Back to the Grind: Grinding Your Beans for the Best Cup

Is coffee a part of your “daily grind”? Perfecting the coffee-grinding process is a simple way to turn the average cup of joe into a finely brewed delicacy.

The science behind the grind comes down to the particle size. Both the size of the coffee particles and the time spent in contact with water affects the flavor of the brewed coffee. A finer grind results in more available surface area, affecting the amount of time needed to extract the optimal flavor.

Differing coarseness can be achieved by equipment like blade grinders and burr grinders. Blade grinders – also known as coffee mills – are a simple, inexpensive solution for coffee drinkers who prefer a traditional drip maker or French press. The downside of the blade grinder, however, is in its inconsistent, pulverizing method of extraction. Coffee drinkers who enjoy fine or super-fine grounds will prefer a burr grinder, a piece of equipment in which beans fall between two revolving abrasive surfaces and are ground accurately depending on pre-determined coarseness settings.

To determine your favorite grind, compare it to consistencies commonly found in the kitchen:

·         Coarse grind - chunky consistency with distinct particles; best for French press brews

·         Medium grind - sand-like consistency; best for auto-drip coffee makers with flat-bottom filters or a Chemex pour-over brewer

·         Medium to fine grind - rough sugary consistency; best for a TruBru pour-over

·         Fine grind - sugar or salt-like consistency; best for drip coffee makers or stove-top espresso pots

·         Super-fine grind - flour-like consistency with slight grit; best for espresso

·         Turkish grind - flour, powder-like consistency; best for Turkish-style coffee

Matching the correct grind for your preferred brewing method will bring out the best flavors in the bean and yield the most delicious cup possible, but no matter your preferred grind, the key ingredient of a perfect cup comes down to the beans.