Did you know that coffee loses most of its flavor and aroma just fifteen minutes after you grind it? As soon as you grind coffee, the compounds inside the beans that give them their amazing flavor and aroma immediately start to oxidize and dissipate.
It doesn’t matter if you have super high quality beans from Don Pablo either—they’ll oxidize and lose their flavor just as rapidly as cheaper beans. So the only way to brew a perfect cup of coffee in the morning is to wake up early and grind the beans yourself with an inexpensive high quality grinder like this. We actually have on in our office, our team uses it quite often.
Having to set the alarm a few minutes early is a bit of a bummer, but trust us, it’s worth it! The process will go super quickly too if you know what you’re doing.
To help you out, we thought we’d put this guide together on how to grind coffee beans for the perfect cup of coffee. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about grinding coffee beans so you don’t lose too much sleep in your pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee!
Choosing the Best Coffee Grinder
Choosing the right coffee grinder can save you a lot of time in the morning. Manual coffee grinders like this one from JavaPresse are usually a lot cheaper than automatic ones. But of course automatic grinders save the most amount of time and convenience. An automatic coffee grinder that’s quite inexpensive like this one from Cuisinart will save you tons of time in the morning, especially if you want to sleep a bit more. Manual grinders require you to turn a hand crank and grind the beans yourself, like an old car window (who remembers this?).
We don’t know about you, but that’s not what we want to be doing first thing in the morning!
If you really want to splurge, here’s the Mercedes Benz of coffee grinders. It handles dosing for you, so you’ll never need to weigh your coffee beans out on a scale again (to find out what the best coffee scales of 2019 are be sure to read this). You can just tell the machine how many cups of coffee you’ll be brewing or how many grams of coffee you need, and it’ll grind the beans to perfection. Did someone say robots are taking over?
Take it from us—extra features like that will make your life so much easier in the mornings. Nobody wants to break out a really expensive coffee scale and weigh a bunch of coffee beans at 6 AM!
Burr Grinder vs Blade Grinder
One last thing to remember when choosing a coffee grinder is to go with a burr grinder, not a blade grinder. Blade grinders pretty much ruin coffee beans! They grind the beans unevenly, which leads to an uneven extraction and a bitter or sour tasting cup of coffee. Yuck!
Burr grinders create an even grind, which results in a much yummier cup of coffee that you can fully enjoy in your favorite mug! Baristas and coffee lovers all agree that burr grinders are the best, so get your hands on one as soon as you can! Here’s a selection of some of the best burr grinders you can get if you’re interested.
Choosing the Right Grind Size
Making sure you grind your coffee beans to the right size is super important! You have to tailor your grind size to the type of coffee-making-equipment you’re using, or else you’ll end up with over or under extracted coffee that tastes pretty bad!
Nothing ruins a peaceful morning like a sour tasting cup of coffee right?
As a general rule, coffee machines that have short brew times require finer grounds, and machines that have long brew times require coarser grounds. So for example, you wouldn’t want to use coarse coffee grounds in an espresso machine since the extraction time is only around 30 seconds.
Likewise, you wouldn’t want to use fine coffee grounds in a French Press because the brew time is much longer. You’d end up with a super sour, over extracted cup of coffee if you did that! Want to learn more, here’s an article about why French Pressed coffee is so delicious when done right!
Different Types of Grind Settings
Some coffee grinders have dozens of grind settings, so it can be tough to figure out which one to pick! But there are just a few grind settings you need to focus on—extra fine, fine, medium-fine, medium, medium-coarse, coarse, and extra coarse. These settings are the only ones you’ll need to make virtually any type of coffee you want.
Extra fine coffee grounds are pretty much only used to make Turkish coffee. They’re similar in texture to powdered sugar or flour. When we say extra fine we really mean it!
Fine coffee grounds, on the other hand, are a little more versatile. Their texture is similar to granulated sugar or table salt. You can use them to make great shots of espresso in espresso machines or stovetop espresso pots, like a Moka Pot. Read on here to see exactly how to use a Moka Pot!
Medium-fine grounds are just slightly finer than sand. They’re mainly used to make pour overs in cone shaped brewers. Check out this pour over from Chemex! They’re also good for making strong coffee in the AeroPress.
Medium coffee grounds look just like smooth sand. This is the right grind size for drip coffee, especially if you’re making it in a flat bottomed drip brewer. Medium-coarse grounds look like rough, coarse sand and are best for making coffee in the Chemex, Cafe Solo brewer, and Clever Dripper.
Coarse grinds, which resemble coarse sea salt, are great for making coffee in percolators and French presses. Extra coarse grinds are similar in size to black peppercorns. They’re best for making cold brew or Cowboy Coffee, if you can stand to drink it! It’s pretty thick and sludgy.
How to Grind Coffee Beans
Now that you know which grind size to pick, grinding your coffee beans is pretty simple!
If you don’t have a grinder with a built-in scale, you’ll have to weigh your coffee beans first on a scale, like this. Using the right ratio of coffee beans to water is really important. You can mess up your cup of coffee if you use the wrong amount of beans, so don’t try to measure your beans by eye or skip this step!
After you’ve weighed them, all you have to do is put the beans in the hopper of your grinder, choose the right grind size, and turn on your machine to grind them to the perfect consistency!
Now that you know how to grind coffee beans for the perfect cup, are you going to start grinding your own at home?
For some inspiring videos, and feel-good photos of our favorite drink, head over to our Instagram page and join our community of 80k (and counting)!
We’ll brew ya later! ☕️