Find Your Grind: How to Grind Coffee Beans like a Pro
Why does grind matter?Grinding whole bean coffee right before you brew it ensures maximum freshness and flavor. Roasted coffee contains volatile oils that impart most of the flavors you taste when you consume coffee. Once beans are ground, these oils react with oxygen and begin to evaporate. The longer your ground coffee is exposed to the air, the more flavor it may lose. Additionally, the way water interacts with your coffee during brewing has a profound effect on taste and mouthfeel. Your grind's size and texture are important because the more contact water has with the coffee during the brewing process, the quicker it will be extracted. If your grind is too fine for your brewing method, you could accidentally prevent extraction. If your grind is too coarse, water may move through your coffee too quickly and produce a weak, tasteless cup.
Types of coffee grindsLearning how to grind coffee beans like a pro requires an understanding of the different sizes, textures and brewing methods you can use to prepare coffee. Now that you know why grinding coffee beans matters, here are the most common names and sizes of grinds you can try at home or order from Kauai Coffee.
- Whole bean coffee is not a type of grind per se, but it is essential to know the term. Whole bean refers to coffee that is un-ground and the best choice for fresh coffee prepared at home.
- Coarse perk grind is a coarse grind that is best for immersion brewing methods where water has a lot of contact with the coffee while brewing. A coarse perk grind should have the texture of Poipu Beach sand – gritty and granular grains you can see with the naked eye. Compare to sea salt crystals.
- Auto drip grind is a medium grind and the most common size you'll find at the grocery store or on the shelf at your corner coffee shop. Auto drip or medium grinds work best in automatic home brewers. Auto drip grinds should be about the size and texture of fine beach sand or flaky sea salt.
- Cone fine grind is a medium-fine grind for cone filtered brewers and should be slightly more refined than a medium grind and resemble classic table salt.
- Espresso grind is a fine grind for pressure extraction brewing methods. Coffee ground for espresso should have a size and texture that corresponds to granulated sugar.
- Turkish grind is an extra-fine, powdery grind used for making Turkish coffee. The consistency should resemble all-purpose flour or bakers cocoa powder.
Brewing MethodsNow that you are familiar with some of the most common names and sizes of grinds, it's time to pair them with your favorite brewing method like an expert.
- Immersion brewing includes methods such as French Press, percolator, and coffee cupping. During immersion brewing, ground coffee has contact with the water for an extended time, so a coarse or medium-coarse grind is most effective and flavorful.
- Electric brewing is the most popular brew method in the U.S. and includes automatic drip and single-serve machines. Use a medium grind for electric brewing methods, and you'll have a delicious and quick cup.
- Manual brewing includes pour-over, Chemex, and other cone filtered methods where water is poured by hand over the ground coffee. Manual brewing gives you more flexibility and room to experiment to find out what you like since you control water flow. Try a course perk grind and a slower pour or a medium-fine cone grind and a faster pour to see what you like best.
- Pressure extraction brewing includes espresso brewing and Aeropress methods. Pressure extraction forces hot water through tightly packed and finely ground coffee to produce a robust shot with a silky layer of foam on top known as crema. Use espresso or fine grind to get that straight-from-the-barista flavor and texture.
- Cold brewing coffee is a little bit different since there is no heat to expedite the brewing process. Because cold brewing coffee takes up to 8 hours, it is important to use an extra coarse grind that resembles roughly cracked peppercorns.
- Turkish coffee is made by combining extra finely ground coffee with sugar, water, and spices and boiling in a small pot. An extra-fine grind is essential because Turkish coffee is served unfiltered.
At-home machines for grinding beansYou're well on your way to mastering the art of how to grind coffee beans and becoming a grind guru. Now it's time to discuss the different types of grinders you can purchase for your home. There are four main types of grinders to look for and compare.
- Blade grinders are the most common type of home coffee grinder you can find at a kitchen equipment store near you. They feature a simple blade at the bottom of the vessel and a few speed settings. Blade grinders are best for coarse to medium grinds because their limited speed settings and single blade can deliver inconsistent results.
- Burr grinders are the preferred home grinders for many at-home coffee aficionados. Their multi-blade system creates more surfaces for coffee bean crushing, which results in a more even and consistent grind.
- Conical burr grinders are professional-grade grinders you see at your local cafe. Their conical shape and multiple speed settings provide the most accurate grind sizes and textures.
- Hand grinders are great for gourmet coffee on the go or making sure you can still prep your morning cuppa when the power goes out. Hand grinders used to be the most common at-home bean blitzing machines but have fallen out of fashion with the invention and availability of blade grinders.
How to grind coffee beans without a grinderIf you're ready to experiment with coffee grinds but not quite prepared to invest in an at-home grinder, there are many ways to test your technique and taste with tools you already have.
- Order directly from the Kauai Coffee store. Select your preferred grind before adding coffee to your cart, and we will package and ship directly to your door. No need to worry about the loss of flavor! Your coffee is ground and sealed immediately, so there is no loss of flavor or aroma.
- Use a blender to experiment with coarse and medium grinds at home. The simple blades and low-speed setting should give you decent results.
- Use a mortar and pestle to get a consistent medium-fine to fine grind. It will take a little time and elbow grease, but you should get excellent results.
- Use a food processor to pulse beans to your desired texture. For more consistent results, try blitzing a scant 1/2 cup of whole beans at a time.
- Several other kitchen tools from rolling pins to meat tenderizers and kitchen knives that you can use to chop, crush and grind. Experiment and have fun!
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