So you want to know how to step your home coffee game up? The best way to see immediate results in your house brew is not in the beans, the maker, or your cream and sugar it is in your grinder and grinds! You can have the roasted beans, a quality coffee maker, and the cream or finish and it will not matter if you have the wrong grind size or uninformed grinds. How can you get the perfect grinds? Glad you asked lets dive in!
First, you need to understand the brewing process to get a better idea of grinds makes or break a good cup of joe. All the right stuff that we love about coffee the aroma, the taste, and most of all the caffeine get sealed inside of a coffee bean during its roasting process. When we cut through the bean, these beauties are let out into our world, and the brewing process is designed to capture it. No matter the type of brew drip, French press, cold brew, and much more it all includes water to hold the aroma, flavor, and caffeine from leaving the bean.
Know Your Type of Brew
There are many types of brew that you can use to make a cup of coffee it is important to know what kind of coffee you plan to make because the size of the grinds necessary for each brew is different. For example, french pressing coffee grinds means to let them soak in hot water, and then you push the grinds down and pour out the water that has absorbed all the goodness of your beans. Beans too small will be harder to press all the solids down, and there is a chance to absorb too much and get some unwanted side effects.
When Your Beans are Too Small or Too Big
While grind sizes differ from each type of brewing processes the outcome is almost always the same for each brew.
If your grinds are too coarse (big)
If your grinds are too coarse your coffee will be under-extracted. What does this mean? It means that your coffee will take on flavors that you do not want.
Sourness: While coffee will always have a high acidity taste to it, under extracted coffee will have a sourness to it. What is the difference? Well, a sour flavor comes on quick and hits you way too fast. Sourness makes you immediately want to correct your taste buds while acidity is a flavor profile that can enhance other flavors. Sourness overwhelms these flavors making the only focus on your tongue sourness.
No Sweetness: Your coffee will carry no sweetness if it under extracted. Even straight black coffee drinkers will notice a lack of sweetness in under extracted coffee. The sweetness flavor rounds out a cup of joe and helps take away the bite you get from the acidity. Sweetness helps fill out your flavor profile, and if you lack sweetness well, it becomes very unpleasant.
Salt: This one is a bit of a debate, but those who drink good coffee will taste a saltiness when it comes to under extracted grounds. Why is this? Salts and acids are absorbed much quicker than sugars. Knowing that salts and acids are more soluble makes it easy to understand why bitterness and saltiness are more pronounced in under-extracted coffee. Since less of the sugars are absorbed there can be a salty hint to your coffee and well a salty, sour, and unsweetened cup of coffee is not the best way to make the best cup of coffee.
If your grinds are too fine (small)
If your grinds are too fine for your brewing style, you are going to get an entirely different flavouring from under extracted brews and more importantly perfect blended coffee. You will get-
Bitterness: There are a lot of chemicals in coffee beans. A lot of these chemicals lead to an acid profile including caffeine (caffeine is naturally bitter to us). If your grinds are too fine an over absorption of these chemicals will happen, and you will get a very bitter cup of joe.
Flavourless: This goes right along with bitterness but over extracting your coffee grinds will eliminate that perfect flavor profile. You will lose the hint of sweetness, the perfect bit of acidity, and a subtle but perfect amount of caffeine bitterness. These flavors all combines along with your beans roasting process leads to a great cup of coffee. When taking away the sweetness and other flavors and overpower it with bitterness your coffee will lack any flavor and resemble just a tough to drink cup of coffee.
Types of Grinders
Now that we know size does matter in the coffee world how do we get the right size? Coffee grinders help us grind down coffee beans and help us get the right sized grinds.
***A quick note pre-ground coffee from the store lets a lot of the sweetness, some caffeine, and most of the soluble chemicals into the air for CO2 absorption. We firmly advise you grind your coffee.
There are two types of best coffee grinder burr grinders and blade grinders. Without going into to much detail, almost all experts and seasoned coffee drinkers agree that coffee burrs are better for grinding beans than blade grinders. For a more in-depth analysis head over to to see how burrs and blade grinders stack up.
Finally the grind sizes and which types of coffee brews to use:
If you get the right size grinds and grind the beans fresh you will taste some of the best homemade coffee you have probably brewed. Finding the perfect size and brewing style for your taste takes time and practice, but once you get the process down, you will see the amazing benefits of your effort. There is nothing better than getting your grinds just right and sipping down a good cup of joe!