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Does the grind of your coffee really make that much of a difference? Absolutely it does! Every brewing method works differently and requires a different grind level. Over-extraction or under-extraction may lead to a disappointing cup even if the beans themselves are top-notch, so learning about the correct grind level for optimum extraction is very important for coffee connoisseurs.
“Extraction” is the pulling of flavors from coffee beans into water. All sorts of compounds end up in your cup, some dissolving in shorter contact with water and heat, others requiring much longer exposure. To get the best cup, it is necessary to extract the right amounts of the right compounds, and to avoid the bad-tasting ones (even the finest coffees will turn bitter if over-extracted!). Over-extracted coffee tends to be very bitter while under-extracted coffee tends to taste flat. Different extraction methods require different amounts of ground coffee, different amounts of contact time – see our brewing tips here – and especially different grind levels.
When trying new coffees, you may need to experiment with contact time and amount of grounds to find the cup that suits your tastes perfectly, but if you frequently feel that your coffee is “too bitter” or “too weak,” consider adjusting your grind level first. Here are guidelines that will help you decide the best grind level for your brewing method.
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BCT’s “Guide to Grinds”
Coarse Grind – Chunky, similar to potting soil. Recommended Brewing Methods: French Press, Cold Brew, Percolator, Cupping
Medium Coarse Grind – Less chunky, like bread crumbs. Recommended Brewing Methods: Chemex, Flat Bottom Drip Machines
Medium Grind – Approx size of Kosher salt. Recommended Brewing Methods: Cone Drip Machines
Medium Fine Grind – Between Kosher salt and table salt, like coarse sand. Recommended Brewing Methods:AeroPress, Siphon Machines, Vacuum Pots, Single-Serving Pour Over
Fine Grind – Like table salt or crystal sugar. Recommended Brewing Methods: Espresso, Moka Pot
Very Fine Grind – Like powdered sugar or flour, often called “Turkish Grind.” Recommended Brewing Methods: Turkish
These are just general guidelines and everyone has their own personal preferences. Let us know if there is a grind that you like for a specific brewing method.
- Tips: Better Coffee Roasting with a Roaster’s Journal
- Tips: Roasting Better Coffee
- Tips: Brewing Better Coffee
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