What is the best grind size?

What is the best grind size?

This is the only grind guide you ever need. ‘What coffee grind do I need for…?’ is one of the most frequent questions we get asked and rightly so as the grind consistency is arguably one of the most important factors when dabbling in the art of coffee extraction. 

The main factors to consider when grinding is the method of grinding and the principles of extraction. You can rest easy knowing we have done all the hard work, and have clear and simple instruction, so you can focus on the task at hand.

How to grind coffee beans?

It is best practice to always grind just before brewing in order to achieve the freshest brew and taste from your beans. Therefore, we strongly recommend buying beans from us as opposed to pre-ground as the benefit of flavour quality is vast. This is primarily down to the oxidation of the beans once the outer shell is fractured and the beans internals are exposed. 

There are two forms of grinder that can be purchased, a blade grinder and a burr grinder. Simply put, a blade grinder uses a blade to blitz the coffee beans into a dusty mess, there is no consistency the grind size, but it is the cheapest variant. We would suggest avoiding this method due to the inconsistency in grind size leading to an inconsistency in extraction. The burr grinder is the recommended tool, for several reasons. It provides consistency and allows full control over the grind size, which will be explained shortly in the process of bean extraction. It works by using a burr mil that crushes the bean and can be tightened and loosened as per required grind type. In general they are slightly more expensive than the blade grinder but come in automatic and manual variants that are affordable and we would highly recommend purchasing one 

Coffee Extraction

The grind size is important as it can result in over or under extraction which results in; for under extraction – sour, acidic or salty; for over extraction – bitter, acrid or tasteless coffee.

We have a simple saying, ‘The quicker the brew, the smaller a grind’, this basically summarises the point that the speed of a brew, is an indication of the grind required, therefore, as espresso (under 30 seconds) would require a fine ground; whereas, cold brew (12 hours) would require extra coarse. To put it simply the grind of a coffee controls the surface area that the water interacts with. Finer grinds offer more surface area than a coarser offering.

We provide guidelines below as an indication of what grind size you should use, however, we suggest that you use the above motto then test and adjust your coffee making process, embrace the process and learn to love the art of it, it’s the best way to learn and very satisfying getting it right.

GRIND SIZE

BREW METHOD

Extra coarse

Cold Brew Coffee

Coarse

French press, Chemex, percolator

Medium

Pour over, Aeropress (with 3+ minute brew time)

Medium-fine

Cold brew pourover, Aeropress (with 2-3 minute brew time)

Fine

Espresso, Moka pot, Aeropress (with 1 minute brew time)

Extra Fine

Turkish coffee

 

See here for our coffee grinders, coffee makers and other coffee equipment here.