Grinding coffee at home is an excellent way to improve your coffee experience. The fresher your coffee is when you brew it, the better it is going to taste. To help you get the most flavor out of your coffee beans, this post will cover a variety of methods to show how anyone can grind their own coffee at home. But first, let’s cover the…
Regardless of what you are using to pulverize your perfectly roasted beans into grounds, there are a few basic principles to keep in mind:
1. Grind Size
Using the correct particle size in ground coffee is one of the most important steps in coffee brewing. In general, a finer grind will produce a more intense brew and a coarser grind will produce a less intense brew. At the same time, a grind that is too fine will produce an over-extracted, astringent brew, and a grind that is too coarse will produce a weak, under-extracted brew lacking flavor.
Not sure what grind size to use? Here’s a handy guide:
COARSE (looks like Kosher or sea salt)
Cold Brew Coffee, French Press, Percolator, Coffee Cupping
MEDIUM (looks like sand particles)
Pour-over Brewers, Auto-Drip Coffee Machines, Aeropress (with 3+ minute brew time)
FINE (looks a bit finer than granulated sugar)
Espresso, Moka Pot (Stovetop Espresso Maker), Aeropress (with 1 minute brew time)
The size of the grounds should be consistent or uniform, meaning you don’t want to see large bits and super tiny bits in your grind. The reason: it is easier for smaller particles to become water soluble than larger ones. If there is a wide variety in the size of the particles in your coffee grinds, there will be a wide variety in the extraction time of your brew. The more consistent your grind size, the easier it is to extract the full flavor from your brewed coffee.
Now that we’ve got the basics covered, the next step is how to get the best grind at home!
How to grind your coffee
The Burr Grinder
Burr grinders are made of two burred plates with ridges that draw in and crush / grind the beans to a uniform size. This is what the pros use, and with good reason. Burr grinders deliver the most consistent grind with the least amount of work on your part. Just fill up the hopper, turn the dial to your desired grind setting, and turn it on. A burr grinder will cost between $60 — $250 depending on what features it comes with.
The Blade Grinder
While not ideal, a blade grinder will do a fine job if you put in a little effort. The first thing to remember is to pulse grind. Don’t grind all the coffee beans needed for your brew at once, instead, grind smaller quantities and pause regularly to shake the grinder. This will loosen all the bits and help you get a more uniform grind.
Take your blade grind to the next level: Got a sieve?
Sift the grounds through your sieve until you are left with just the large pieces. Then grind those large bits again until you are left with just medium and small grinds.
Pro-tip: Use a paper towel to get rid of the ‘fines’
‘Fines’ is coffee lingo for the tiniest powdery particles in ground coffee. Too many fines will leave your coffee tasting bitter and over-extracted. A nifty trick to get rid of them is to dump all of your grinds onto a paper towel and then rub them down into the paper towel with your fingers. A few passes is all it will take. Then gently transfer the grinds onto a plate (or right into your brewer). This will trap the powdery fines on the paper towel, leaving you with the best (most uniform and consistent) grind possible from a blade grinder.