The grind is the single most important variable in coffee brewing. It is also an extremely complex one. In this post, I am hoping to clarify things for you, as well as help you understand when to change your grind.
Grinding fresh is always the best option for brewing coffee. Coffee contains many volatile aromatics, and when you grind coffee, these immediately begin to dissipate into the air. Grinding fresh helps to preserve more flavour, and will create a better tasting coffee.
However, not everyone wants to buy a grinder. That is okay! We offer all of our coffees as either whole-bean, or ground to your brewing method.
If you want to get into grinding your own coffee, we offer two great options.
The Wilfa Svart grinder is a fantastic addition to your morning routine. It's what I use at home, and it is a brilliant grinder for those who don't want a workout every time they need coffee.
If you don't mind hand-grinding your coffee, the Hario Mini Mill PLUS is a brilliant piece of kit at a lower price.
Both of these grinders are burr grinders. This means they have two burrs, which grind against each other, producing a consistent grind size which is easily adjustable.
The Golden Rule of Grinding
If your coffee tastes sour, acidic or sharp, grind finer. If your coffee tastes bitter, dry or astringent, grind coarser.
Grinding for Cafetiere and Aeropress
Grinding for these brewers is quite simple. The reason the grind is so important is because it changes the total surface area of the coffee. The finer you grind, the greater the surface area. With a larger surface area, there is more coffee fully exposed to water, so a finer grind will extract more. Refer to the 'golden rule of grinding' to determine what you should set your grinder to.
Grinding for Pour-over
Grinding for pour-over brewers can be a little bit more complex, because the grind size will actually change the brew time. Think about water as an example. It'll flow through rocks very quickly, but it'll be slower going through sand, as there is less space between each particle. So grinding finer will extract more in two ways.
Firstly it will increase the surface area, just like in our aeropress/cafetiere example.
Secondly, it will take longer to draw down. This increased contact time between the water and coffee helps to extract more.
To conclude, grinding finer will extract more, which is good until your coffee starts to taste dry, bitter and astringent.
As with any variable in coffee brewing, play around with it, find what works for you, and have fun making the best cup you can!
I'd love to hear your experiences with grind size. Drop me a message on Instagram @moonroastcoffee !
If you have any questions, leave a comment below.