Brewing a great cup of coffee after grinding coffee beans seems easy enough, but once you take that first sip, you realize it tastes nothing like your local speciality coffee shop. The good news is that making great coffee is more about the technique used more than it is about the gadgets.
That full-bodied cup of coffee is achievable in your own home if you avoid these common mistakes.
Grind Levels for Grinding Coffee Beans
If you have not already guessed, there are several different grind levels when it comes to grinding coffee beans. Each level of grind will you give you a different aroma and flavour of coffee.
Here is a small breakdown of what the grinds look like. These can be accomplished simply by changing the size on your grinder (Click here for a list of amazing grinders to choose from). Image By David Dewitt
|Extra Coarse||The size of really small pebbles|
|Coarse||The size of coarse salt.|
|Medium||The size of brown or white sand.|
|Fine||The size of regular table salt or sugar.|
|Extra Fine||The size of powdered sugar.|
|Turkish Grind||The size of baby powder.|
The amount of time that water and coffee need to be in contact with each other is directly related to the particle size of the grind. The finer the grind, the more surface area of the bean is exposed to water. The more surface area, the less dwell time is needed.
Under-extracted coffee grounds will produce coffee that tastes sour, acidic and salty while over extracted coffee grounds will produce coffee that tastes bitter or hollow with a lack of any notable coffee bean flavours.
Which Grind to Use With Each Gadget
Each ground level produces a different level of flavour in your coffee, so which gadget produces the best grind? If you’ve been using a blade grinder to grind your coffee beans, let me just tell you right now that you’ve been making the most common coffee grinding mistake that exists.
Do NOT grind your coffee beans with a blade grinder! Doing this will result in coffee that is worse than the pre-packaged ground coffee you get from the supermarket.
Blade grinders can only work by spinning extremely fast, which causes heat and friction. Heat and friction are both bad for your coffee — remember — heat is a #1 killer of flavour in your coffee.
If you use this method, you may notice that your coffee tastes a little scorched and less fresh. Your best option is to choose a burr grinder.
Burr grinder use the same even pressure and rotation which will ‘crush’ beans into perfect consistency. This is done at a lower speed, meaning there is no added heat, so your flavour and consistency of the grind stay intact.
The Perfect Grind
If you are still not sure which gadget to get or to figure out which grind is best, here is a breakdown of each grind and what gadget each is used for.
A Coarse Grind is generally used for the following:
- French Press (press or plunger pot)
- Toddy Makers (cold brew method)
- Vacuum Coffee Maker
A Medium Grind:
- Auto Drip Makers
A Medium/Fine Grind:
- Drip Makers (with cone-shaped filters)
A Fine Grind:
- Stove Top Espresso Pots
- Some Drip Makers (with cone-shaped filters)
A Super Fine Grind:
- Espresso Machines
A Turkish Grind:
- Turkish Style Coffee
Other Common Mistakes that are Made
Here are a few other mistakes you might discover you’ve made when you’re grinding coffee beans.
Poor Quality Coffee Beans:
Beans which have been roasted for longer than required time have a dark, shiny appearance. They produce a brew with a strong and bitter taste. On the other hand, medium roasts offer a smooth taste and the beans are light coloured.
If you are unsure whether you are getting the right beans or not, invest in a Blue Coffee Subscription Box. We will make sure that every bag of coffee you receive from us comes from top-notch roasters. Click here to learn more.
You can check out this list of past roasters we have collaborated with.
Grinding Your Coffee Too Early:
Do not grind your coffee beans too early as this will spoil the quality of your brew. Make sure that your brewing water is ready when you grind to avoid losing the flavour as you wait for it to heat.
Grinding too Much or too Little Coffee:
If you grind more coffee than you need, you will end up wasting it. So, determine your daily consumption and try your best to grind just what you need. You might need to play around with this the first few times until you get the right amount.
The Wrong Coffee to Water Ratio:
Have you ever drunk a cup of coffee and thought to yourself, “Wow, that’s really weak!” Perhaps there is too much water—or not enough coffee—for the proportion to work.
The rule of thumb is to start with two heaping tablespoons of coffee per cup and then modify future brews if needed.
Now that you have all of this information at your fingertips for grinding coffee beans, you have become a coffee grinding expert!
Paying attention to the little things, like your grounds of coffee in this case – will help you to reap the rewards of a great cup of coffee.