The base of a great coffee, is using the right coffee grounds. Did you know that the way you grind your coffee is the first step toward influencing how the final brew tastes?
Regardless of your brew method, the basic goal of grinding coffee is the same: to break down the roasted coffee beans, exposing the interior, allowing the right amount of oils and flavours to be extracted.
Coffee beans are an agricultural product - they’re not made in a factory. And like any agricultural product, they're best when they're fresh. Stale coffee beans are bitter and lifeless. Whereas fresh coffee is bursting with rich fruity flavours, complex spice notes and sweet aromas. So to put it simply, fresh is best!
So, you want to extract the perfect amount of flavour from your coffee. This is where grind size comes into play. The key to brewing great coffee is consistency - too little and you’ve under-extracted it, too much and you’ve over extracted it.
Under extraction = grounds too coarse, not enough flavour.
Over extraction = grounds too fine, overpowering and unpleasant flavour.
So, if you're coffee isn't quite right, what can you do about it for next time?
Adjust it! Adjust either the brew time or your grind size, based on your extraction.
Blade grinders are unfortunately the enemy of a balanced coffee. They are simply a grinding chamber with a spinning blade inside - most inexpensive grinders use a sharp metal blade to literally chop coffee beans. As the blade spins, the coffee beans are chopped into grounds of all shapes and sizes with no precision or pattern. You control the fineness of the grind by "pulsing" the power button until you're satisfied. It can be difficult to judge how much coffee to grind, and how finely to grind it. And if you are grinding finely, there can also be significant heat created by the blades which can contribute to a "burnt" taste.
• More affordable
• Simple to operate, usually via a "pulse" button
• Simple to clean
• More compact (taking up less of your bench)
• Faster to use
• Inconsistent results
• Overheats the coffee, affecting flavour
• Less capabilities
Whereas burr grinders are fundamentally different than blades. Instead of chopping up beans at random, burrs use uniform pressure and rotation to essentially ‘crush’ beans into perfect consistency. This method provides a much more precise, uniform grind size. They are easily adjustable, and can achieve this at lower speeds, meaning no added heat. Note: The ‘fine’ setting on one grinder may not be exactly the same as ‘fine’ on another, so your grind settings may vary.
• Even grinds, resulting in a better cup of coffee
• Broad grind adjustment capabilities
• Preserved flavour
• Slower to use
• More expensive
If you require a fine grind for espresso or use with coffee pods, it's even more critical that your grinds are uniform/consistent. If you're having trouble getting your coffee right, buying pre-ground may be a better option than using a blade grinder.
When it comes to coffee capsules, hot water is basically forced through your grounds: too fine, and it won’t get through, too coarse, and it will gush through.
Fine "Espresso" grind is most common grind size you’ll come across. When buying pre-ground coffee, it’s usually a fine grind size (unless otherwise stated). Moka Pots (a.k.a Stovetop espresso makers) generally utilise a medium-fine grind size. Check out our chart below for a comprehensive list of grind sizes and brew methods.
For the majority of our reusable pods, we recommend using a Moka Pot grind for optimal results. If using Capsi or our Dolce Gusto® / Caffitaly® / K-Fee® lines, Espresso grind is best. In both cases, ensure your capsule is tamped firmly, and filled to the top.
So there you have it - you're now equipped to grind your coffee in a way that will improve your brew! Happy grinding!
|GRIND SIZE||BREW METHOD|
|Medium-fine||Reusable Pods, Moka Pot / Stovetop, Cone-Shaped Pour Over|
|Medium||Flat-Bottom Drip, Siphon, Aeropress|
|Medium-coarse||Chemex, Clever Dripper, Cafe Solo Brewer|
|Coarse||French Press, Cold Brew Coffee, Plunger|