One of the first coffee devices people get after using a coffee pot for any significant amount of time is a coffee grinder. In many cases the first grinder is a blade grinder that doesn’t cost a lot but we recommend anyone out there to look at least to the low end burr grinders. For those on a budget the manual burr grinders will do just fine.
Why is that?
Well freshly ground coffee is simply far superior to pre-ground coffee. The whole beans stay fresh roughly three times as long as ground coffee so you can be sure that when you go to make a pot it will not taste old and stale.
Of course if you use a blade grinder you will get fresh coffee but an uneven extraction rate meaning some grounds will over extract and some will under extract but on the whole at least the coffee will be fresh.
In fact if you look at sites that sell coffee grinders like http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com, or http://www.wholelattelove.com (just to name a couple) they will all tell you that the more money you pay for an electric grinder the more consistent the grind will be and the better the flavor of coffee will be.
Why is freshly ground coffee better?
Because when you buy pre-ground coffee you are buying beans that have been ground (consistently inmost cases) a long time ago. Even in a sealed package the aging process has begun and even the best brewing technique will not result in coffee worth bragging about.
If you own your own device at home it is really easy to buy really good whole coffee beans in bulk. This saves you money over buying smaller batches, and then you can grind exactly what you need when you need it. The better the machine the better the coffee will taste too.
Another Passing Thought: Have you ever gone into a coffee roaster’s shop and bought a bag of coffee. They almost always sell it in bags of whole beans. This is because they have gone through the trouble of selecting high quality beans and roasting them with precision to create their desired (perfect) blend. By selling it in a pre-ground state they know you will be making inferior cups of coffee with it.
Usually any of these shops will grind it for you if you ask but the stuff on the shelves is almost always whole bean. By buying whole bean coffee you actually make it easier on yourself. It becomes easier to buy good coffee. Basically you open up new doors for exploration and enjoyment.