Can I Grind Coffee Beans Without A Grinder?

Yes, you can grind coffee beans without a grinder using alternative methods that, while unconventional, can get the job done.

One common approach is to use a blender or food processor, pulsing the beans until you achieve the desired grind consistency.

However, this method requires careful monitoring to avoid over-processing, which could lead to an uneven grind.

Another option is using a mortar and pestle, a manual and traditional way to grind coffee beans.

This method allows for more control over the grind size, but it can be time-consuming and physically demanding.

Additionally, some people resort to the improvised technique of placing the coffee beans in a sealed plastic bag and using a rolling pin or a heavy object to crush them, although achieving a uniform grind can be challenging.

While these alternatives can be effective in a pinch, investing in a quality grinder is generally recommended for a more consistent and convenient coffee grinding experience.

There are many great entry-level grinders available that are perfect for newbies and produce great results.

How Long Does Whole Bean Coffee Last For?

Whole bean coffee can maintain its freshness for approximately one year when stored in a sealed package or container, provided it remains unopened and is kept in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Once opened, roasted coffee beans can sustain their freshness for about a week, given they are stored in a cool, dark, and dry environment with minimal exposure to oxygen.

In contrast, ground coffee beans have a shorter shelf life and stay fresh for a few months when unopened but should be consumed within a few days once the package is opened.

Various factors, such as oxygen, light, moisture, and temperature, impact coffee freshness.

To ensure the longevity of whole bean coffee, it’s recommended to store it in an opaque, airtight container at room temperature, away from direct light and heat.

While the retail packaging may not be optimal for extended storage, investing in airtight storage canisters can help.

For the best flavor, consider purchasing smaller batches of freshly roasted coffee regularly—enough for one to two weeks—and grind the desired amount just before brewing to prevent oxidation and flavor loss.


You can absolutely make coffee using whole beans.

Grinding the beans just before brewing is a common practice to unlock the freshest flavors and aromas.

However, there are alternative methods for making coffee with whole beans without a grinder.

Techniques like steeping whole beans in hot water or using a French press can also yield a flavorful cup.

While grinding offers more control over the brewing process, experimenting with different whole-bean methods can still result in a satisfying and aromatic coffee experience.

Photo of author

Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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