Can You Brew Coffee Using Whole Beans in a Coffee Maker?

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Close up image of whole coffee beans and a coffee maker.
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Close up image of whole coffee beans and a coffee maker.


Are you a coffee lover wondering if it’s possible to brew coffee using whole beans instead of the traditional ground variety? Fact is, brewing coffee with whole beans can yield an exceptional cup of joe.

This in-depth guide will walk you through the process of making delicious, full-flavored coffee using unground beans, right at home. Ready to embark on this flavorful journey? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Brewing coffee with whole beans in a coffee maker can result in a more flavorful and aromatic cup of coffee compared to using pre-ground coffee.
  • To brew with whole beans, measure the desired amount of beans, grind them (optional), add water to the reservoir, place a filter in the basket, and add the whole beans. Start the brewing process according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Alternative methods for brewing coffee with whole beans include the French press method, steeping method, and double boiler method.
  • Proper storage of whole beans is important for preserving their flavor and freshness. Whole beans have a longer shelf life compared to ground coffee. Grinding your own beans before brewing ensures maximum freshness and flavor.

Brewing Coffee with Whole Beans in a Coffee Maker

To brew coffee with whole beans in a coffee maker, start by measuring the desired amount of beans and adding them to the filter basket.

Why make coffee with whole beans?

Choosing to brew coffee with whole beans can significantly enhance the flavor of your morning cup. Whole beans are known for preserving the rich, natural flavors and aroma longer than pre-ground coffee.

The moment a bean is ground up, the essential oils that carry its distinctive taste start to evaporate. Therefore, by using whole beans and grinding them just before brewing, you can capture those precious oils that result in a richer tasting coffee.

Furthermore, having control over the grind size also allows you to adjust it according to your brewing method which directly impacts the extraction process and ultimately your cup’s flavor profile.

So while brewing with whole beans may require extra effort compared to using pre-ground ones, it certainly pays off through an elevated coffee experience.

Steps for brewing coffee with whole beans

To brew coffee with whole beans in a coffee maker, follow these steps:

  1. Measure: Start by measuring the desired amount of whole coffee beans based on your preferred strength and taste. A general guideline is to use 1 to 2 tablespoons of whole beans for every 6 ounces of water.
  2. Grind (optional): If you have a grinder, grind the whole beans to your desired coarseness. This step is optional, as you can also brew with whole unground beans.
  3. Add water: Pour hot water into the coffee maker’s reservoir according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure the water reaches the appropriate level for your desired number of cups.
  4. Place the filter: Insert a paper or reusable filter into the designated slot or basket of your coffee maker.
  5. Add whole beans: If you didn’t grind the beans, simply place them directly into the filter. If you prefer a stronger brew, consider using slightly more whole beans than usual.
  6. Brew: Start the brewing process according to your coffee maker’s instructions. It may take longer than usual for the coffee to drip through, as whole beans take longer to extract flavor compared to pre-ground coffee.
  7. Serve and enjoy: Once brewed, pour yourself a cup of freshly brewed coffee made from whole beans. Savor the rich aroma and robust flavor that comes from using whole unground beans.

Advantages of using whole beans

Using whole beans for brewing coffee has several advantages. First and foremost, whole beans retain their flavors and aromas much better than pre-ground coffee. When you grind the beans right before brewing, you release all of their natural oils and flavors into your cup of coffee, resulting in a more robust and flavorful brew.

Using whole beans allows you to control the grind size according to your preference. Whether you prefer a coarse grind for French press or a fine grind for espresso, grinding your own beans gives you the flexibility to achieve the perfect consistency for your desired brewing method.

Finally, using whole beans allows you to experiment with different bean varieties and origins, giving you a wide range of flavor profiles to explore in your quest for the perfect cup of coffee.

Alternative Methods for Brewing Coffee with Whole Beans

French press method

The French press method is a popular alternative for brewing coffee with whole beans. Here’s how you can use this method:

  • Start by heating water to the desired brewing temperature.
  • Coarsely grind your whole coffee beans, ensuring that they are evenly ground.
  • Add the ground coffee to the French press, using about 1 tablespoon of coffee for every 4 ounces of water.
  • Pour hot water over the grounds and let it steep for about 4 minutes.
  • Gently stir the mixture and then place the plunger firmly on top of the French press to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee.
  • Slowly press down on the plunger to filter out any remaining particles.
  • Pour your freshly brewed coffee into a cup or carafe and enjoy.

