The internet will tell you itself, there are about a million different ways to make the “perfect cup of coffee”. It’s really all up to you, because your taste buds are unique. We just want to help you find your own way, without telling you what to do.
You might be thinking, “coffee grounds can’t be THAT particular, you just grind them and go, right?” oh, but they can. Every step of the coffee-making process plays an important role in how your coffee comes out to be exactly how you want it. From the water quality and temperature, to time spent steeping, it’s important to make everything count. To see our last blog post, on selecting the right roast color for you, click here.
Now, let’s go over a couple of the basics of coffee grinding, shall we?
1. Grind Size
In general, a finer grind will produce a more intense brew and a coarser grind will produce a less intense brew. At the same time, a grind that is too fine will produce an over-extracted, astringent brew, and a grind that is too coarse will produce a weak, under-extracted brew lacking flavor. Again, it really all depends on how you like your coffee. So play around with some different sizes, maybe try something in-between fine and course, and see what you prefer.
COARSE (looks like Kosher or sea salt)
Cold Brew Coffee, French Press, Percolator, Coffee Cupping
MEDIUM (looks like sand particles)
Pour-over Brewers, Auto-Drip Coffee Machines, Aeropress (with 3+ minute brew time)
FINE (looks a bit finer than granulated sugar)
Espresso, Moka Pot (Stovetop Espresso Maker), Aeropress (with 1 minute brew time)
The size of the grounds should be consistent or uniform, meaning you don’t want to see large bits and super tiny bits in your grind. The reason: it is easier for smaller particles to become water soluble than larger ones. If there is a wide variety in the size of the particles in your coffee grinds, there will be a wide variety in the extraction time of your brew. The more consistent your grind size, the easier it is to extract the full flavor from your brewed coffee.
Now that we’ve got the basics covered, the next step is how to get the best grind with the supplies that you have.
How to grind your coffee
Burr grinders are made of two burred plates with ridges that draw in and crush / grind the beans to a uniform size. This is what the pros use, and with good reason. Burr grinders deliver the most consistent grind with the least amount of work on your part. Just fill up the hopper, turn the dial to your desired grind setting, and turn it on. A burr grinder will cost between $60 — $250 depending on what features it comes with.
While not ideal, a blade grinder will do a fine job if you put in a little effort. The first thing to remember is to pulse grind. Don’t grind all the coffee beans needed for your brew at once, instead, grind smaller quantities and pause regularly to shake the grinder. This will loosen all the bits and help you get a more uniform grind.
Take your blade grind to the next level: Got a sieve?
Sift the grounds through your sieve until you are left with just the large pieces. Then grind those large bits again until you are left with just medium and small grinds.
Pro-tip: Use a paper towel to get rid of the ‘fines’
‘Fines’ is coffee lingo for the tiniest powdery particles in ground coffee. Too many fines will leave your coffee tasting bitter and over-extracted. A nifty trick to get rid of them is to dump all of your grinds onto a paper towel and then rub them down into the paper towel with your fingers. A few passes is all it will take. Then gently transfer the grinds onto a plate (or right into your brewer). This will trap the powdery fines on the paper towel, leaving you with the best (most uniform and consistent) grind possible from a blade grinder.
Well, you’re on your own now! Not really, though, because we’re here for you if you’ve got any questions for us. Have fun, experiment with the supplies in your kitchen, and good luck on your journey to the “perfect cup”.