coffee grounds / ground coffee

Discussion in 'English Only' started by serhatuygur, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. serhatuygur

    serhatuygur Senior Member

    Hello, I have come across such a sentence in the book that I'm reading and wondering, is coffee grounds synonymous with ground coffee in this context? Because, otherwise it wouldn't make any sense for a WW2 soldier to keep used coffee grounds in his grenade canister I suppose. Anyway I wanted to be sure, thank you for your help.


    A half hour later, at 0830, Gordon brewed himself a cup of coffee. He kept coffee grounds in his hand grenade canister, “and I’d melted the snow with my little gas stove, and I’d brewed up this lovely cup of coffee.”


    Source: Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  2. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Senior Member

    Cumbria, UK
    British English
    OED only uses "grounds" for residue. From the entry for "ground" (noun):
    a. In plural. The particles deposited by a liquid in the bottom of the vessel containing it; dregs, lees. †Also singular: a residuum, sediment.​

    However, several people on a stackexchange page used "grounds" (or "fresh grounds") to refer to ground coffee: Coffee terminology: Which is correct? Coffee grinds or grounds?
  3. serhatuygur

    serhatuygur Senior Member

    If some people whose mother tongue English use "grounds" to refer "fresh grounds/ground cofee", then I suppose my interpretation is correct. Otherwise, why would a soldier in the field keep used grounds in his grenade box while he has a chance to pour it out.

    Thank you very much for your help.
  4. dojibear

    dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    I think he kept ground coffee in the canister. I suppose it is possible to re-use grounds, but I'm not sure how many times, or how well it works. I haven't tried it.
  5. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    I think it's highly likely that, in wartime, coffee was hard to come by and the grounds were used several times - especially in the kind of conditions where you have to melt snow before you can even start to brew up.

    For me, "coffee grounds" definitely means "used ground coffee". I couldn't be 100% sure that this writer is using it in the same way.

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