Steeping method

To brew coffee with whole beans without a coffee maker, you can use the steeping method. This technique involves immersing the beans in hot water and allowing them to steep for a period of time to extract the flavors. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Measure out your desired amount of whole beans and coarsely grind them using a grinder or mortar and pestle.
  2. Place the ground beans into a heatproof container or French press.
  3. Heat water to just below boiling point.
  4. Slowly pour the hot water over the ground beans, making sure they are fully submerged.
  5. Stir gently to ensure all the grounds are saturated with water.
  6. Place a lid on the container or French press and let it steep for about 4 – 5 minutes.
  7. After steeping, slowly plunge down on the French press or strain out the liquid from the container using a fine sieve.
  8. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

Double boiler method

To brew coffee with whole beans in a coffee maker, you can also use the double boiler method. This involves using two pots, one larger and one smaller, to create indirect heat for brewing. Here are the steps for using the double boiler method:

  • Fill the larger pot with water and place it on the stovetop over medium heat.
  • Place the smaller pot inside the larger pot, making sure it is not touching the bottom of the larger pot.
  • Measure out your desired amount of whole beans and add them to the smaller pot.
  • Allow the water in the larger pot to come to a simmer, creating steam that will heat up the smaller pot and brew the coffee.
  • Keep an eye on both pots as you want to maintain a steady simmer without boiling or overheating.

Considerations for Using Whole Beans in a Coffee Maker

See how you can make the most out of whole beans in your coffee maker!

Storing whole beans

Properly storing whole beans is crucial to preserving their flavor and freshness. To keep your beans at their best, store them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. It’s best to keep them in an airtight container to prevent moisture or air exposure that can cause the beans to go stale.

Avoid storing them in the refrigerator or freezer as this can alter the flavor of the coffee. Whole beans have a shelf life of about 2-4 weeks after they have been roasted, so it’s important to use them within this timeframe for optimal taste.

By taking care in how you store your whole beans, you can ensure that each cup of coffee is full of rich and aromatic flavors.

Shelf life of whole beans

Whole beans have a longer shelf life compared to ground coffee. When stored properly in an airtight container, whole beans can last up to several months. This is because the outer shell of the bean acts as a protective barrier, preserving the flavors and aromas inside.

The quality of the coffee may start to degrade over time, so it’s best to use them within a few weeks for optimal flavor. By grinding your own beans just before brewing, you can ensure that you’re getting the freshest cup possible.

Benefits of grinding your own beans

Grinding your own beans has several benefits when it comes to brewing coffee. First and foremost, grinding your beans right before brewing ensures maximum freshness and flavor. As soon as the beans are ground, they begin to lose their aroma and taste, so grinding them just before use preserves the full integrity of the coffee.

Additionally, grinding your own beans gives you more control over the size of the grounds, allowing you to customize the brew for different methods such as espresso or drip coffee.

By having a grinder at home, you can experiment with different grind sizes to find your perfect cup of coffee. So if you’re looking to elevate your coffee experience and enjoy a truly fresh and flavorful brewinvesting in a grinder is definitely worth considering.


Brewing coffee with whole beans in a coffee maker is indeed possible. While it may require more time and effort compared to using pre-ground coffee, the result is a flavorful cup of coffee that can rival any cafe-bought brew.

Whether you choose to use alternative methods like French press or steeping, or stick to traditional brewing techniques, grinding your own beans and using fresh whole beans can greatly enhance the taste of your morning cuppa.

So go ahead and give it a try – you might just discover a new way to enjoy your favorite beverage!


Can I use whole coffee beans in a regular coffee maker?

Yes, you can use whole coffee beans in a regular coffee maker. However, you will need to grind the beans before brewing them to ensure proper extraction and flavor.

Do I need a special coffee maker for whole beans?

No, you do not need a special coffee maker for whole beans. Any standard coffee maker can be used as long as you have a grinder to grind the beans beforehand.

What grind size should I use for brewing with whole beans?

The appropriate grind size depends on the type of coffee maker you are using. For most drip or pour-over brewers, a medium grind is recommended. Espresso machines require a fine grind, while French press requires a coarse grind.

How do I store whole coffee beans for optimal freshness?

To maintain optimal freshness, store your whole coffee beans in an airtight container away from light, heat, and moisture. It is best to buy smaller quantities of whole beans and only grind what you need for each brew to preserve their flavor and aroma.

About the Author:
Sophia Lewis, a travel blogger with a focus on global coffee cultures, explores coffee traditions from Colombia to Turkey. Her expertise lies in understanding the cultivation, brewing, and enjoyment of coffee in different cultures. Through articles, travel vlogs, and tastings, Sophia brings a global perspective to coffee, emphasizing ethical and sustainable practices, and invites readers to join her community of global coffee enthusiasts.