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Grinding coffee

Are you pondering the purchase of a coffee grinder?

If you answered yes then you are about to unlock new levels of the magnificent world of coffee! First of all you will be able to buy whole coffee beans that preserve longer than store bought pre-ground coffee. Secondly, a coffee grinder allows you to experiment with testing how different types of coffee work and taste using multiple brewing methods.

The general principle is that the finer you grind the coffee, the more contact surface you get with the brewing water, and the coffee becomes stronger in a shorter amount of time. If the coffee is coarsely ground it needs to be in contact with the water longer to dissolve its flavours and components into the brewing water and reach a rich and full taste.

Grinding coffee

The choice of coffee grinder depends on what type of coffee you prefer to make, or whether you are an all-round coffee drinker and like to brew coffee with different methods and equipment. There are both manual and electrical coffee grinders that are designed to grind a broad variety of coarsenesses, and grinders specifically designed for fine and precise espresso. If you are a true espresso enthusiast and also decide to get an espresso machine for café style coffee at home, a good and exact espresso grinder is essential.

Grinding coffee

Coffee grinders with a wide grinding range for versatile coffee brewing methods

Espresso

Espresso coffee: extra fine grind approx. 0,2 mm

Espresso is made of very finely ground coffee that is almost like powder and resembles flour or cocoa powder. To find the exact level of fineness you actually need to do some testing both with your coffee grinder and espresso machine to get the fine adjustments made to extract the perfect cup of espresso. A good espresso grinder comes in handy as it is built to handle very small adjustments and also has a holder for the filter handle that makes the dosing of ground coffee easier.

Moka pot

Moka pot: fine grind approx. 0,2 - 0,38 mm

Brewing coffee in a moka pot requires a finely ground coffee that has a texture similar to fine table salt, but is a little coarser than the powdery extra fine espresso grind.

Grinding coffee

Espresso grinders and coffee grinders with precise grinding settings for fine coffee

AeroPress

Varying coarseness

An AeroPress is a genius coffee maker in the sense that you can vary the coarseness of the coffee that you use. For a thicker and stronger moka-like brew you can use fine grind coffee as for a Moka pot, or for a more subtle and softer coffee you can use drip and pour-over coffee coarseness. The intensity of the coffee is also affected by how long you let the coffee soak before pressing the water through the coffee with the plunger.

Drip and Pour-over

Drip and pour-over coffee: medium grind approx. 0,75 mm

The coarseness of ground coffee used for drippers, pour-over brewing and most common automatic filter coffee makers, is a medium grind as often labeled on pre-ground coffee packages in the grocery store. This is comparable with the sand on a sand beach.

Chemex and Cold Brew

Medium coarse grind approx. 1 mm

When you brew coffee with a Chemex or make Cold Brew coffee the coffee can be slightly coarser than the regular drip coffee sold pre-ground in most supermarkets.

Grinding coffee

Good electrical grinders suitable for drip coffee, pour-over and coarser grinds

French Press and Cowboy coffee

Coarse grind approx. 1,5 - 3 mm

Making coffee with a French Press as well as in a traditional coffee pot, Cowboy coffee, the coffee grinds are mixed directly with the hot water and left to brew for a longer while than when using a coffee dripper. The coffee grinds are not filtered out, and are left to sink to the bottom of the pot. For the coffee to not become bitter a coarse grind is essential. The coarseness of the ground coffee resembles coarse sea salt or salt flakes.

Grinding coffee

Small manual coffee grinders fore home or outdoor use

The grinding mechanics of the coffee grinder

Conical burr grinders

A coffee grinder with conical or flat burrs crush the coffee beans between two plates or burrs, and the coarseness is adjusted by setting the distance between these two burrs. Burr grinders produce a finer and more even ground coffee specific for espresso, and the burrs can be ceramic or made of hardened steel.

Grinding coffee

Shredding steel blade grinders

A coffee grinder with a shredding sharp steel blade works the same way as a food mixer or a blender, shredding and cutting the coffee beans into smaller and smaller pieces the longer you let the blade run. A blade grinder is good for coarser grinding i.e. Pour-over, Chemex, French Press and Cowboy coffee, but does not necessarily achieve a fine and even espresso grind suitable for advanced espresso machines.

Grinding coffee

Brew Guides