- So, does freshly ground coffee taste better?
- Why grind coffee beans?
- Benefits of freshly ground coffee
- What type of coffee grinder should I choose?
- Burr vs Blade
- Automatic vs. Manual
- The Blender Method – Is it OK?
- Ceramic vs. steel grinders
- How to use a coffee grinder
- Storage of Whole Beans and Ground Coffee
- Final thoughts on how to grind coffee correctly
- What grind size should I use for my coffee maker?
- Bottom line
We help you to know why coffee grinding is so important, the different methods and how to grind your coffee for a perfect extraction.
If you have explored the world of coffee preparation at home, you have probably heard this phrase many times: freshly ground coffee tastes better. At a certain point, you’ll hear it so often that it starts to sound like a broken record.
So, does freshly ground coffee taste better?
Freshly ground coffee has a much richer taste, aroma, and texture than pre-ground coffee. It also has a higher caffeine content, making it a popular choice among coffee lovers. The process of grinding fresh beans releases their essential oils and aromas, resulting in a much fuller flavor. Another benefit is that freshly ground coffee is much more affordable than pre-ground coffee because you can buy coffee beans in bulk for a much lower price. Plus, grinding your coffee beans on demand ensures the freshest cup of coffee every time!
The act of grinding your own coffee is not difficult. You just need to find the best grind for the preparation of your favorite coffee.
In this post we tell you what the best grind size is for the brewing method you use and why freshly ground coffee and size are so important.
Why grind coffee beans?
Having freshly ground coffee doesn’t just mean having a kitchen that smells good. You’re going to have a fresher, more flavorful tasting coffee that’s going to make pre-ground coffee taste stale in comparison.
By grinding fresh coffee beans, you can also better control their size.
While the exact size of the coffee beans may not seem that important, it is the most important factor that contributes to how the flavor is extracted from the coffee beans during the brewing process.
Benefits of freshly ground coffee
First, freshly ground coffee provides a more flavorful cup than pre-ground coffee because the flavors are released from the beans as soon as they are ground. The grinding process also helps release flavorful oils that contribute to the overall flavor of the coffee. This results in a much smoother and fuller cup of coffee that can’t be achieved with pre-ground coffee.
Another benefit of freshly ground coffee is that it is much fresher than pre-ground coffee. Preground coffee can get stale quickly because the flavor compounds in the beans begin to degrade soon after they are ground. Freshly ground coffee retains its flavor for much longer because the beans are ground only when needed. This ensures that you get the freshest cup possible every time.
Extraction refers to the amount of flavors from the coffee beans that are absorbed in a given period of time. When preparing coffee, it is the perfect extraction that tastes the best. If coffee is over-extracted or under-extracted, it will not taste good.
espresso making machines
The size of your coffee grind is important because it controls the amount of coffee oils that are extracted in a given period of time. For example, a finer grind (which refers to coffee grounds that are extremely small) facilitates the extraction of the oils.
Finer coffee grounds allow the oils to be extracted more quickly and easily. Because of these characteristics, finer grinds are often used in quick brewing methods such as espresso.
Espresso only takes a couple of seconds to brew properly. This is due in part to the fine coffee grounds it uses.
The finer coffee grounds are easy to over extract due to the ease with which they are prepared. Over extraction means that too many coffee oils have entered the final brew.
While the oils provide flavor to the coffee, too many oils can produce a bitter brew.
Conversely, coarse grinds are used in slow brewing methods, such as cold brewing, because they make it difficult to extract the oils from the coffee. Coarse grinds facilitate insufficient extraction of coffee oils, which produces a watery and bitter coffee.
The extraction of coffee oil is difficult to perform correctly. Preparing coffee has to do with finding the optimum point between the extracted and under-extracted beans. This will depend on the method of preparation and the grinding of the coffee beans.
What type of coffee grinder should I choose?
There are many ways to grind coffee beans, from using a simple blender to using a professional burr grinder.
Although there are many grinding options to choose from, your brewing method should guide your choice of coffee grinder.
