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EC: Blue Bottle Coffee Co. Launches Packaged Ground Coffee
Credit: Photos by Clay McLachlan

The folks at Oakland-based Blue Bottle Coffee Co. are obsessed with freshness. Its founder, James Freeman, has claimed that he would only sell coffee that had spent less than 48 hours out of the roaster. That’s why, for the last 14 years, it’s only sold its product, “the best coffee you may ever drink,” according to Fortune, as whole beans, or freshly brewed at one of its locations in the United States and Japan. Now, Blue Bottle says it’s figured out a way to sell the stuff pre-ground without sacrificing flavor, quality, or freshness. Today, the company launches Blue Bottle Perfectly Ground, which it promises “tastes like it was ground just moments ago” for six months. Time to say goodbye to those crazy three-hour lines and buy some Blue Bottle ground coffee.

How’d they do it? The secret, they say, is the packaging. Last year, Blue Bottle acquired subscription service Perfect Coffee and enlisted its founder, Apple and Shutterfly veteran Neil Day, to incorporate the technology he perfected for hermetically sealing just-ground coffee. They were skeptical when Perfect Coffee first approached them with their innovation in 2013, according to a company report, as a lot of other technologies had promised to “preserve freshness, only to fall flat in the cup.” But after “about two bazillion” tests and tastings against freshly ground samples, they were convinced the process worked.

“Each time, our own findings surprised us: Perfect Coffee was routinely performing as well as the freshly ground samples—and, much to our surprise, often surpassing them. It was, well, perfect,” the report claims.

The problem with most ground coffee, according to Blue Bottle press release, is that oxidation makes the coffee stale. Blue Bottle Perfectly Ground, however, “stops this process at the moment of coffee’s peak deliciousness through packaging that completely removes and blocks oxygen from reaching the coffee.” The result, Blue Bottle finds, is comparable to what you’d get from a professional-grade grinder and tastes better than anything you’d be able to grind at home yourself.

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Pre-weighed for single servings, Blue Bottle Perfectly Ground is available in Three Africas, Giant Steps, Bella Donovan, and Decaf Noir roasts, as well as a rotating assortment of single-origin coffees. It is also available in varieties optimized for the brew method of your choosing, including pour over, French press, AeroPress, and coffee maker. A pack of five servings costs $17.50.