Coffee size has been ground has a huge impact on the flavor of your morning cup of joe. As a veteran barista with over 15 years of experience behind the counter, I’ve brewed more pots than I can count using every type of grind out there. So, what type of coffee grind is best?
In this article, I’ll share my expert advice on how to choose the perfect grind of coffee for the brewing method you use. Whether you’re a pour-over purist or French press fanatic, there’s a brew method that’s perfect for you.
Why Grind Size Matters
It helps to know why grind size is so crucial before delving into the various grind kinds of coffee. Coffee gets its rich scent and diverse flavors from the oils and soluble components that are extracted when hot water runs over ground coffee. The amount of surface area exposed to the water is determined by the size of the coffee particles.
- Fine grinds have a high surface area, allowing for quick and thorough extraction.
- Crude grinds have less surface area in contact with the water, resulting in slower, more delicate extraction.
A grind size chart can be a helpful reference when determining the right coarseness for your preferred brew method.
If your grind is too fine for your brew method, over-extraction can occur leading to bitter, harsh flavors. On the flip side, coffee that’s too coarsely ground will be under-extracted, lacking depth and tasting sour or weak. That’s why you need to match the grind to the brewer.
What Type of Coffee Grind is Best
Here’s a run-down of the optimal grind types for popular home making methods:
- Grind: Ultra-fine powder
- Texture: Talcum powder consistency
The size for espresso needs to be extremely fine to allow for proper extraction.Espresso requires an extremely fine grind to provide the right extraction when hot water is forced through the compacted coffee at high pressure. Espresso grind is the finest setting on most grinders.
Moka Pot (Stovetop Espresso Maker)
- Grind: Fine
- Texture: Fine sand
Moka pot extraction works similarly to espresso, needing a fine grind for full flavor without scalding or bitterness. Aim for a grind just slightly coarser grind than espresso.
- Grind: Medium-fine
- Texture: Coarse sand
If using an espresso machine, you’ll need an ultra-fine-grind.Automatic drip coffee maker need a grind that strikes a balance between flavor extraction and flow rate. If using a ground-up coffee, choose a medium or medium-fine grind. When grinding fresh, start with a medium setting and adjust if needed.
- Grind: Medium
- Texture: Sea salt
With pour over coffee methods like the V60 and Chemex, a medium-fine grind allows water to wet the grounds evenly and drain through the filter at the right pace. Go a bit finer for lightly roasted beans which extract more slowly.
- Grind: Coarse
- Texture: Coarse Kosher salt
The French press method calls for a coarse grind to prevent over-extraction and a gritty texture, since the coffee steeps directly in the water. Use the coarsest setting on your coffee grinder. Check out our guide on French Press brew times to learn more about optimizing your brewing with this method.
In the world of coffee, French Press health concerns can also emerge, especially given the method’s popularity.
For that, make sure to utilize the right grind size to mitigate any health risks, ensuring a cup that’s not only robust and flavorful but also safe.
- Grind: Coarse to extra coarse
- Texture: Cracked peppercorn to chunky
Since cold making requires 12-24 hours of contact between water and grounds, the grind must be crude. Use a medium-coarse grind or extra crude setting to avoid over-extracted coffee.
- Grind: Ultra-fine powder
- Texture: Flour or powdered sugar
To allow Turkish coffee to be cooked directly in the pot along with the grounds, an ultra-fine powdery grind is used. A spice or flour grinder works best to pulverize the beans.
Additionally, those looking to explore different types of beans can delve into Zus bean characteristics for a change of pace in their daily brew.
Achieving the Ideal Grind
Now that you know which grind types pair best with different brew methods, let’s discuss how to achieve those grinds at home. Here are my top tips:
- Invest in a burr grinder, either manual or electric. Blade grinders are notoriously inconsistent. Burrs uniformly crush beans to your desired size.
- Having a grind chart handy can help you select the right coarseness.
- Pick a grinder with multiple settings to allow for experimentation. I suggest at least 10 size options.
- Use the markings on the grinder as starting points, not gospel. The “espresso” setting on grinder A may differ from grinder B.
- Adjust the grind as needed to dial in the perfect brew. Taste as you go finer or coarser.
- Clean grinder burrs regularly for consistent, uniform grinding.
- Use a different grinder for espresso than other methods, if possible. It’s hard to toggle between espresso-fine and French press-crude.
Stick within the particle size ranges detailed above for each make coffee method, and tweak from there based on your taste preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most common coffee grind size?
The typical ground-up coffee you find in the grocery store is a medium grind, suitable for auto-drip coffee makers. Specialty roasters may carry coffee grounds specifically for pour-over or espresso methods.
Is a fine or coarse grind better?
There is no universally “better” grind. Rough crushing is best for French press and cold coffee to prevent over-extraction. Fine grinds are necessary for espresso to extract fully during the high-pressure brewing process. The ideal grind depends entirely on the method of brewing.
Should I grind beans daily or buy pre-ground?
It’s best to grind your coffee beans right before brewing for optimal freshness and flavor. Grinding beans fresh before brewing is always preferable for peak flavor and aroma.
Once ground, coffee begins to stale within 30 minutes. Pre-ground coffee loses its nuances within days. Buy pre-ground coffee only if you don’t own a grinder.
What is Turkish coffee grind?
An ultra-fine powder is used to brew traditional Turkish coffee. The beans are ground to the consistency of flour or powdered sugar to allow near-complete extraction when boiled in the cezve pot.
Can any grinder be used for espresso?
Dedicated espresso grinders are recommended for an ultra-fine, powder-like grind. Some high-end burr grinders have espresso settings, but less expensive models may not grind finely enough. Blade grinders are unsuitable for espresso.
Is cold brew better with coarse or fine grind?
Always use a rough crushing for cold brewing. The extended brew time with cold water requires rough crushing to prevent over-extraction and excessive bitterness. An extra fine rough crushing is ideal.
Once you know what grind size is best, you’re ready to brew the perfect cup of coffee!
Whether you’re trying to pour over for the first time or upgrading your morning espresso, matching the best grind size to your method of coffee brewing is crucial for achieving a balanced coffee flavor. Follow my tips above to select the perfect grind and unlock the full taste of your coffee.
When in doubt, experiment with grind adjustments while tasting the results. With the ideal grind dialed in for your preferred coffee making process, you’ll be sipping the best and most delicious version of your cup of coffee at home in the morning.
Visit lido18.com to explore the fascinating world of coffee beans and brewing further!