Grinding coffee can be confusing, but I’m here to help make it easier for you.
The trick is, you always want to match the grind to the method you’ll be using to brew your coffee. There is Coarse, Medium, and Fine grinds and each grind is used for the following methods: A Coarse grind is used for a French Press (plunger), Toddy Makers (cold brew) and Vacuum Coffee. A Medium grind is for Chemex and Auto Drip makers (flat bottom filters). Fine grind is for Stove Top Espresso Pots and Espresso Machines. You can also use a Medium/Fine grind for Drip coffee makers (cone shaped filters). Use a Super Fine grind when making Turkish coffee.
Now that you know the types of grind you need for your specific method of brewing, it’s important to know what to use to grind your coffee beans. There is a huge debate online about which is the best method for grinding, blade or burr grinding, so let’s examine both options.
Blade grinders are less expensive and more common in households. This type of grinder usually has a clear plastic top that covers the coffee bean reservoir. The beans are poured into the reservoir and the top is replaced to start grinding.
Remember not to hold down the trigger down and expect to get an even grind. You’ll need to grind in short bursts by using the pulse method and you’ll get an evenly ground result, which will lead to a much tastier pot of coffee. Also, don’t over grind as you could end up making your coffee brew with a bitter taste. Be sure you have a hold on the top of the unit and give it a shake during pulses so that the grounds get well mixed while grinding. This will make the grind much smoother and consistent.
For a Course grind use short pulses for a total of 8 to 10 seconds, a Medium grind should be short bursts of 10 to 15 seconds and a Fine grind should be a few seconds longer then Medium. Basically your eyeballing your grind, but don’t worry, once you get into a rhythm or timing your grind you’ll know for the next time. Experiment with various grind times and pulse variations until you’ve found exactly what you like.
Suggested Grinding Times based on Brew Method:
French Press – 900 Microns (6-9 seconds)
Percolator – 800 Microns (7-10 seconds)
Metal Filter – 700 Microns (10-12 seconds)
Paper Filter (cone shape) – 500 Microns (12-15 seconds)
Espresso – 300 Microns (15-19 seconds)
Turkish – 100 Microns (19-22 seconds)
Burr grinders work by pulverizing the coffee beans between two plates known as the “burrs”. The burr grinder uses uniform pressure and rotation to essentially “crush” the beans into the perfect consistency. They can achieve this at low speeds, meaning there is no added heat and you maintain a precise and consistent uniform grind. which will result in the best flavorful cup of coffee you’ve have ever had.
There are two kinds of Burr Grinders, one is called the Flat Burr grinder and it consists of two flat burrs that press against each other and pulverize the coffee beans into a uniform grind. The second type of Burr grinder is called the Conical Burr grinder (more expensive) and has one flat burr and one cone-shaped burr. So which one will give you a better result?
They both use preset grinding methods that you have chosen for your particular grind, so it all comes down to price.
Here's an infographic describing each brew method and grind:
In conclusion, the type of grind (course, medium or fine) is for you to choose when you’ve decided on your method of brewing. Definitely experiment in small increments to get the flavor and consistency you want. Happy grinding!
Your Beachin' Barista