How to Grind Coffee Beans

There are a lot of factors to consider when grinding coffee beans to get the maximum flavor of your coffee. This blog will discuss tips on how to grind in the coziness of your own kitchen.

First, know that making a delicious cup of coffee can’t happen without great beans. They need to be freshly roasted and should have as little exposure to air as possible.

Secondly, your beans should come in a bag that has a one way valve. The valve lets gases escape (degassing) after roasting them and prevents oxygen from getting into the bag. In fact, this is essential to preserve freshness! Note the round 3 hole valve in the bag below.

Tips for Grinding Coffee

  • When you are ready to brew, only grind the amount of beans you are going to use. Coffee grounds start to lose their flavor within 30 minutes of grinding.
  • If you don’t want to keep the beans in a bag, put them in an air tight container like a mason jar and store them in a dark place.
  • Make sure your type of grind is meant for the type of brew you are going to use (discussed later in the blog).
  • The type of grinder you use will determine the consistency of your grind size. Burr grinders provide a better consistency than blade grinders.

Grinding Coffee Can be Tricky

There are two types of coffee grinders; a burr grinder and a blade grinder. Both will be discussed. Amazon has a great selection of both grinders. check it out.

Burr Grinders:

A burr grinder uses two serrated/jagged burrs that work together to grind coffee beans like a pepper mill. By changing the burr settings you can go from a fine grind to a coarse grind. There are two types of burr grinders. They both work the same way. When the beans drop into the grinder, they are ground up as the burrs rotate.

Flat burr grinders are flat rings that rest on top of each other. One of them faces up and the other faces down. This type of grinder produces more heat than the conical grinder and may affect the flavor. The major downfall of using this type of grinder is that coffee grounds can get trapped between the burrs and be difficult to clean.

Conical burr grinders have one burr that drops down over another conical shaped burr. They are easy to clean using a coffee brush and soft cloth.

The burrs can be ceramic or stainless steel. Ceramic burrs are more durable and can produce a finer grind. Although, a stainless steel burr grinder is cheaper. They both produce excellent grind consistency.

The following photos are of stainless steel burr grinders. In the first photo, the top burr drops down over the lower burr. Notice how the lower burr is conical shaped in the second photo?

Blade Grinders:

Blade grinders are a lot cheaper than burr grinders and they can grind other foods besides coffee beans such as nuts, herbs, etc. However, the biggest downfall is that they don’t produce consistent grinds like the burr grinders do. They have one blade that grinds as you press the pulsate button. The grind level is determined by how long you press the pulsate button. The longer the time pressed the finer the grind.

Here are examples of blade grinders that do a good job grinding medium-fine to coarse grinds. This Hamilton Beach model is really nice, because after removing the lid, you can lift the container holding the grinds out of the machine and pour them in the brewer. This Krups model doesn’t do that. You have to remove the lid and pour the grinds directly from the machine into the brewer or else scoop the grinds out of the machine’s grind container.

My mom uses both types of grinders, but she likes the burr grinder on the right the best.

Grind Type and Brew Method

Choosing the right grind type to go with your choice of brewing is critical if you want great tasting coffee. Below is a list that will help you make the right choices.

  • Espresso-uses extra fine to fine grounds (resembles powder to salt), takes 22 seconds to brew.
  • Moka Pot-uses medium-fine grounds (resembles powdery beach sand), takes 5 minutes to brew
  • Siphon Brewer-uses medium-fine grounds, takes a little over a minute to brew
  • Single serve type (Keurig K-cup)-uses medium-fine to medium grounds (resembles powdery sand to regular sand), takes 1 minute to brew
  • Automatic drip coffee makers use medium-fine to medium grounds, takes 6-8 minutes to brew
  • AeroPress-uses medium grounds (resembles sand), takes 2 to 3 minutes to brew
  • Pour Over-uses a medium grind, takes 3-5 minutes to brew
  • Chemex-uses a medium to medium coarse grind (resembles sand to kosher salt), takes 2 minutes 45 seconds to 3 minutes and 30 seconds to brew
  • French Press-uses a coarse grind (resembles sea salt to tiny flecks of beans), takes 4 minutes to brew
  • Cold Brew-uses a coarse to extra coarse grind (resembles chunky pieces of coffee beans), takes 12 to 32 hours in cold water to brew

Why Grind Size Matters in a Nutshell

Grind size affects flavor. To get in depth information about the process, go online and search “coffee extraction.” There is probably more learning material on the subject than you want to read. In the meantime, here is a basic description of how it works.

With a fine grind there is a large surface area. It takes some time for the water to go through the grinds. If the water sits on the coffee grounds for too long the coffee can taste bitter.

With a coarse grind there is a small surface area. It doesn’t take long for the water to pass through the coffee grounds. If the water passes too quickly the coffee tastes weak.

In conclusion, there is a great deal to think about when you grind coffee. Certainly the end result is a delicious cup of coffee! Hopefully, you have learned a few basic things by reading this blog.

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