To grind coffee at home, you should invest in a burr grinder. You can buy electric or use a hand-held grinder like this one.
If you grind your coffee beans to the perfect texture, you will get a perfect and well-balanced cup of joe; it is that simple. When you brew coffee, the hot water pulls out the soluble substances like carbohydrates, caffeine, sugar, and even lipids and some acids to immerse them into your drink. Roasting and grinding coffee beans to perfection both help in yielding the most flavorful cup.
But how do you determine what texture is perfect for your cup? And how do you know how to grind coffee beans to that exact texture? The answer to the former question depends on the brewing method you are going to use as you neither want the hot water to filter through the beans for the extraction of flavors too quickly (giving you a weak coffee) nor at a very slow pace (making the coffee bitter).
Before we spin into the grinding process, remember, consistency of the ground coffee is essential. No matter which brewing method you plan on applying to your grounds, the beans should be transformed into evenly consistent particles with uniform size so that you can get an even and smooth coffee.
To grind coffee at home, it is best if you have a quality burr grinder.
Why Grind Coffee at Home?
It is extremely convenient and thus tempting to buy pre-ground coffee. But if you value the taste of coffee, you should never do that because when the insides of the coffee beans get exposed to air, they lose their freshness fairly quickly. Even roasting accelerates the staleness process of the beans thus you should always buy roasted coffee beans that are recently roasted (remember, here at Two Bit Rush Coffee Roasters we ship whole beans the day they roast), or roast them yourselves at home. Always grind your coffee just before you want to consume it.
There are two types of grinders available in the market, but one of the two is clearly better:
The helicopter-like movement of the blades leaves the ground coffee particles inconsistent in size, giving your coffee cup an inconsistent taste. Although beans ground with a blade grinder are better than pre-ground coffee as they are fresher, the blade grinder does not keep the subtleties of the coffee as intact as a burr grinder does. The advantages of a blade grinder are that they are lower-priced than a burr grinder and usually smaller. So, if your budget or space are tight, a blade grinder may be right for you.
Although a bit expensive, a burr grinder is the best tool to grind coffee at home. There are two types of burr grinders, conical and flat, but they both make sure you get consistent and evenly sized coffee particles.
A conical burr grinder chews through the beans after pushing them between two flat rings. The ground coffee falls through the burrs only after they achieve the perfect and desired size. The flat grinder is also great but we recommend conical grinders as sometimes the coffee particles get stuck in the grooves of flat grinders. If you want to save some money and space, or if you like a more traditional hands-on approach to things, there are even a variety of good hand-powered burr grinders available.
Yet another advantage of burr grinders is that you do not have to worry about how long you grind your beans, while with blade grinders, you have to be careful and specific in this regard.
How to Grind Coffee With Respect to Different Brewing Methods
When you get a high-priced coffee grinder, you expect it to give you a great cup of coffee every time you want one, right? Unfortunately, it does not work that way and you have to understand the different recipes for different, specific brewing methods. Grinding the beans the same way for French Press, Pour Over, and Espresso will give you different results for each, and you are likely to be disappointed in at least some of them.
Grinding your beans to a specific coarseness of fineness that works best with each specific brewing method is the key to a perfect cup. Here are the different types of grinds:
Extra Fine Grind:
When you grind your coffee beans extra-finely, the resultant coffee gets as consistent in size as white flour. This type of grind is great for Turkish coffee whose brewing process extracts the perfect amount of flavor from the grounds that are ground extra-fine.
The fineness of coffee resulting from this type of grind is similar to that of cinnamon powder. It is great for our beloved espresso coffee as the steam extraction process saturates fine grinds perfectly. You have to be careful not to over or under grind it though as the sweet-spot is fairly narrow.
The consistency of the medium grind matches that of the table salt. If you are brewing with a manual pour-over coffee brewer, gooseneck kettle, or using the Aeropress, the medium grind will ensure the perfect flow of water to give you just the right amount of extraction.
The automatic drip machine runs the water through the grounds a little slower than the manual pour-over brewer, so it requires a little less fine grind. Most of the coffee makers use a medium flow rate of water through the coffee particles and require a coarse grind to offer a perfect tasting cup. The fineness of a coarse-ground coffee matches the coarse sea salt.
Extra Coarse Grind:
Imitating the consistency of coarsely ground black pepper, this grind is great for the French Press and cold brews. The French Press method uses a long and direct contact of boiling water with the grinds so coarsely ground coffee prevents your cup from tasting bitter and from becoming too strong. The French Press brew method also presses the grounds through a mesh screen with large holes so an extra coarse grind prevents finely ground coffee from making its way into your cup.
Similarly, brewing at room or colder temperatures, require the process to have a lengthy contact time between the grounds and the hot water. To keep the extracts from going overboard, make sure you employ coarsely ground particles for this method of brew.
If you do not want to have a kitchen appliance that is dedicated solely to coffee grinding, there are ways you can grind coffee beans at home without a grinder, but we discuss that in a separate article which you may find on the Two Bit Rush Coffee Roaster's blog. So, for the best coffee brewing experience get a burr grinder and prepare your grounds according to the brewing method you plan to use. How to grind coffee that gives you the best tasting cup is a critical skill for any coffee lover. To attain the very best coffee flavor, make sure you are buying the best and freshest roasted coffee beans and grind coffee at home.
Be sure to shop Two Bit Rush Coffee Roasters' coffees. We offer a selection of single origin coffees, curated blends, and flavored coffees. Roasted daily and delivered fresh.