Some grinders are much better for certain brewing methods than others. Turkish coffee is incredibly good. This fine grind can only be achieved using special coffee grinders due to its unusually fine, almost powdery consistency.
Personal preference can also guide your coffee grinder decisions.
Some grinders require a little attention, while others are fully automatic and require almost no brainpower. Finding the coffee grinder that suits your lifestyle and brewing method can take your morning coffee to another level.
Burr vs Blade
Most coffee grinders come with one of two methods for grinding coffee beans: using burrs or using blades.
Both grinding methods have benefits, but deciding between the two depends on your skill level and how much money you’re willing to pay for a coffee grinder.
Burr grinders are most common in large coffee shop chains like Starbucks. They have two abrasive “burrs” that grind the coffee beans between them to achieve a perfectly uniform coffee grind.
One of the biggest benefits of burr grinders is their flexibility. Burr grinders can be adjusted to almost any coffee grind. By doing this, they can adapt to almost any brewing method.
For people who love to experiment with many brewing methods, this is the perfect coffee grinder.
Another benefit of burr grinders is their consistency. Burr grinders contain two abrasive burrs that can be placed together or far apart from each other.
Whole coffee beans fall between these burrs and are crushed as gravity pulls them toward the bottom of the grinder.
When the burrs are closer together, the coffee will be finer. When the burrs are farther apart, the coffee will be coarser.
What is useful about the burr grinder is its ability to preset the coffee grind.
These size adjustments can be made before grinding the coffee, which means you can achieve a perfectly uniform coffee grind without having to think about it.
Blade coffee grinders are also known as coffee grinders because the blades resemble traditional grinders.
A blade grinder has a blade-like helix that rotates inside the grinder. The sharp edge grinds the whole coffee beans that enter from the top and deposits the grounds at the bottom of the grinder with the help of gravity.
Blade grinders are often used in smaller coffee shops that boast about the quality of their coffee because this grinder allows for greater freedom of expression.
Unlike burr grinders, blade coffee grinders have no adjustments. Baristas observe the consistency of the coffee beans when using a blade grinder.
This can create a great cup of coffee if you know what you are doing, but it could also be a disaster if you are inexperienced.
Blade coffee grinders are prone to user error. They tend to create either the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had or the worst cup, depending on the skill of the barista.
Automatic vs. Manual
The decision between choosing an automatic or hand coffee grinder depends on personal preference. The biggest distinction between the two grinders is the amount of physical effort you want to put into grinding your coffee.
Hand coffee grinders require a lot of effort, while automatic coffee grinders do not.
Hand coffee grinders allow more control over the exact grinding of the coffee beans but, as with blade grinders, it is prone to user error.
The biggest benefit of handheld coffee grinders is that they are inexpensive and portable. Because there is no bulky battery or power supply, they can even be taken camping!
Automatic coffee grinders require much less effort than hand grinders. Most of them only require pressing a button, which can be invaluable in the morning when your brain is not yet fully engaged. They are also adjustable.
Automatic grinders usually have multiple grind settings and can also be pre-programmed. Again, this is perfect for mornings when you may be too sleepy to properly grind your coffee beans.
The Blender Method – Is it OK?
If you have a bag of whole coffee beans and find yourself without a proper coffee grinder, you can use a plain old blender to grind those coffee beans to the right size, but there are a few quirks and safety precautions you should be aware of. before proceeding.
It is important to clean your blender blades before using them to grind coffee. You may think your blades are clean, but brewed coffee is excellent at picking up subtle flavors.
Also, keep in mind that the coffee grounds will try to pop out of the blender once it has been turned on. There are no liquids in this smoothie, so be prepared for projectiles if you choose to blend without a lid.
Coffee beans can easily overheat with this grinding method. If the coffee beans get too hot before brewing, this can ruin the oils in the coffee beans.
To mitigate the effects of heat, try using a pulse instead of a steady grind. This will allow the beans to cool between grinds.
