The way you grind your coffee is the first step toward influencing how your coffee tastes. This step is important because you can have the highest quality coffee, the perfect roast, pure water, premium filters, and an excellent coffee maker but you can still ruin it all if you use an incorrect grind.
Here is some basic knowledge about coffee grinding to help you making the perfect coffee.
The basics of grinding coffee is: break down the roasted coffee bean to expose the interior of the bean to the right amount of oils and flavors to be extracted. Ground coffee has much more surface area than whole bean coffee, allowing the water to contact with the coffee when brewing, that extracting as much coffee and flavors as possible.
The rules for a perfect coffee grinding are:
1. Grind your coffee just moments before brewing (fresh)
2. Choose the right grind size (fineness/coarseness)
3. Select and use a high quality coffee grinder
4. Keep your coffee grinder clean
These are the cheapest grinders for general-purpose coffee making. Blade grinders use a sharp metal blade to literally chop up your coffee beans. As the blade spins, the coffee beans are chopped. You control the fineness of the grind by "pulsing" the power button until you feel satisfied. With this method, it can be difficult to decide how much coffee to grind, and how fine to grind it. A problem is that if you are trying to grind fine, you should be grinding for longer time. As a result, they can horribly hack and slice your beans, leaving an uneven grind with course and fine particles in the same batch. This also can give your final coffee a burned taste and destroy other flavors. In summary, these grinders are not always precise and, unless you wanna go cheap, they are not recommended.
Burr grinders are the right ones for a more perfect union of bean and grind. These grinders crush the beans between a moving grinding wheel and a non-moving surface. The burr position can be adjusted to regulate the grind size. Because burr grinders grind a few beans at a time, they provide a much more consistent grind. There are two different types of grinds in the burr category:
- Wheel Burr. The less expensive of these two types. Precision is good for a home use. You can even get a truly fine espresso grind. But, they can also run hot and, if not careful, can scorch the beans. Furthermore, the higher wheel speed can make this type a little more messy and noisy.
- Conical Burr. These are the best grinders. The burr spins slower than the wheel one, which makes them quieter and less messy. These are a bit more expensive, but are the choice of both coffee professionals and enthusiasts alike and it is definitely worth the price. They provide precision grinds, even for Turkish coffee.
But if you really want to go cheap you could try a hand grinder. They work on the same principle, except that your arm substitutes the electric motor. The problem is that it takes lot of effort to get even a small brew and it would take a bit of time till you finally can drink your coffee.
This type of grind leaves the largest granules of coffee. It is preferred for French Presses or the percolator method of brewing.
Medium grinds have a consistency of granulated sugar and are recommended for vacuum and certain types of drip coffee makers. Because of its versatile size, it can also be used for other brewing methods, but not for espresso.
It is also known as espresso grind. This is a grind with a powdery consistency used in espresso makers and Neapolitan flip-drips, though electric drip and filter brews can use it as well.
Finally the pulverized grind. Like fine flour, this extremely fine grind is perfect for Turkish coffee and usually needs to be ground in a special grinder.