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Allann Bros Coffee - Coffee Education

Grinding Coffee: Choosing the correct grind

Determining the coffee grind to use is dependent upon which coffee brewing method is used. Do you brew your coffee in an automatic drip machine, a French Press, a toddy maker, or an espresso machine? Or do you just throw some ground coffee in boiling water? Whatever coffee brewing method you employ, make sure to grind the coffee to fit the coffee brewing equipment's specifications. It is important to remember that one coffee grind does not fit all.

* The coffee grind influences coffee's flavor
Picking the correct coffee grind will have a direct impact on the flavor and caffeine extraction of your coffee. The particle size impacts extraction, and the degree of extraction will determine the amount of flavor removed. Too little extraction produces weak, underdeveloped coffee and over-extraction produces coffee with too much bitterness.

Generally, the shorter the coffee brewing process, the finer the coffee grind should be. For example, coffee ground for an espresso machine should be very fine because the brew cycle is only 19 to 22 seconds long. If too coarse a coffee grind is used, the lack of friction will allow the water will flow right through, resulting in a weak espresso shot. If the coffee is ground too fine, the water can't flow through easily, so it will sit too long in the coffee grounds and result in an over-extracted and bitter-tasting espresso shot.

* General coffee grinding guidelines
Always grind your coffee beans right before brewing in order to ensure the freshest taste. Here are some suggestions for what coffee grind to use at home.

  • Coarse Coffee Grind: Use in a French Press or Percolator
    • When brewing coffee in a French Press or Percolator, the coffee grounds are in contact with water for a relatively long period of time (2-4 minutes, depending on volume). Because of the longer brew cycle, a coarse coffee grind with larger granules is recommended.

  • Medium Coffee Grind: Use in Regular Drip coffee machines or Flat-bottomed filter
    • This coffee grind resembles sugar and is used primarily with vacuum and flat-bottom drip makers. It is the most versatile grind and suits most drip brewing methods.

  • Fine Coffee Grind: Use with drip and other filter brewing methods
    • Not all drip coffee machines and filters are the same. Although a medium grind works with most drip coffee machines, it may be necessary to experiment with a grind that is a bit finer. A fine coffee grind will have a texture similar to cornmeal, and is fine enough to hold and slow down the flow of water passing through the coffee as it sits in the paper filter. A fine grind can also be used with a Neapolitan flip-drip.

  • Espresso Coffee Grind: Use with espresso machines
    • Grinding coffee for espresso is probably the most difficult to get right. The coffee grind needs to be fine enough to increase the pressure required to push the water through the filter and create a good crema. But if the grind is too fine, the ground coffee can block the coffee filter. Generally, espresso coffee grind resembles a mixture of powdered sugar and fine beach sand. Since each espresso machine is a bit different, you may have to experiment to get the coffee grind just right.

* Choosing a coffee grinder
Coffee flavor also depends on the consistency of the coffee grind. The coffee grinder is the missing link to unlock the secret to making a great cup of coffee at home. It is uncelebrated and under appreciated, but using a sub par coffee grinder will produce a sub par cup of coffee.

If your coffee tastes bitter, it may be due to over extraction caused by too fine of a grind. When coffee tastes weak or flat, it is due to under extraction caused by too coarse of a coffee grind. Next time you purchase Allann Bros coffee, discuss with the customer service team how you will be preparing your coffee and they can help you determine the best coffee grind.

  • Blade Grinder
    • A blade grinder is usually the most economical choice. You control the grind by the time you allow the blade grinder to run. The longer the run time, the finer the coffee grind. Using the blade grinder method is sufficient and you will be way ahead of the game by grinding your coffee just before brewing it, but it is difficult to get consistent granule size with a blade grinder.
  • Burr Grinder
    • For a more consistent grind, we recommend using a burr grinder. The burr grinder is a modern upgrade to the millstone grinding method. A burr grinder has either discs or cones that that fit together very precisely and crush the coffee beans into uniform size, providing the greatest consistency. Changing the setting on the grinder controls the grind size.



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