Finally, instead of pouring all the whole coffee beans into the blender at once. Try starting with a few coffee beans and add more slowly as they are ground. This will help reduce heat and achieve a more uniform grind.
Ceramic vs. steel grinders
Ceramic versus steel grinders has been a long and heated debate among baristas, with no clear winner. Ceramic coffee grinders are often used in manual coffee grinders because the blades will stay sharp longer.
Ceramic blades do not dull like most metal blades. They have a long life, even when used several times a day. These grinders are perfect for extracting the subtle flavors from espresso roasted coffee beans.
The steel blades are initially much sharper than the ceramic ones. This gives them a more consistent grind for the first year or so they are used.
Steel blades dull faster than ceramic blades. Ultimately, steel blades are sharper but do not last as long and ceramic blades are duller and last longer.
How to use a coffee grinder
Using a coffee grinder is a simple process that can be broken down into a few basic steps:
Choose your coffee beans: Choose the type of coffee beans you want to grind. For best results, choose freshly roasted beans that are within a week or two of their roasting date.
- Measure the desired amount of beans: Use a coffee scale to measure the desired amount of beans. A good starting point is a ratio of 1:16 (coffee to water) for drip coffee, but adjust to taste.
- Set the grind size: Most grinders have adjustable grind settings that allow you to control the size of the coffee particles. Different brewing methods require different grind sizes, so consult your brewing method for the appropriate grind setting.
- Grind the coffee: Once you’ve measured the beans and set the grind size, turn on the grinder and let it run until the beans are ground to the desired consistency. Be sure to hold the lid securely to prevent grounds from spilling out.
- Use the coffee: After grinding, transfer the grounds to a coffee maker or brewer and brew your coffee as usual.
- Cleaning the grinder: After use, it’s important to clean the grinder to prevent the buildup of old coffee grounds and oils that can affect the taste of future batches. Use a small brush or cloth to wipe out any remaining grounds, and regularly deep clean your grinder according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Remember that the quality of your grinder can greatly affect the taste of your coffee, so invest in a quality grinder if you’re serious about brewing great coffee at home.
Storage of Whole Beans and Ground Coffee
Coffee beans are damaged by oxygen, light and humidity, so keeping coffee beans from being exposed to these three things will preserve them better.
The oils found on the outside of roasted coffee beans break down when exposed to oxygen.
coffee beans in jars
Always keep your roasted coffee beans in an airtight container to preserve their natural oils. Many coffee roasters store their coffee beans in airtight bags that have a one-way air valve.
This valve lets out the carbon dioxide emitted by the freshly roasted beans, but does not let in outside air. These bags are specially designed to store freshly roasted coffee beans.
The light will also degrade the oils in the coffee beans. Never store your whole beans in clear containers. Coffee should not only be stored in airtight containers, but also in containers that protect it from direct sunlight.
Finally, humidity will allow bacteria and mold to accumulate in coffee beans. Molds that grow on coffee beans have the potential to produce toxins that are extremely detrimental to your health.
It is essential to store coffee in a dry place. Once whole coffee beans have been subjected to water, dry them immediately to prevent mold growth.
Final thoughts on how to grind coffee correctly
The most important factor when grinding coffee is consistency. It is easy to identify what size grind works best for your chosen brewing method, but consistency will make or break your coffee.
If your medium grind coffee has many larger chunks, the final product will be under-extracted. Even though the medium grind was the right choice and most of the coffee turned out as a medium grind, those bites of coarse grind coffee will spoil the final flavor.
This is because you cannot selectively extract the oils from certain parts of the coffee grounds while ignoring the others. The water with which you are brewing your coffee will extract the oils from all the coffee grounds equally.
For coffee grounds of different sizes, this will be a problem. Some of the beans will extract perfectly, while others may end up under- or over-extracted. This results in a mixture of extraction flavors in the final cup of coffee.
A uniform grind can be achieved with any grinder, but should be especially controlled when using manual grinders.
Burr grinders and automatic grinders will achieve a consistent grind no matter what, but manual and blade grinders will not.
What grind size should I use for my coffee maker?
