Freshly grinding coffee using a coffee grinder is one of the easiest ways of brewing fresh coffee at home or in the workplace. If you don’t already own a coffee grinder, we highly recommend investing in one, as it will greatly enhance the quality of coffee you make. If you’re already using a coffee grinder, we’ve put together some of our top tips to make sure you’re making the most of it.
Choose the right coffee grinder
There are a variety of different coffee grinders available on the market. Blade grinders, burr grinders and hand burr grinders. Blade grinders use a rotating sharp blade to slice your coffee beans up, like a blender, until the coffee beans are in grounds. The fineness of coffee ground produced can be controlled through pulsing the power button. Unfortunately, blade grinders aren’t the most precise method of grinding coffee and can result in an uneven grind with course and fine particles being mixed together.
Burr grinders offer a step up in precision. Burrs, either conical or flat, ground the coffee beans into more even, uniform grinds. You can use a manual grinder that has a hand crank (offering a great bit of exercise), or you can choose to invest in an electric burr grinder, which has grind settings ranging from course to fine.
For most then, an electric burr grinder is the best option, offering ease of use and greater precision to produce the best cup of coffee.
Keep your coffee grinder clean
As with commercial espresso and bean to cup machines, coffee grinders need to be cleaned regularly, in order to prevent the build-up of coffee residue and excess coffee grounds. We’ve previously published a detailed post on how to clean your commercial coffee machine. In general, after every use of your coffee grinder, you should make sure to discard any excess coffee grounds. Every week you should clear the grind chamber and hopper of your coffee grinder – this will prevent coffee becoming more bitter. A deep clean should be carried out every three to six months.
Use the correct grind setting
Every cup of coffee you make will require a specific grind. Make sure you’re using the right grind setting for the type of coffee you have in mind and be sure to update the grind setting anytime you change the brewing method. If you’re starting out with a new coffee grinder, the settings may need to be adjusted a few times before they’re considered perfect but be patient. There are a number of grind settings you’ll need to be familiar with when making your coffee:
- Extra Course – As large a ground as you can go on most burr grinders. Similar in size to ground peppercorns. This ground is often found in Cold Brew.
- Course – A course grind should be a similar size to sea salt. This ground is often found in French press coffee brewing.
- Medium Course – Used for automatic coffee makers. This ground is a similar in size to rough sand.
- Medium – Used for flat-bottomed filters and cone-shaped filters including manual pour overs. Similar in consistency to normal sand.
- Fine – Generally the most common grind size you’ll likely come across. Its consistency is smooth, as fine as sugar. This ground is used in espresso.
- Extra Fine – Similar to flour or powdered sugar in texture. Used in Turkish coffee. Often times and Turkish coffee grinder must be used to achieve this fine a ground.
Keep your grind consistent
There are a number of factors that will affect the size and grind of your coffee, including the origin, variety, roast profile and processing method. Make sure to carry out thorough research into the type of coffee beans you are thinking of buying and how they might affect the end grind result. Experiment with controlling the grind size, as this will open the door to the manipulation of coffee extraction – and subsequently coffee flavour.
The quality of your coffee grinder will also affect your grind consistency. Due to most coffee beans shattering instead of neatly cracking, all coffee grinders, despite how expensive, will always have some degree of grind inconsistency. Typically, the larger grind particles will under-extract whilst the smaller particles will over-extract, leading to unpredictable coffee.
In the pursuit of the perfect coffee, no variable is too small to consider. By getting the right, consistent grind size, you can craft brew recipes to your exact preferences.
Grind coffee immediately before brewing
To produce a coffee that is as fresh as possible, you should be grinding your coffee immediately before brewing. By brewing your coffee immediately after the grinding process has taken place, you capture all of the aromas that are created, resulting in a fresh coffee bursting with interesting flavours. If you negate to grind your coffee immediately before brewing takes place, your coffee will lack flavour, and a unique aroma.
With these top tips, you’re now set to make the perfect cup of ground coffee.