The answer is…
In short, yes it is possible to create French pressed coffee using coffee beans that were sold pre-ground. The process will work just about the same, but there will be a few drawbacks.
The drawback of preground coffee
First of all, most of the coffee that has already been ground up and packaged is meant for use in an automatic drip coffee maker. These auto drip coffeemakers use a paper filter that uses a much finer grind than anything that you would want to use with a French Press.
This is because the paper filter does not allow any grounds to get through, while a French Press uses a mesh filter that requires rather coarse grounds so none of them end up on top of the filter and make their way into your cup of coffee.
So, the first drawback is that you might end up with lots of solids and particles in your cup if you use pre-ground coffee with your French Press.
But, the drawbacks don’t stop there.
Since a French Press is usually considered one of the better ways to prepare a cup of coffee, it just doesn’t sit well with many French Press users to use pre-ground coffee since the freshness of the grounds can begin to deteriorate within just 20 minutes of grinding.
Yes, the packages that you buy at stores are specially built to allow just the right amount of air to circulate through the grounds and keep them fresh for a much longer period than that – but, there is no denying that pre-ground coffee that has been sitting on a store shelf is less fresh than moments after it went through the grinder.
The taste, aroma and fereshness deteriorate after grinding.
What about stores that have a grinder right in the coffee aisle?
Some stores have a large supply of whole bean coffee that you can put into a grinder and grind to the consistency of your choice. But, the problem here is that those whole beans may have been sitting in their containers for a number of weeks or even months. The dispensers that they sit in are not constructed for long-term storage but, unfortunately, these beans may sit in these dispensers for a long period of time.
What is the alternative?
Most French Press users will tell you that grinding your own beans in your home is the only way to go. Instead of buying pre-ground packages of coffee, think about buying whole bean coffee and then grinding it in your kitchen.
The cost is just about the same or sometimes even less. You can purchase a coffee grinder at a great price in most department stores. Or, you can even shop online and take out the hassle of driving around looking for a good price.
All you really need to do is buy whole bean coffee from the store. Even if a package of whole bean coffee has been sitting on the store shelf for as long as a package of pre-ground coffee, since it has not already been ground up, the aromas and flavors are still sitting in the bean.
After you buy the beans, just take them home and leave them in a cool dry place and use a coffee storage container until you are ready to grind them up and make your morning coffee with them.
Freshly ground beans are really the only way to go when you are a French Press user. Since you have already made the investment and bought your French Press, you might as well go all the way and start grinding your own beans.
It is not very difficult to do, and we have setup an easy to understand guide to get the perfect coffee grind. So, even if you have never ground up your own coffee beans before, just read over our article and you will be an expert in no time.