The coffee enthusiasts are often raving about the precise grind for each cup. While there is little public knowledge about why coarse ground coffee is preferred over the finer one, many people seem to believe this. The opposite of this is also true.
That’s where we can help! We’ll go through the entire topic of coarse ground coffee, a critical element of two of the most common manual brewing methods: the French Press and cold brew.
We’ve covered everything from the various brewing methods to figuring out the desired fineness of the grind.
The Grind and Its Basics
Let’s begin with the fundamentals. For anyone curious, well, the grind does matter and has an impact on the final result of your brew. You may be able to substitute a medium to fine grind for the necessary coarse ground coffee.
Is it easy to brew? Nope. Will the final product be as tasty? No, again. So, use the suitable grind to enhance your experience. When we say “correct” or “the right grind”, we mean several grind sizes, not just one with any particular size.
The settings would otherwise only be six, and even the most basic grinders would have about 16. Therefore, there is still scope for experimenting, but anything with a granular, smooth, salt-like texture should not be used instead of an extra coarse grind coffee.
It’s all about the amount of surface area and the amount of time it takes to extract it. Due to the more average surface area and less surface area per granule, too-fine coffee extracts too much flavor. As a result, the coffee would be bitter and over-extracted. It can also clog your brewing machine or not be filtered out in some instances.
Put it another way; if you select one of the coarse grinds in a semi-automatic espresso maker that needs a highly uniform, fine grind, you’ll end up with some bad-tasting coffee. It’ll be under-extracted, flavorless, and thin.
The Choice Between Coarse and Fine Grinds
To better present what we’re referring to, coarse grounds (especially grounded at home) will resonate more color variation than fine grounds. There will be separate, clumpy coffee bean bits in the mix. You should also be able to separate and differentiate between various granules.
On the other end, fine grinds will have a lot more smooth texture when you hold them in your hand. It may be challenging to pick up, isolate or even differentiate between individual granules by their exact fineness.
A medium grind falls in the middle, with a rough texture and clear granules but no whole bits.
What’s the Need for Coarse Grind?
For slow extraction, a coarse grind is the best choice. As a result, any soaking brew will benefit immensely from coarse ground coffee.
Because of the greater surface area per granule and the lower overall surface touch, water takes longer to extract all of the grounds’ taste. Therefore, any process in which the grounds are steeped in water before being filtered is ideal for a smooth, clumpy coarse grind. Cold Brew and French Press are two of the most common methods for using this form of grind.
Let’s start with the immersion style of cold brew, which uses a coarse grind. This brew can be made with a set of options, including a French Press. However, they all have one thing in common: they store cold or room temperature water in a big canister with your grounds.
This is a lengthy steeping method, which necessitates a coarse grind. A cold-brew process takes between 14 and 20 hours to complete. You can filter with various filters such as reusable material, metal, or paper, or disposable filters.
If you’re using a fine grind, you can extract too much substrate from coffee leading to over-extraction.
French Press is another drink that uses a coarse grind. Here’s a short rundown for those who aren’t acquainted with how this approach works. Grounds are set in a chamber that resembles a standard decanter, and hot water is poured over them. You have to wait for a couple of minutes as the water and grounds soak, leading to the creation of a coffee brew.
At this stage, the user puts on a top with a plunger (usually stainless steel). It discharges all of the coarser grounds to the bottom while allowing the brew to flow into the pot, which is ready to serve.
When using French Press, there are a few good reasons for a coarse grind. The key one is what we discussed earlier about steeping. Since steeping for a hot brew takes a long time, a coarse grind is preferred.
However, to ensure that the grounds get extracted, you will need to coarse grind the beans. The lack of filter paper means that smaller particles can go through the permanent filter and make your coffee taste bad.
How Does the Coarse Grind Look Like?
One of the most common problems people are facing when looking for the right grind size is not understanding what they’re searching for. You can hear terms like “coarse grind” and “fine grind” thrown around. You’re probably also aware of which one you’re going to use.
But, mainly if you’re grinding at home, how do you determine if what you’re using is the right size? Here’s a simple comparison that we are using to aid ourselves while we’re grinding.
- Extra coarse appears like rock salt and is very clumpy.
- Coarse is somewhat like sea salt, i.e., visibly chunky.
- Medium-coarse is like rough sand, less chunky than coarse.
- Medium resembles regular sand.
- Medium fine has a small granulated appearance.
- Fine has particles smaller than table salt, and granules are difficult to feel.
- Extra fine or Turkish is of the same texture as powdered sugar or flour.
Even with budget-level burr grinders, medium-coarse is the simplest of the three coarse grinds to produce. Conversely, Extra coarse is notoriously hard to obtain unless you have a much more advanced grinding machine.
This guide should help you understand why you should use a coarse grind for some brewing methods. We have described everything from what the process is to why it is used, which grinding you should be used, what it looks like compared to other grinding methods.
Therefore, before you go and buy a bag of medium or finely grounded coffee to put in your French Press or cold-brew, we suggest you return to this page to refresh your knowledge of the art of the grind.