One of the most important, and oftentimes overlooked steps in the coffee making process is the coffee grind. Too coarse or too fine a grind can make or break the flavour and intensity of your brewed coffee - it's a fine balancing act.
Though pre-ground coffee is now readily available, the quality will be incomparable with the likes of freshly ground coffee beans. It’s therefore important to understand the proper coffee grind required for your favoured brewing methods and to acquaint yourself with a coffee grinder.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of your coffee grind, as well as the best grind for various coffee makers.
Why is coffee grind important?
Each brewing method is designed to extract coffee in a unique way. Due to this, to get the best extraction out of your fresh coffee beans, you need to ensure you choose the right coffee grind. Coffee grind will determine how quickly or slowly water passes through your coffee grind, directly impacting the taste of your coffee.
If water flows too quickly through your coffee, you will likely end up with a watery, under-extracted coffee. This coffee will lack intensity and have a shallow flavour profile, due to its dilation.
On the other hand, if water flows too slowly through your coffee grind, the opposite will occur. You will produce an over-extracted coffee, with overpowering characteristics and an oversaturated flavour profile.
French Press - Coarse
Brewing coffee with a French Press calls for a coarse, even grind. We recommend starting with a 1:12 coffee-to-water ratio. If you're using 350 grams of water, you’ll want 30 grams of coffee.
This coarse grind allows for longer contact time between the water and coffee, allowing the coffee to be fully extracted within the 4-5 minute brewing period. Grinding the coffee too coarse will make the coffee weak. Grinding too fine will make the coffee murky and taste bitter.
Manual Pour Over - Medium
For Pour Over coffee, the best grind to use is a medium-coarse grind. A medium-coarse grind will be similar in size to a French press grind but less chunky and will feel slightly smoother. If you are using a cone-shaped pour over, then use a medium-fine coffee grind instead.
As Pour Overs use less water, it’s more difficult to extend the brew time, so the finer grind will help extract the coffee quickly. Additionally, the resistance from the finer coffee grounds will help the water drip more slowly.
Espresso - Fine
For stovetop espresso makers, a fine coffee grind is needed. A fine grind should be similar in size and feel to that of sugar or sand. Due to the reduced time in contact with water, a fine grind is required to ensure the coffee is extracted to its full potential.
If you were to use a coarse grind, the water would not be able to extract the flavour from the beans. Due to this, espresso is the most sensitive of coffee types when it comes to the size of the grind of coffee beans and brewing good coffee. If the grind is just slightly finer or coarser, it can drastically affect the end taste of the espresso.
Turkish - Extra Fine
Turkish coffee is essentially very strong coffee with fine grinds in it. Based on that description alone, it’s a no-brainer that this kind of coffee requires an extra fine grind. To give you an idea of size, the coffee grinds should resemble powdered sugar, making it even finer than what’s used in espresso.
Due to the unique requirements, many traditional coffee grinders cannot accommodate Turkish Coffee. Infast, Turkish coffee grinders exist solely to produce a coffee grind suitable for this brewing method.