Is It Cheaper To Buy Coffee Beans Or Ground?

Is It Cheaper To Buy Coffee Beans Or Ground

Please note: If you decide to purchase a product through a link on the site, we may earn a commission without additional cost to you. Learn More >

With coffee prices rising, many thrifty shoppers are looking at ways to stretch their weekly budget further. Unfortunately, coffee is one luxury that often takes a back seat when trying to cut down on spending.

However, you don’t need to ditch coffee entirely, and it is possible to save a considerable amount just by choosing pre-ground coffee rather than buying whole beans.

In this blog post, I delve a little deeper into the reasons. So If you want to know why pre-ground is a budget-friendly option, keep reading. The answers might surprise you.

Are Coffee Beans Cheaper Than Ground Coffee?

The short answer is no. Whole coffee beans are typically not going to be cheaper than ground coffee in most cases. So think again if you believe by grinding your own coffee at home you’ll save a few bucks; unfortunately, that’s not the case.

When you scour your local supermarket, you’ve probably noticed that the prices of pre-ground coffee tend to be slightly cheaper than whole beans; and there is a reason behind it.

But, don’t forget, whole coffee bean is always going to be the better option in terms of freshness and having complete control over your grind. But when push comes to shove, settling for a good pre-ground coffee that has been roasted recently is a great alternative when money is getting tight.

Why Is Whole Bean Coffee More Expensive?

Why Is Whole Bean Coffee More Expensive

So why is whole coffee bean more expensive? The manufacturer hasn’t used any additional resources grinding the beans, so what figures?

Whole bean coffee costs more because simply put, it’s just better coffee.

Since pre-ground coffee is already ground, it’s easy for producers to mix in lower-grade coffee beans and other coffee that doesn’t pass the quality control set out for whole beans.

Whole coffee beans are typically sourced from superior crops because it’s impossible to hide any defects in a bag of whole bean coffee.

And most coffee enthusiasts know how to spot a good quality whole bean, so it’s hard to conceal old, stale coffee beans.

Getting the coffee roasted and shipped out as soon as possible is a priority with whole coffee bean. There is a freshness window of about two to maybe three weeks for the whole bean coffee to be enjoyed at its peak.

Moving coffee and shipping it out this fast tends to increase the coffee price, which has to be passed on to the customers.

Remember, all the flavor compounds and oils are still locked inside the whole bean and are only released once ground – it’s like nature’s air-tight packing. And grinding directly before each brew is almost guaranteed a great-tasting cup.

Why Is Pre-Ground Coffee Cheaper?

Why Is Pre-Ground Coffee Cheaper

In comparison, pre-ground coffee has its protective layer removed, and by the time the coffee reaches you, it has lost almost all of its flavor compounds and aromatics.

Sure, you could get lucky and pick up a bag that has just been delivered to the stores directly from the roaster, but typically most bags and tins of pre-ground have been sitting on the shelves for months.

It doesn’t matter what type of coffee maker you use, the coffee taste and overall flavor are going to be noticeably bad.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that when you buy pre-ground, you’re putting a lot of trust in the company that they are actually adding 100% of the coffee they advertise on the packaging.

As I’ve mentioned, hiding inferior coffee inside a bag of grounds is very easy. Plus, there are also stories of cockroaches and bugs in the warehouses being ground in with the coffee. Yuk!

…And you think I’m joking.

Bugs and other insects are, in fact, so common the FDA has set an allowable level of “insect filth and insects” that is allowed to be in the coffee.

According to the FDA’s website, no more than 10% of the total coffee can be insect-infested or insect-damaged.

cockroaches in coffee

Obviously, that will be another point towards buying whole bean coffee.

You cant hide bugs inside a bag of whole bean coffee, but it’s very easy for one or two cockroaches to fall inside the commercial grinders and end up in the pre-ground bag.


If you’ve stuck to the end, you should have a better idea why pre-ground coffee is cheaper than buying whole bean coffee.

If you’re still scratching your head, here’s a brief summary.

In general, whole coffee beans tend to be of better quality than pre-ground, and if you want incredible quality, flavor, and aroma, then whole bean coffee is definitely the way to go.

Now that doesn’t mean that all pre-ground coffee is inherently flawed, and it’s possible to find a local small batch roaster who sells awesome-tasting pre-ground coffee beans at a reasonable price.

So, I want to make it clear that I’m not tarnishing all pre-ground with the same brush.

However, the truth is that commercial-grade supermarket ground coffee in bags and tins isn’t going to be the best quality. But, if you are on a tight budget, buying pre-ground will always be a better option than opting for instant coffee.

But whenever possible, reach for the whole bean and invest in a good burr grinder and grind just before using your coffee maker. Your future self will thank you.

🔥 Check out the latest discounts over at Volcanica Coffee. One of our favorite online specialty coffee roasters > Click Here

About The Author

Scroll to Top