Are you ready to embark on a journey of grinding your own coffee? The backbone of a great cup of coffee lives within the coffee grind. Placing freshly ground coffee and water in a brewer and hoping for the best does not always result in a good cup of coffee. Finding the perfect coffee grind size may take some time and effort to master your perfect cup.
When it comes to grinding and brewing your own coffee, first you need to ensure you have these five essential items.
5 Things Needed to Grind Coffee
Whole coffee beans
Coffee grinder (preferably anything but a blade grinder)
Heat (from whatever coffee making device you prefer)
How Does Coffee Grind Affect Taste?
The coffee grind not only determines the coffee strength but can also make or break the cup of coffee you are brewing. Even with the highest quality coffee, the right temperature, pure water, and an excellent coffee maker, you can still ruin the taste of coffee with the incorrect grind size. There is nothing worse than a bad cup of coffee to start your day.
When grinding the coffee, the goal is to break down the whole roasted coffee bean to expose the interior of the bean. This allows the right amount of oils and flavors to be extracted during the brewing process. Ground coffee has much more surface area than a whole coffee bean, allowing the water to make contact with more coffee during the brewing process. When the water has more contact with the coffee there is more flavor extracted.
To extract as much flavor as possible, always grind the whole coffee beans immediately before brewing. When grinding the coffee, the aromas are immediately released and start reacting with the oxygen in the air. Ground coffee can lose about 60% of its aroma after 15 minutes.
Choosing the Right Coffee Grind Size
Different brewing methods (cold brew, percolator, espresso, etc.) require different coffee grind sizes. Using the wrong grind size could result in a horrible cup of coffee. Thus, making the grind size critical when brewing your own coffee.
If you brew coffee that tastes sour or fruity, the coffee grind is most likely too coarse making it under-extracted. When your coffee grind is too fine, it can become over-extracted and taste bitter or sludgy. As a general guide, the quicker the extraction process the finer your coffee grind should be.
There is no cheat sheet in finding your ideal grind as coffee is very personal. The right coffee grind will depend on how you like your coffee to taste. Use the below Coffee Grind Size Chart as a guide to getting started.
Coffee Grind to Water Ratio
Water makes up 98-99% of coffee, while the remaining 1-2% is brew solids that are extracted from the coffee grind. Water plays a significant role in the taste of coffee and you should consider your water source before brewing. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) water brewing guidelines state that water should be clean, odor-free and contain no chlorine to obtain superior quality extraction of coffee solids.
Coffee strength is based on the ratio of coffee to water in your cup. There is no “golden” coffee grind to water ratio. A general rule of thumb to get you started would be one to two tablespoons of ground coffee to every 6 ounces of water. Remember that in some brewing methods water is lost to evaporation. The coffee grind to water ratio in your cup should be adjusted based on your personal taste preference.
There are many variables to brewing a great-tasting cup of coffee. Once you master the right coffee grind size, it will be well worth the time of experimenting. We hope these basic coffee grind guidelines, set you up to become an experienced home barista.