If you are passionate about coffee then there is nothing quite as exhilarating as choosing your own coffee beans and grinding them at home to make the perfect cup for you. But grinding coffee beans is a skill so it’s important to know what you are doing, and the difference between the various types of grind – particularly if you want to get up to expert level.
To give us more guidance we asked Sarah of CoffeeBitz to write this guest post. Sarah writes coffee equipment reviews in this site and here is her quick guide to everything you need to know about coffee grinding – to be an expert at home:
1. There are different grinding devices
To become an expert coffee grinder you need to understand the different devices and what they do – you can’t just use any old grinder with coffee beans – there are specialist devices for different results.
The Blade Grinder uses blades to chop up coffee beans – this type of grinder creates a coarser grind result and we will look at the different types of grinds in the next section.
If you want a really finely ground coffee then you need to go for the other type of coffee bean grinder which is called a Burr Grinder. This can turn your beans into an incredibly fine powder.
2. Understanding the grind types
Depending on which grinder you use and which type of coffee brewer you are opting for, you will get a different result with your coffee so it’s important for an expert to understand all the different types of grinds.
- Pulverised – this is the finest possible grind and is virtually a powder
- Fine – soft texture a bit like salt
- Medium – midway between coarse and fine
- Coarse – a rough chopped grind
3. Understanding which coffee brewer to use
Each different grind type requires a different brewing device so as an expert coffee maker it’s important to know which brewing equipment should be used and when.
If you have a plunger pot or French press pot, a vacuum coffee maker or an old fashioned percolator then you will need to use coarse ground coffee for all of these devices, to get the best result. Any finer and you will end up with coffee bits floating in your drink.
For coffee makers which work with a drip system, and have either a flat bottomed filter shape, or one with a cone shaped filter, you will need to go for a medium grind for the best cup.
4. Understanding how to grind properly
For the best cup of coffee you need to grind the beans just before you plan to start brewing, to keep all the flavours fresh and tasty. But if you want to create the different types of grind, you need to know how to use your grinder properly.
Using a blade grinder can create anything from a coarse to a fine grind – it all depends on how you use the machine. They normally work by pouring the beans into a top section, where the blades are, and then closing a lid. The grinding action comes from applying pressure on the lid, or on a button, to get the blades working.
The trick here is that most of these machines don’t have settings for the type of grind – that comes down to your skill and expertise in operating it manually and by keeping an eye on the results.
In general, the longer you grind the beans for, the finer the results will be – a coarse grind takes the least amount of time. You need to think about how much coffee you need for your brewing machine – it’s best to grind a little and then add, rather than grind way too much.
The trick which expert grinders know about is to do the grinding in short sharp bursts rather than trying to hold down the button for a long time – this will overheat the coffee and won’t create a good result.
Grinding your own coffee beans to make a really fresh brew at home is a labour of love but for real coffee aficionados, getting it right makes all the difference in creating that perfect cup.
To master the techniques just takes a little practice and once you know exactly which types of grind to use with which type of coffee machine, you will be well on your way to becoming an expert.
Then it’s just a case of mastering using your chosen coffee grinder so that you can create the perfect grind for whichever device, at any time. If you fancy a coarse ground blend one day and a finer blend on another morning, you have that flexibility once you have mastered the grinding techniques.
If you are prepared to put in the extra effort of learning how to become an expert grinder, then you are guaranteed an awesome cup of coffee every time you make a pot.