What coffee grind do I need? That might just be the question we get asked the most around here, and for good reason. Read on as we help you figure out the best grind for you and why its important to pick the right grind.
Why Grind Matters
French Presses, Pour Overs and Keurig Machines are all different ways to brew so it only makes sense that they would each need different sizes of grinds.
It all has to do with the surface area of the grounds and how long water will be exposed to them. Imagine coarse ground coffee to be like pebbles while finely ground coffee is more like sand. Water flows easier through a jar of pebbles whereas water takes longer to go through the sand. The same is true for coffee- if you grind the coffee coarsely and put the grounds in an auto drip machine, the coffee will run through the grounds quickly, resulting in less contact time with the coffee and you'll have a very weak cup of coffee. Now if you grind that same coffee finely and put it in the same auto drip machine, the water won't go through the grounds and will often times make your machine overflow from the basket, resulting in a big mess on your counter.
Read on to learn what grind method will make the PERFECT cup of coffee for you!
Coarse Grind- Use if you have a French Press, Cold Brew Pitchers
Looks like- chunky sea salt or coarse sand
Coffee made in a french press is usually steeped in boiling water for a few minutes while the cold brew pitchers steep for long periods in cold water. Due to the longer steeping periods, coffee needs to be coarse in order to extract a flavorful cup. Many people enjoy these methods as the lack of paper filters allow for more flavors oils to make their way into your cup!
Auto Drip- Use if you have Regular Coffee Makers, Siphon, Reusable K-Cup Filter
Looks like- regular sand
This is the perfect medium grind, not too coarse and not too fine and is used in MOST machines. It's a good starting place for most coffee brewers if you're not sure what you need.
Fine- Use if you have an Espresso Machine, Moka Pot, Aeropress
Looks like- table salt
Fine grind is needed when water will have very short contact time with the coffee. This is ONLY used with a high pressure machine like an espresso maker because the pressure actually forces the water through the grounds quickly.
One of the common myths with finely ground coffee is that you can use it in an auto drip machine in order to use less coffee and get more bang for your buck. Unfortunately, that will only result in over-extracted coffee (bitter and overly strong) and a mess to clean up after the coffee overflows from the basket. It's also a great way to trigger the next apocalypse.
Very Fine- Use if you have a Turkish Coffee Pot
Looks like- powdered sugar
The finest grind available, this coffee is basically powder and is very strong when brewed. Traditionally brewed in a small pot called a cezve, Turkish coffee is usually served with the grounds in the cup and has a very high caffeine content.
To sum it all up, just remember this the next time you get ready to brew:
If the grounds are too coarse, coffee will be under extracted and taste weak. If the coffee is too fine, your cup of joe will be over extracted and the coffee will be really strong and not great.
Keep in mind with all of these methods, practice makes perfect and you may have to experiment a bit to find the perfect grind and amount of coffee for you. And now that you're a coffee ground expert, fantastic coffee is definitely in your future!