Never buy ground coffee if you can get any other. The mere fact that after they have gone to the expense of the machinery and labor requisite for grinding it, the manufacturers can sell it cheaper per pound than grocers can the whole grains, roasted or raw, should convince every sensible person that it is adulterated with other and less expensive substances.
Be that as it may, coffee loses its aroma so rapidly after it is ground that it is worth your while to buy it whole, either in small quantities freshly roasted, or raw, and roast it yourself.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: Although not a “recipe” per se, this advice on the buying of coffee is so good, and in fact so entirely unchanged from that day to this, that we could not bear to omit it. We can only add that even whole-bean coffee is best bought from a local dealer who roasts it in-house if the ideal level of freshness is to be obtained.
Green coffee, if properly stored, lasts almost forever, but once roasted the condition begins to go downhill. Once ground, it falls over the cliff completely. Volatile oils, which are what gives coffee its taste and are what is brought out by roasting, are called that for a reason.