Coffee Grind Size: Why Is It Essential For The Perfect Cup
It is no secret that grind size could affect the taste of your coffee. For the perfect cup of coffee, grind size is an essential part.
Your final cup of coffee is influenced by a number of things. Even if you buy the best beans, use the right brewing technique, use the right coffee to water ratio, and use the right water temperature, you will miss out big time if you fail to grind your coffee before brewing.
What Is Grind Size In Coffee And Why Is It Important?
Coffee grounds can not be an under appreciated asset in your brewing process. Grind size of your coffee grounds is the most important factor in influencing the extraction. It's the technique of extracting flavors from coffee grinds and dissolving them in water. The perfect cup needs the proper coffee-to-water ratio, temperature, and brew time, but you also can’t overlook the grind size.
The more finely ground your coffee beans are, the more exposed surface area of the grounds is exposed, resulting in quicker extraction.
When you use the improper grind size, you might get either under-extraction or over-extraction.
Under-extraction is caused when your grinds are too coarse. If a cup of under-extracted coffee seems sour, acidic, or salty, you'll know that you need to do a finer grind the next time you brew to better balance the powerful flavors.
And what happens when your coffee is over-extracting? It’s because your grounds are excessively fine. Coffee that has been over-extracted is bland and harsh, with subdued flavors and no distinguishing characteristics.
When all of the taste notes are allowed to come out, you're striving for a balanced extraction that produces a sweet, well-rounded, and crisply acidic coffee flavor. That's where you want to be!
Still a little confused about making your perfect cup? Don’t you worry a thing? We’ve got you. Let’s take a look at this guide based on how you want your coffee to taste.
Okay, But Why Do I Need A Freshly Ground Coffee?
Why grind your beans at home? The main reason for this is that whole beans last longer than ground coffee. Whole roasted beans retain carbon dioxide, which prevents oxidation and staling, and may be stored at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Furthermore, when oxygen makes contact with the coffee grounds, the cells inside them break down, giving it a vibrant flavor. The coffee would be murky, flat, and soapy without it.
Most of the surface area of the beans are exposed to air after ground, causing the grounds to lose taste. Because ground coffee only lasts a few days, it's better to buy it in modest quantities.
Popular Coffee Grind Size
Extra Coarse - Coarse - Medium Coarse
1. Extra Coarse
Extra-coarse coffee grounds are only slightly ground, sometimes using the largest setting of a grinder. They have a gritty texture, and the original bean shape can still be seen.
Cold-brew and cowboy-style coffee are best made with this grind (coffee is boiled in a pan with the ground).
Large, flat lumps of coarse beans have a texture similar to Kosher or sea salt.
This grinder is ideal for use with a French press or a percolator.
3. Medium Coarse
The medium-coarse middle ground coffee has a gritty sand appearance and is perfect for use with a Chemex, Clever dripper, or a flat-bottom filter like the Kalita.
The most common grind size for pre-ground beans is a medium grind, which has a texture similar to sand. It is mostly utilized for drip coffee brewing techniques.
Medium Fine - Fine - Extra Fine
1. Medium Fine
The texture of medium-fine beans is just slightly finer than sand.
With a brew duration of two to three minutes, a medium-fine grind is ideal for use in cone-shaped filters.
The texture of finely ground beans is incredibly fine, almost powdery. This grind is often commonly referred to as an espresso grind and may be found in pre-ground bags.
For espresso machines, this grind is a requirement. It also works in AeroPress with a one to two-minute build time.
3. Extra Fine
An extra-fine grind resembles flour and is mostly used to make Turkish coffee.
Coffee Grind Size Chart
Cold brews, cowboy coffee
French press, percolator
0.8 - 0.7
Cafe solo brewer, Chemex brewer
0.6 - 0.7
Pour Over cones
Espresso, Moka pot, Aeropress
Grinds Size And The Brewing Methods
For a better explanation of the coffee grind size chart above here is the recommended grind size of each of your favorite coffee
1. French Press grind size
Because the taste of the beans is not filtered away when using a French press, the brew is powerful, delicious, and robust. A coarse grind is best for French brewers, which have a thick texture similar to sea salt. This will prevent the coffee from brewing too much or becoming too cloudy. Steep time for the french press is ideally 4 minutes.
2. Cold-brew grind size
Cold-brew usually works best at an extra coarse grind, which is the largest setting of the grinder. This is because it is brewed for a long time at a low temperature. Allowing grinds to soak overnight is a simple and efficient cold brew method that takes some planning ahead of time. The steeping time is around 12 hours or overnight.
3. Aeropress grind size
For a cup of AeroPress coffee, you'll want a medium fine to fine grind, depending on how long you brew. For single-serve espresso, the Aeropress is a reliable, portable, and efficient option. 30 seconds to 1 minute is the appropriate steep time.
4. Espresso grind size
Espresso is a flexible brewing technique that can be used to make a variety of coffee beverages, but it also tastes fantastic on its own. For espresso, you'll want finely ground coffee beans. Espresso quickly pushes the water through the beans, so you need a fine grind for strong shots. The steep duration for espresso is 20 to 30 seconds.
