The importance of your grind
Coffee is an extremely personal ritual, subject to a dynamic list of flavor profiles, milks, brewing methods and more. For many drinkers, their daily brew is a detailed part of their morning routine, honed over a lifetime of experience and practice, and that’s why it’s so important to find what’s right for you. With so many options available - all subject to personal preference - figuring out what makes your perfect brew can be a complex process.
One significant, but often overlooked element to consider is the grind of your beans. We grind beans so that water may pass through them and make coffee, but the size of the grounds can have a significant impact on the final product.
The finer the grind, the more bitter the brew, while sour coffee is a sign your grind is too coarse. However, size isn't the only factor to consider when choosing your grind. To help you make sense of it all, we’ve broken down three aspects to consider for when searching for the perfect coffee.
1. Brewing method
Each size of grind is better for different brewing methods. This is because of the way grinds allow water to pass through and make coffee.
Grind sizes range from extra coarse to super fine. More finely ground beans have a greater surface area, so the coffee is extracted more quickly when water passes through. For example, French presses and cold brew are best with coarsely ground coffee, because they use an immersion method of brewing and coarse grinds prevent the coffee being over-extracted. Espresso machines need a finer grind as the water passes through quickly and at high pressure, so an increased surface area allows the water to extract maximum flavor. A good starting point for getting the best results from your coffee is matching your brewing method to your grind.
Check out the graphic at the top of this article to see which grind size suits your brewing method!
2. Grind method
At-home grinders come as either blades or burrs. Blade grinders are the most common, and work by chopping the beans with a blade. The drawback of a blade grinder is it can produce inconsistent grinds.
A burr grinder achieves a more even-sized grind by crushing the beans between two rough discs. This makes it easier to get a consistent flavor, so you know you’ll get it right every time.
Dark roasted beans are more soluble in water than lighter roasts, making extraction quicker and more intense. To avoid over extracting your coffee, try a slightly coarser grind on dark roasts.
The inverse is true for lighter roasts, which are denser and have a slightly higher moisture content. If you have a light roast, consider a finer grind to get the best flavor.
Tip: Once you’ve ground your coffee it’s best consumed within one to two weeks.