There’s an overwhelming choice in the coffee market for all different kinds of beans with all their different origins.
But the onslaught of options doesn’t stop there - what about grind?
Coffee grind size isn’t one-size-fits-all as much as many of us wish it were. The correct grind size will depend on your brewing technique, which we’ll talk more about as you read on.
The first step is always to pick your ideal grind size depending on the type of coffee you like to make or prefer – every type of coffee requires its different grind size!
Once you’ve done that, it’s best to graduate to grinding your own beans for maximum flavor as that gorgeous smell emanating off your bag of grounds is actually the flavor leaching from your beans.
Unsure of what grinder to look for? Don’t worry, we’ve got you.
The grind size you’re looking for will depend entirely upon the kind of coffee you’re trying to brew. Let’s go through all the different versions of coffee you might be looking to make and the grind that’s best for them:
Thanks to the extended steeping time it takes to make cold brew, it’s best to grind your coffee as coarsely as possible - the coarsest setting possible on your grinder if it has pre-set options.
Like cold brew, French press coffee is made using a steeping method which lends to a coarser ground but slightly less coarse than what you’d like with cold brew.
This is because you use hot water with French press, and you don’t want a grind too coarse to lead to bitter coffee!
For the various pour over or drip methods of making coffee, go for a grind that shoots in the middle in terms of size.
If, however, you’re making a single cup of coffee, use a finer ground as there will be less of a chance for your water to leach flavor from the grounds with the average pour over grind size.
The finest ground around, espresso grounds will be exceptionally fine.
That way, you have more of surface area for the grounds to extract, leaving you with an intense brew.
That is what we all want from espresso, right?
Choosing the Right Grinder
So we’ve covered the grind size, but what about the gadgetry that’s going to get you those perfectly sized grounds?
There are slight variations within the two overarching genres of grinder but ultimately the most important choice you’ll be making when purchasing a grinder is: is it going to be blade or burr?
Burr grinders crush the beans in rotating metal plates. The ground size yielded is controlled by changing the distance between these plates and a static surface.
This method generally allows for a more consistent grind but it comes at a price. How much you’ll pay for a burr grinder will hence depend on the specific kind you’re looking for.
Conical Burr Grinders
Conical burr grinders are the most expensive kind of coffee grinder on the market thanks to their quieter motor that creates a little less mess than what you’d expect with other coffee grinders.
A conical grinder is best for oily beans as they’re far less likely to clog than their less expensive counterparts.
Wheel Burr Grinder
The wheel burr grinder rotates a “wheel” very quickly, crushing the beans and so generates a rather intense noise that isn’t everyone’s cup of coffee first thing in the morning.
Fortunately, this type of grinder will run you a little less in the money department to make up for this slight inconvenience.
The least expensive grinders money can buy, the blade grinder is what you’d expect to find in the coffee novice’s home.
Whilst blade grinders tend to be less appealing thanks to their inconsistent grind, they do still offer better tasting coffee than purchasing ready ground coffee.
Blade grinders use a blade to chop up the beans much like a blender which, as mentioned, produces an inconsistent grind.
Even worse, it might leave very dusty and finely chopped beans that could potentially stifle your brew thanks to their usually burnt taste due to the heat generated from a blade grinder.
Burr or blade, you’ll be getting coffee grounds that are far more fruitful in producing great coffee than anything you could buy at the store.
If you can spring for it, a burr grinder will offer you more consistent flavor.
But in any case, grinding your beans inconsistently is better than not grinding them at all!
Choosing the right grind size for you will depend entirely on the version of coffee you want to brew, but hopefully this nifty little guide can help you on your way to perfectly brewed coffee.