5. Chemex brewer grind size
Chemex is well-known for producing delicious, fragrant, and grit-free coffee. Chemex brewers work best at medium coarse grinds with a coarse grain-like texture. The steeping period is between 3.5 and 4.5 minutes.
6. Drip coffee maker grinds size
Drip coffee machines have been a household mainstay for the past century or more. They're efficient, simple to use, and can brew big quantities at once. Drip coffee makers generally work best with medium grinds that are similar to fine grains and need about 5 minutes of steep time.
7. Cowboy coffee grind size
Cowboy coffee is as rough and gruff as the name implies, but it's also exceedingly simple and inexpensive to brew. The consistency can range from extra coarse to coarse/ While boiling, the steep duration is 4 minutes.
8. Percolator coffee grind size
Percolator coffee has been around since 1753, so it has a timeless appeal and is a cost-effective way. It needs a coarse grind with a consistency that is somewhat finer than extra coarse and should have the appearance of Kosher salt. The steeping period ranges from 7 to 10 minutes.
9. Moka pot coffee grind size
A Moka pot, similar to an espresso maker, requires a fine grind size. The consistency of a fine grind should be similar to that of sugar. While Moka pots don't generate espresso, they do produce a more powerful brew that's similar to espresso, allowing at-home baristas to prepare espresso drinks for a fraction of the price. Steep time is around 3 - 4 minutes.
Now that we’ve established our knowledge about coffee grind size, the question is how do you achieve such a thing? Now, now, you need to pick your weapon. There are two types of grinders based on how they chopped the beans, which are blade grinder and burr grinder. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of those grinders.
Blade vs Burr Grinder: Which one to use?
The most frequent and less expensive type of coffee grinder is the blade grinder. It operates by cutting beans with a blade, similar to how a small food processor might.
But if you call yourself a professional coffee maker, you should probably stop using this grinder. A blade grinder's disadvantage is that it produces coffee particles of various sizes; while grinding beans to a medium or coarse texture, some particles will undoubtedly become fine and powdery.
Can you imagine the disasters of having different-sized coffee beans? Yup, you got it. The extraction rates will vary, resulting in a cup with an inconsistent flavor. Furthermore, the blade's contact generates heat, which might harm the beans' taste.
Instead of using blades to cut the beans, a burr grinder (also known as a burr mill) smashes them between two rough discs known as burrs. Because the particle size is determined by the distance between the burrs, this approach gives a more consistent consistency.
There are three types of burr grinders: the old-fashioned manual grinder (which looks like a hand-cranked pepper mill), the electric flat burr grinder (more adjustable; popular for commercial usage), and the electric conical burr grinder (for home use).
The only downside of burr grinders is that they are more expensive than a blade grinder.
Electric or Manual?
While there are some that insist on grinding their beans by hand with a manual grinder, there are many electric grinders on the market that can perform the same job in a fraction of the time. How can you tell which one is best for you?
The decision between manual and electric grinders is based on your needs. Manual grinders are perfect for brewers like the Aeropress or pour-over, even if they take a bit longer. If you choose the manual method, make sure the grinder has a burr grinder to ensure that the coffee particles are constant and unaffected by heat or friction.
An automated grinder, on the other hand, maybe worth the expenditure if you make a lot of coffee, especially if you're mostly brewing espresso. It's simpler to produce a constant fine and powdery grind using an automated grinder, which is essential if you want to enjoy superb espresso.
How Often Should I Grind My Coffee In Order To Keep It Fresh?
For the best flavor, grind the coffee every time you brew it. Because coffee loses its taste after approximately 15 minutes of grinding, it's best to grind only as much as you need right before brewing to keep it fresh.
Coffee grind size affects largely how your coffee tastes. Which is also related to which coffee do you want to make. More finely ground coffee beans mean there is a more exposed surface area of the grounds exposed, resulting in quicker extraction.
There are 7 popular grind sizes, which are extra coarse, coarse, medium coarse, medium, medium fine, fine, and extra fine. Extra coarse beans are used in cold brew coffee and cowboy coffee. Coarse coffee with textures that resemble coarse sea salt are used such as in french pressed and percolator coffee. Medium coarse with textures resembling Kosher salt is used in Chemex coffee. Medium grind coffee beans are used in drip pot coffee and resemble the textures of beach sand.
Medium fine has textures of table salt and is ideally used to make pour-over cones coffees. Fine-grind coffee beans with the textures of fine granulated sugar are used in Espresso, Aeropress, and a Moka pot. Extra fine coffee which means there are a lot of coffee surfaces to extract resembles flour and is used in Turkey coffee.
The grinder is also important, seeing as blade grinder is a “danger” personified because it will create an uneven bean size even if it is cheaper than burr grinder–which produces a balanced and same grind size.
You need only to grind the amount of coffee that you need to brew immediately because freshly ground coffee will taste better–especially if you brew it under 15 minutes after you grind it.
Also read: Learn How to Brew Drip Bag Coffee Easily!