Each brewing method has a grind size that works best. In general, fast or pressurized brewing methods will require a finer grind, so that they can extract the oils more easily.
Brewing methods that take longer or allow the coffee grounds to float freely in the water will require a coarser grind, so they do not extract the oils excessively.
At least 5 grind sizes should be considered
- Extra fine
- Extra Coarse
Extra fine coffee grounds have the consistency of flour. They usually require a special grinder because most commercial grinders cannot achieve this consistency.
The only preparation method that uses extra fine coffee grounds is Turkish coffee. Turkish coffee is served with the coffee grounds prepared at the bottom of the cup, which creates a slimy liquid.
Turkish coffee is extremely thick and rich like espresso due to the small size of the coffee grounds. The extra-fine grind allows the coffee to be extracted quickly and easily, resulting in an espresso-like flavor and a thick textured coffee.
Fine ground coffee has a consistency similar to the texture of salt. It is not exactly powdery, but the coffee grounds are smaller than grains of sand or salt. Finely ground coffee is most often used for espresso.
Espresso is a brewing method that directs pressurized, almost boiling water at the packed coffee grounds.
It is prepared in a matter of seconds. Finely ground coffee can achieve adequate oil extraction during this short brewing time because more of its surface is exposed to the hot water.
Finely ground coffee is also used for mocha coffee makers, which taste similar to espresso but are not as rich and take a little longer to brew.
Moka coffee makers use the steam from the boiling water to press the finely ground coffee, ultimately creating a flavorful brew.
Medium coarse coffee beans are the most common grind you will find. They are usually found in bags of pre-ground coffee that you buy at the supermarket. These coffee grounds have the texture of sand or granulated sugar.
Medium ground coffee is used for drip coffee. Drip coffee machines require a few minutes to properly soak the coffee grounds in hot water before they accumulate in the lower carafe, where the brewed coffee is served.
This same method is also used for automatic drip coffee. The most significant difference between drip coffee and automatic drip coffee is that the first is the person who manually pours the water and the other is an automatic coffee maker.
The medium ground coffee can also be used for the different drip methods because they are essentially the same preparation method.
Coarse ground coffee is mainly used for preparation methods in which coffee grounds are submerged and float freely under water for several minutes. Coarse ground coffee consists of large pieces of coffee beans. It has distinct particles.
Part of the preference for coarse ground coffee in immersion brewing methods is because large pieces of coffee are much easier to filter before serving than smaller pieces of coffee.
Coarse beans are used in French presses. French presses allow the coarse coffee grounds and hot water to mix freely together for 2-6 minutes before the pump filter separates the coffee grounds from the finished coffee.
Extra coarse coffee grounds are used when coffee must brew for a long time while floating freely in water. This makes it perfect for cold brew coffee. The granules and large chunks of Extra Coarse coffee are easy to remove once brewing is complete.
Cold brewed coffee requires submerging these large chunks of coffee beans in water at room temperature for up to 12 hours.
Due to the fact that this preparation process does not use heat, certain oils that tend to make coffee bitter are never extracted. This makes cold brewed coffee a much sweeter and smoother beverage.
The extra thick coffee grounds allow a long, slow extraction period to occur without over-extracting the coffee beans and making the final product bitter.
Freshly ground coffee generally tastes better than pre-ground coffee because it is more aromatic and has more flavor. This is because coffee beans contain volatile oils and flavors that begin to degrade as soon as they are ground. When you grind coffee beans, you expose more surface area of the beans to air, which causes the oils and flavors to evaporate more quickly. This is why pre-ground coffee, which has been exposed to air for longer, can taste stale or bland.
Freshly ground coffee, on the other hand, retains more of its volatile oils and flavors, which gives it a more complex and aromatic taste. The exact taste of freshly ground coffee will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of beans, the roast level, and the brewing method. However, in general, freshly ground coffee is considered to be superior to pre-ground coffee in terms of flavor and aroma. That’s why many coffee lovers prefer to grind their beans just before brewing.