By: Halacha Yomis Team of OU KOSHER
May one brew a cup of coffee on Shabbos using pre-ground coffee?
Ground coffee is made from roasted coffee beans. Rav Ovadya Yosef zt”l (Yabia Omer OC 8:35) writes that roasted coffee beans are considered edible. This is also the opinion of many other poskim including Ginas Veradim (3:3), Rav Yaakov Emden (Mor U’ketzia 495) and Chasam Sofer (OC 74). However, not all poskim agree with this. For example, Pri Megadim (Aishel Avrohom 253:41) writes that although coffee beans are roasted, they are not fully edible. Yabia Omer cites other poskim that are also strict regarding this matter.
If we accept that coffee grounds are edible, there is a basis to be lenient to brew coffee on Shabbat because “ain bishul achar bishul” (there is no prohibition to cook foods which have already been cooked). However, this principle may not apply to ground coffee because Rav Eliezer Mimitz (1140-1237) maintains that “yesh bishul achar afia”, one may not cook roasted foods on Shabbat in hot water since dry roasting and cooking in liquid are two different forms of food preparation. This concern applies to coffee beans, since the beans were originally roasted and now will be brewed. There are other poskim who do not accept the position of Rav Eliezer Mimitz. The Shulchan Oruch (OC 318:5) appears to be inclined to follow the lenient opinion, while the Rama rules in favor of the more stringent view. Rav Ovadya Yosef concludes that Sefardim may pour hot water from a kli rishon onto roasted coffee beans, while Ashkenazim may only pour from a kli sheini (secondary utensil that was never heated on the fire). However, Aruch Hashulchan (OC 318:28) forbids preparing coffee on Shabbat even in a kli shelishi. This seems to be the opinion of Mishnah Berurah (318:39) as well, possibly because he does not consider coffee beans to be fully cooked. As noted in a previous Halacha Yomis, Igros Moshe disagrees with the Aruch Hashulchan and does not think any food can be cooked in a kli shelishi. Therefore, he would certainly permit brewing coffee with a kli shelishi.
According to poskim that consider roasted coffee beans to be fully cooked – Ashkenazim may brew coffee on Shabbat by pouring from a kli sheini, and Sefardim may possibly do so even from a kli rishon.
According to poskim that consider roasted coffee beans not fully cooked – they may not be brewed on Shabbat. However, Igros Moshe permits brewing in a kli shelishi.