Do you want to know how to grind coffee like a pro? Does the way you grind your coffee really matter? Believe it or not…yes, it does!
Extra Course. Medium. Medium-Fine. Extra Fine. Even the best beans can make for a less-than-stellar cup when you use the wrong grind. That’s because how you grind your coffee goes a long way toward determining the final flavors which emerge in your morning (or afternoon) caffeine hit. Sound complicated? No need to fret. We’ve broken down the basics you need to know to craft an ideal brew.
Basics of the Grind
The grinding process releases the oils and flavors within the roasted coffee bean, which are then drawn out (and into your cup) during brewing. For this reason, the best brews result from using fresh beans, ground in a clean, high-quality grinder.
Selecting a Grinder
The two main types of grinders are the blade and the burr.
Blade grinders use spinning metal blades to chop the coffee beans. Your grind is determined by how long you let the blades spin. Unfortunately getting a consistent grind with a blade grinder is difficult, meaning that flavor extraction during brewing won’t be consistent.
Burr grinders cut the coffee beans from both sides between two opposing burrs. The result is a more consistent grind throughout, and thus, a better flavor when you brew. (Note: True burr grinders don’t come remotely as cheaply as blade grinders.)
The Perfect Grind for Your Perfect Cup
The type of grind you choose should depend on the kind of brew you want to make. Below, we show you visuals of the different kinds of grinds (using a 21.21 millimeters diameter coin for size reference), along with the kind of coffee which goes best with each.
The extra course grind is best for cold brewed coffee: Place your ground coffee in the bottom of a carafe, and cover with cold water (1:8 coffee-to-water ratio). Combine the grounds with a water, then cover your carafe, let steep for 18-24 hours, and then strain to remove the grounds.
Coarsely ground coffee is best for French Press coffee: Add your ground coffee to the carafe section of your French Press. Boil water, then let it sit for one minute to reduce the temperature, slightly. Add the water to the grounds (fill up to the bottom of the top metal bar) and stir. Place the top of the French Press onto the carafe but do not depress the plunger. Wait 4 minutes, and then press the plunger all the way to the bottom of the carafe.
Medium-Coarse ground coffee is best for Chemex and FLTRgo coffee systems: Rinse your filter with warm water and get rid of any excess. Add your ground coffee to the filter. Boil water, then let sit for 30 seconds. Pour a small quality of hot water over the grounds (just enough to saturate them). Wait another 30 seconds. Then, carefully add the rest of your hot water, pouring in a circular motion.
Medium ground coffee is best for traditional drip coffee-maker machines. We’re pretty sure you know how to do this…but just in case: add your grounds to the filter, fill up the machine’s water reservoir, and press the “go” button!
Medium grind coffee is best for Syphon Brewers, and Pour-over cones: For a step-by-step tutorial on how to make syphon brewed coffee, you can head over here. To make coffee using a pour-over cone, place a paper filter inside the cone, and add your grounds. Then, add a little hot water and stir the grounds. Finally, add the rest of your water, and cover the top of the filter until all the water has passed through the grounds.
Finely ground coffee is best for Espresso: Most of us won’t make expresso using a expresso machine at home, but for those who want to give it a whirl, you can find a tutorial over here. For those using an Italian-style stovetop espresso maker, simply fill the bottom chamber with cold water, and add your grounds to the bottom chamber filter. Then, screw the bottom chamber onto the top, pot part of the machine. Place the coffee maker onto the stove and wait for brewing to occur (the coffee will fill the top chamber).
Extra Finely ground coffee is best for Turkish coffee: Fill your ibrik (the coffee pot) 2/3 of the way full with water. Add your grounds on top (enough to create a seal). Place the pot on the stove. When the water boils, it the coffee will begin to foam (if the grounds go straight to boil, you didn’t add enough). Allow foaming to occur 2-3 times before removing from the heat.
Coffee grounds photos courtesy of https://ineedcoffee.com/.