Grinding coffee at home is one way to ensure a fresh cup of coffee. The sole purpose of a grinder is to granulize coffee beans into identically-sized particles. How do I Grind My Coffee? What Equipment do I need? What Grind Level? The size of the particles depend on the brewing method being used. There are different types of grind, each producing a different coffee taste and experience.
We are going to mention 7 grind levels to get you started. Sure, there are probably more levels than that in practice, but this will give you visual cues, so you can feel confident you are close. We’ll use some ground coffee photographs against a U.S. nickel to visually explain these terms. For those outside the United States, the coin below is 21.21 millimeters in diameter and 1.95 millimeters thick. Use the list below to determine when to use each type of grind.
Extra Coarse Grind
Most commonly used for Cold Brewing methods like used in Toddy Cold Brew.
Looking like large grounds of sea salt, coarse coffee is ground mainly for percolators and French presses. This allows for a special brewing method where the coffee sits in hot water and is removed through a screen mesh, as opposed to being sprinkled on by the head of a conventional brewer. This type of grind is best for any brewing method longer than eight minutes. Whether using a machine or putting the grinds in a pot of boiling water, the coarseness of this coffee requires the longest brew time.
This grind type is finer than coarse, yet still very grainy and feels like rough sand. Similar to kosher salt, the particles in this grind are considered large and coarse. It is perfect for flat bottom filter coffee brewers and vacuum pots. The coarser the coffee grind, the longer the brew process to reach maximum flavor. This type of coffee can be brewed in any machine or method with a brewing process longer than six minutes.
For most coffee regulars who just want a good brew, this type of grind is typically found in pre-ground, canned coffee at the grocery store. Sitting in the middle of the grind type spectrum, this coffee is evenly granular, more along the lines of table salt and can be used in either flat bottom or cone filters. Its size allows for water to pass through easily, without sticking together. Use this type of grind for a four to six minute brew time.
Almost as fine as powder, this grind is designed for vacuum coffee brewers that feature a three minute brew process. Is a tad smoother than white sugar and perfect for cone coffee makers. The powder is fine, but should not stick together. It is also great for the reusable My K-Cup® if you are looking for a stronger type brew. We do not recommend this grind type for the other reusable single serve cups as it can lead to a restricted water flow.
Most commonly used for Pourover Cones, Vacuum Pots, and Siphon Brewers.
- Pourover Cones like The Clever Coffee Dripper or Kalita Wave Dripper.
- Vacuum Pots like Bodum Santos Stovetop Glass Vacuum.
- Siphon Brewers like Yama Glass Coffee Siphon.
Only slightly coarser than the pulverized grind, fine grind is used mostly for espresso. This is a highly concentrated form of coffee, with one of the strongest tastes, yet lowest caffeine content. Typically, this type of grind requires an espresso machine, as espresso is prepared differently from most forms of brewed coffee.
Mainly used for Espresso.
- Espresso like Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine.
- Stovetop Espresso / Moka Pot like The Original Bialetti Moka Express.
Extra Fine Grind
This type of grind is very fine, similar to the texture of flour. It’s commonly used in Turkish coffee, which produces a very strong brew and leaves behind grounds in the bottom of the cup.
Mainly used for Turkish coffee.
How can we produce those different grind granularity? What’s the best type of coffee grinder to use?
As mention in CoffeeAm Blog, “There are two major types of coffee grinders—blade grinders and burr grinders. Blade grinders offer very little control (but cheaper) while coffee professionals prefer the use of burr grinders, as you have control over the ground size allowing for a more consistent grind.”
Keep in mind, grinding the beans just before the brew process will ensure fresher tasting coffee. The coarser the grind, the longer the brew process required. Also, with the exception of espresso, most brew methods can be achieved without a specific machine.
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