Coffee: good to the last drop! But Only if you use the proper grind size for your brew method.
In fact, the coffee bean grind size can really mess with the final taste of your coffee.
That’s right. Even if you've found the perfect bean and have the rest of the pieces to the process lined up to make yourself a killer cup of joe, the coffee grind can mess it all up.
In this article, I give you all the information you need to avoid ruining your coffee brew, including a definitive coffee grind size guide.
How to Grind Coffee Beans
The coffee bean you choose is important, but so is how you grind your coffee when you're trying to brew the perfect cup of joe.
In order to get the perfect grind, here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Grind as Needed: You should always grind your beans fresh! You don’t want your coffee to get stale. Ground beans to go stale a lot more quickly than whole beans. Just make sure to store your beans properly in an airtight canister for longer shelflife. And when you're ready to make a cup, grind your coffee beans to order.
- Consistency Matters: Your coffee grind consistency is key and dependent on the coffee brewing method you're going to use. (see Grinds Size Chart Below).
- Measure Once, Drink Twice: Ensuring you are using just the right amount of coffee to water ratio will have a serious impact on the quality of your brew, about 1:3 for a standard cup of coffee, or about 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per 6 ounces of water.
- Choose Your Grinding Method: There are many ways you can get your beans ground. You can use a grinder specifically designed for coffee beans. As the next best thing, if you don't have a grinder, you can generally ask your local roaster or coffee shop to grind your coffee beans for you. I'd buy small batch coffee beans if this is the case.
Does Coffee Grind Size Matter?
I know we have all heard that size doesn’t matter but when you are trying to craft the perfect cup of coffee it most definitely does.
The wrong grind can end in tragedy and an unexpected, not yet ready for the world mad dash to the local drive-thru just to make sure you get your day started with your much-needed caffeine fix!
Here's why you should care about coffee grind size:
- The larger the surface of the grind the higher the extraction rate.
- The larger the surface the finer the grind
- The bigger the rate of extraction is the less time needed to brew otherwise known as contact time
- The finer the grind the less water that flows throw it which means a stronger flavor because of the extended contact time.
Armed with this information you then can decide how fine a grind you need for the specific taste you like and the method you use.
Keeping things percolating it is time to look at what grind size is good for a few of the most popular types of coffee and methods of brewing.
What is The Difference Between Course and Fine Ground Coffee
Finding the right coffee grind is key, but how do you tell the difference between a coarse ground and a fine ground coffee?
Here are some distinctive qualities of each:
- Clear chunks of coffee beans still visible
- Looks like Kosher salt
- Visible coffee bean flakes
- Looks like beach sand
- No visible flakes
- Looks like table salt
Extra Fine Grind
- Super powdery
- Looks like flour
Watch this video to learn if you're grinding your coffee beans all wrong, and what to do about it:
Coffee Grind Size Chart
You now know the difference in grinds, but which coffee grind size is good for each brewing method or style of coffee?
Use the below grind size chart to determine how course or fine you should grind your coffee beans based on your brew or filter method:
No matter the grind size, grinding your coffee beans always starts with the right tool for the job and that means choosing the right coffee grinder.
After all, without the proper tool, you may never be able to achieve the perfect grind and end up with a bad taste in your mouth.
When it comes to styles you have a wide variety of choices but there are two that benefit the most from making sure you have the right size of coffee grounds, Turkish and Espresso.
An extra fine grind almost the consistency of flour is perfect to brew you up to a nice thick, rich cup of Turkish coffee.
No need for filters and you may need a specialty grinder to produce a coffee grind as superfine as this.
Brewed through a pressure method means that the contact time is short when brewing a cup of Espresso.
So much like Turkish coffee a fine grind is better, but be cautious as too fine is just as bad as not fine enough for espresso.
A cousin to the French press, the AeroPress is a single serve manual coffee maker. The best grind size for this method is medium (sea salt) to fine (table salt).
The size you choose will affect everything from taste to contact time to pressure needed to push the plunger.
A finer grind will yield a shorter brew time and need more pressure to push the plunger down.
Pressure forces the water into a heated chamber that holds your grinds in this brewing method.
If you are using a siphon brewer, the best grind size is a medium-fine one.
The siphon brewers usually use some sort of filter so you will not have to worry with grinds ending up in your final brew.
The grind size you choose for this depends on which of the pour over systems you use (i.e. Chemex or Bee House) you use.
But a good rule of thumb is to make sure your grind is somewhere between medium and medium fine.
Most pour over coffee systems will give you a recommended grind. Start there and then adjust to your tastes.
Also known as a stove top espresso maker, the Moka pot uses steam to move the water through the coffee grounds that are housed in a basket.
This is a quick brew and works best with a medium grind. But as with many of the methods, there are different Moka Pot models so finding the perfect grind may take a little experimentation.
The single-cup makers like Keurig are a basic drip brew system. They need medium to medium fine ground beans for the best results.
K-cups are pre-packaged anyway, but some pod machines have reusabel pods for your own coffee grounds.
This is the type of brewing method most restaurants and coffee shops use. The ability to make large quantities make this a very appealing option for large families or events.
With this method of brewing finding the right grind can be tricky. With a wide range of potential grinds from medium coarse to medium-fine, it can be difficult to determine which size will work for your needs.
The best way to decide is to pay close attention to the filter shaped. For instance, if you are using a flat bottom filter then a medium grind to a medium-course grind is fine. If your filter is cone shaped you can get away with a finer grind.
Immersion is the key to the effectiveness of the classic French Press.
Coffee is steeped in hot water for a specific amount of time and then strained out to craft the perfect cup of morning fuel.
So, this is one of the few brewing methods where a coarse grind is a way to go. Having a larger grind will keep you from having leftover coffee particles swimming in your cup after you plunge and strain your brew.
One of the “new” trendier concepts in coffee brewing is the cold brew phenomenon.
This method takes a little longer and uses cold water to extract the sweet caffeinated nectar from your coffee grounds.
For this method, a coarse or extra coarse grind is suggested to keep the overall flavor of the coffee from being too bitter.
There are many factors that can change the outcome of your brew but by far the most important is the grind size.
No need to stress out!
Now you have a wealth of information to draw from and that means you will be able to easily find the right grind size for you and your favorite way to brew.
You'll also win at coffee trivia.
You're welcome. 🙂