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Did you know that the grind size of your coffee plays a huge part in how your coffee tastes? It’s true! Each coffee grind size has its own brewing method, some grind sizes can be brewed in many ways, while other grind sizes are most suitable to be brewed a specific way for best results. 

espresso coffee grind

In this article, I will be going over the various sizes of coffee grinds and which brewing methods are best for each size. I will also go over the types of coffee grinders there are and which are best. 

Brewing coffee is an art form. Many things have to be taken into consideration when brewing that perfect cup of coffee. The type of bean, the roast, the grind size and the brewing method, are all to be considered. The combination of these factors will result in a unique taste of coffee, and as soon as you can understand each aspect then you can finely tune each factor to create that perfect brew. It all boils down to the secret formula/equation! Everyone has their way of making that perfect cuppa. 

Under and Over Extraction

Understanding coffee extraction plays a crucial part in getting that perfect brew. You want to choose the right grind size, if you choose grounds that are too coarse this will lead to under extraction, and your coffee will lack flavour. If you choose grounds that are too fine, then this will lead to over-extraction, and your coffee will be extremely strong with flavours that will be unbearable to drink. 

  • Under Extracted Coffee tastes sour, salty and acidic.
  • Over-Extracted Coffee tastes very bitter and hollow.

The Differences in Taste

You’ve probably had a handful of bad cups of coffee in your lifetime. This awful taste you’ve experienced is mostly the result of a bad extraction. 

The coffee grind size affects: 

The Surface Area – The coarser the grind the chunkier it is, resulting in less surface area. The finer the grind the thinner it is, resulting in more surface area. 

The Extraction Rate – The coarser the grind the longer it will take to extract the coffee, leaving less surface area for water to penetrate. The finer the grind the faster the extraction will be, leaving more surface area for water penetrate. 

The Flow Rate – A coarser grind increases flow rate, and has less contact time. A finer grind decreases the flow rate and has more contact time. 

Keep it Fresh

Everyone loves fresh coffee, not only does it taste amazing, it smells heavenly as well! As soon as you grind your beans, air penetrates the surface area of the coffee and then starts to dry out the moisture. Dried out coffee can make your brew taste bland and even stale at times. This is why it’s important to store your ground coffee properly. The use of an airtight container will extend the life of your ground coffee, but if you don’t have one then make sure that the packaging is sealed and it’s stored properly. Coffee is best stored in the pantry away from heat, light and moisture.

If you’re crazy about fresh coffee, then It’s highly recommended to grind your coffee beans right before you brew them. 

The Coffee Grinders

The blade grinder and burr grinder are the two most popular types of coffee grinders. You can also come across some built-in grinders in a few coffee machines, these grinders are very convenient and deliver a great tasting brew.

The Blade Grinder

A good cup of coffee requires a nice consistent grind. The blade grinder is an extremely inconsistent coffee grinder. If you’ve been using this coffee grinder, then you should immediately stop. You’re better off buying pre-ground coffee from the supermarket. 

The blade grinder has a dual-ended blade and a chamber for the coffee. When you start the grinder, the blades move rapidly to break up the coffee beans. During this process, not all the coffee beans get broken up at the same time, leaving you with a fine grind at the bottom and a coarse grind at the top. So when you attempt to brew the grinds some will be over-extracted, and some will be under-extracted, resulting in bad tasting coffee. 

If that’s not bad enough, the grinder also heats your coffee due to the friction of the fast blades, slightly overcooking it and making it taste bad. 

The Burr Grinder

The Burr Grinder works by funneling coffee beans into a chamber below. The grinder has a similar shape to an hourglass, with coffee being ground down between two jagged walls in the middle of the mechanism. In this grinder, you can also set the grind size, which will adjust the opening accordingly. Since all the coffee beans are forced through the jagged walls, the grind comes out uniform. 

Coffee Grind Sizes

It’s important to familiarize yourself with these seven grind sizes if you want to brew delicious coffee. Some coffee grind sizes can be used for multiple brewing methods, while others work best with a specific brewing method.

Extra Coarse Grind 

Extra Coarse Coffee Grind Size

Recommended Brewing Method: 

  • Cowboy Coffee
  • Cold Brew

Coarse Grind

Coarse Coffee Grind Size

An extra coarse/coarse coffee grind size is good for longer brew times. This coarse grind looks very similar to sea salt.

Recommended Brewing Method:

  • French Press
  • Percolators
  • Cold Brew
  • Cupping

Medium Coarse Grind

Medium Coarse Coffee Grind Size

This coarse coffee grind size is very similar to rough sand.

Recommended Brewing Method: 

  • Cafe Solo Coffee Maker
  • Clever Dripper
  • Chemex 
  • French Press

Medium Grind

Medium Coffee Grind Size

The middle point. This is an ideal coffee grind size to experiment with. 

Recommended Brewing Method:

  • Drip Coffee Makers (Flat Bottom filters)
  • The Aeropress (3 min. or longer brew time)
  • Cone-Shaped Coffee Makers
  • Siphon Coffee Makers

Medium Fine Grind

Medium Fine Grind Size

This coffee grind size is ideal for pour over brewing systems.

Recommended Brewing Method:

  • Cone-shaped pour-over brewing system
  • The Aeropress (2-3min. brew time)

Fine Grind

Fine Grind Size

This is typically the same coffee grind size as pre-ground coffee at the supermarket. 

Recommended Brewing Method:

  • Drip Coffee Makers (Cone Shaped Filter)
  • Espresso
  • Moka Pot
  • The Aeropress (1-2min. brew time)

Extra-Fine Grind

Extra Fine Grind Size

The extra-fine coffee grind size is usually used for Turkish Coffee and requires a specific Turkish coffee grinder. This grind has the consistency similar to flour. 

Recommended Brewing Method:

So that’s it! You now know and understand the importance of coffee grind sizes and coffee grinders. Now you can choose the appropriate coffee grind size for that perfect cup of brew!


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