Why Your Grind Size Matters
So you've purchased a coffee grinder.
Congratulations! You're one step closer to enjoying the magic of perfectly-brewed coffee in every cup! But before you start grinding away, there is one more key step involved in brewing amazing coffee at home – different grind sizes.
Yes, size matters.
There is a direct relationship between coffee grind size and over/under-extracted coffee. In this article, we're diving into different grind sizes, when each should be used, and why matching the perfect grind size to your coffee maker at home is crucial for extracting the perfect amount of flavour.
Below you will find a list of suitable grind sized to match the most common types of coffee brewers.
Extra Fine (Turkish Coffee)
Fine (Espresso/ Moka Pot)
Medium Fine (Pour Over)
Medium (Drip Coffee Makers)
Medium Coarse (Chemex)
Coarse (French Press)
Extra Fine – Turkish Coffee
If you're a coffee aficionado who is captivated by ancient, traditional brewing methods, you have to try Turkish Coffee! Turkish Coffee brewing has been around since the 1400s and is known for its rich taste and premium flavour. When brewing Turkish Coffee, you must fill a small pot known as a cezve, also known as an Ibrik, with very fine, powdery coffee grounds and hot water. Turkish Coffee is known for its high-quality taste because coffee grounds are left to brew without a filter, resulting in a much stronger flavour. Single beans are ground to 45,000 particles vs 100 particles for drip coffee, allowing you to extract the most flavour over any other brewing method. After heating your cezve, you must allow the coffee grounds to transform into a thick, frothy-like substance without letting the water boil. The more froth, the better your coffee will taste. This brewing method results in an extremely thick, concentrated flavour best served with a glass of water and something sweet to clear your palette after every sip. Remember never to let your coffee grounds come to a boil! Brewing Turkish Coffee takes some practice and dedication, but the rich taste that this lengthy process will result in is definitely worth the trouble!
Fine – Espresso / Moka Pot
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as an espresso bean. Espresso is a brewing method that comes from the coffee bean. A shot of espresso is made by pulling hot water through extremely fine coffee beans; these beans are ground to be extra-fine, but not more powdery than Turkish coffee beans. Pulling the perfect shot of espresso at home requires some practice and willingness to learn, but these skills will come as second nature to someone who has been practising for a while. The key indicator of a great shot of espresso is the caramel-coloured foam that sits on top of your freshly pulled shot. This foam is called crema and comprises the oils of the coffee bean when your shot is pulled at a 45-degree angle. When brewing espresso at home, it's best to set your coffee grinder to "fine" to extract all of the beans' intense flavours. You may use a stove-top electric coffee maker known as a Moka pot for the perfect espresso at home. The Moka pot's bottom chamber is filled with water, and finely ground coffee beans are added to the strainer above. After heating the Moka pot on the stove, you will be left with perfectly balanced espresso containing nutty undertones of dark chocolate. A fine grind is used to make espresso because it will take hot water less time to run through the entirety of the coffee particles, meaning that your espresso will be extracted at a quicker rate.
Medium Fine (Pour-Over)
A medium-fine grind is ideal for making coffee in cone-shaped pour-over brewers. This method usually takes around 2-3 minutes to brew and is one of the quickest and most convenient ways to make the perfect cup of coffee every morning. Pour-over's involve water being poured directly over your coffee grounds, so a fine grind is ideal due to the limited time that hot water has to interact with your coffee grounds. Unlike a Moka Pot or an Ibrik, pour-overs require coffee filters that soak up the coffee's natural oils, resulting in a light, airy taste every time. The last thing to note about pour-over coffee us using appropriate water ratios. To extract the perfect taste, coffee to water ratios between 1:14 and 1:18 is ideal. This means that you must use 14-18 millilitres of water for every 1 gram of coffee grounds. For anyone who is just starting their coffee journey, pour-overs are ideal because they are light, compact, and don't require any electricity to operate!
Medium (Drip Coffee Makers)
A medium grind is ideal for auto-drip coffee makers with flat-bottom filters. If you're looking for a quick coffee fix that requires minimal effort, an auto-drip coffee maker is the hassle-free solution for you. Because you cannot control the water ratio or temperature for these machines, ensuring that you have fresh coffee beans with the perfect grind is key to making the perfect cup of coffee. Like the pour-over method of brewing, water filters through the coffee grinds fairly quickly, so grinding your beans on a medium setting will allow for all of your coffee's flavours and aroma to peak during extraction. Your coffee grounds should resemble the coarse texture of sand, and your water-to-coffee ratio should be around 1 or 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of filtered water. Because it is difficult to fully control the amount of water that runs through your auto-drip, using filtered water will result in an elevated taste after your coffee is brewed. One important thing to note about auto-drip coffee makers is that you should clean your machine daily to keep a consistent coffee taste. It is recommended that you fill the tank with equal parts of water to vinegar, and then run your vinegar and water mixture through the machine several times before cleaning your carafe with soap and water. Don't forget to take out any coffee grinds before cleaning, or else you will be left with a sludgy mess!
Medium Coarse (Chemex)
The Chemex coffeemaker can be thought of as an elevated version of a pour-over coffeemaker. Invented in 1941 by Peter Schlumbohm, the Chemex consists of a heatproof wooden collar that wraps around beautiful, hourglass-shaped tapered glass. A medium-coarse grind resembling kosher salt is recommended for brewing coffee in a Chemex. This will allow for optimal extraction as the cone-shaped filter will remove any bitter notes from your coffee beans while maintaining a clean, crisp flavour. It is recommended to use twice the amount of water for every serving of coffee grounds in the Chemex. For example, if you have 50 grams of coffee grounds, it is best to use 100 grams of hot water. After preparing your coffee grounds, gently pour your water in a circular motion. This will allow the hot water to interact with all fragments of your coffee grounds, leaving you with a perfectly-percolated carafe that will impress any coffee connoisseur.
Coarse (French Press)
The name might deceive you, but an Italian designer named Attilo Callimani was the one to patent the French press's design in 1929. A French press's essentials include a glass carafe, a high-quality filtration system, and an industrial-grade frame. A coarse grind is ideal when using a French press to allow coffee grounds to slide through the mesh filter with ease. Because there is no paper filter involved in this brewing method, the aromatic coffee oils will also slide through the mesh filter, producing a strong, full-bodied flavour. Your coffee grounds should resemble thick kosher salt flakes to allow for slow extraction. To achieve the ideal grind, we recommend using a burr grinder as burr mills are known for their consistency and quality. The French press is our favourite method of brewing coffee because it is one of the easiest methods in delivering strong, aromatic flavours every morning.
If you would like to step up your coffee game and take your grinding journey to the next level, check out our selection of specialty Colombian coffee, as well as our high-quality, bamboo French press coffee maker.