Grinding Coffee Beans

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How to Grind Whole Bean Coffee

Creating the perfect cup of brewed coffee depends on several factors including the type of coffee used, the type of coffee brewing equipment used and of course the type of grind used. The following is an overview of how to grind whole bean coffee for proper coffee preparation.

Types of Coffee Grinders

Coffee grinders may come as stand-alone units or as part of your coffee brewing apparatus where the whole bean coffee is first ground before being brewed by the same machine. In general, coffee brewers that have a built in coffee grinder will generally have the grinder pre-set to deliver the correct coarseness of the grind.

For the most part, there are two primary types of coffee grinders on the market;

  1. Burr coffee grinders
  2. Blade coffee grinders

Burr Grinders – When using a burr coffee grinder, the distance between the burrs can be adjusted in order to achieve the desired coarseness of the coffee. The closer the grinding disks are to each other the finer the grind.

Blade Grinders – When using a blade grinder, the size or coarseness of the grind (the size of the granules) is determined by the length of time the blade grinder is used. The longer you grind with a blade grinder, the finer the coffee granules will be.

Stand-alone coffee grinders may come either as a “burr” grinder or a “blade grinder”. Most inexpensive coffee grinders are “blade” grinders that have no coarseness setting and for the most part are set to grind for “drip coffee machines” since these type of coffee brewers are the most commonly used coffee brewing machines in North America. With a standard, inexpensive “blade” grinder one would need to experiment a little to determine how long to grind whole bean coffee to produce a fine grind, a medium grind or a coarse grind.

Grinding Coffee for Coarseness

Good coffee grinders may cost a little more but the ability to set the coarseness of the grind is well worth the added expense.

Coarse Grind – Coffee that is coarse ground have a granule appearance more like large-grain rock salt and is commonly used in French Press coffee brewers.

Medium Grind – Coffee that is medium ground is finer looking than coarse grind coffee and gives the appearance of coarse sand. Medium grind coffee is commonly used in filter drip and automatic drip coffee brewers.

Fine Grind – Coffee that is ground fine has a soft powdery appearance where the grounds are a bit smaller than sugar or table salt granules. Fine grind coffee is commonly used for espresso making machines and in vacuum pot coffee makers.

Extra Fine Grind – Coffee that is ground extra fine grind is very powdery, similar to flour and is the preferred grind for preparing coffee using the Turkish Coffee method.

It is evident that the brewing machine has a lot to do with which type of grind one should use for brewing a good cup of coffee.

Grinding Coffee Beans for Consistency

Grinding coffee beans is an important prelude to the brewing process and must be given serious consideration. Knowing and achieving the appropriate grind and which is the best grind for the type of brewing equipment you are using is the key to brewing a good and consistent cup of coffee. It’s important to remember that the appropriate grind you need should also be a uniform grind.

When the granules are ground uniformly, the water is absorbed uniformly and spreads evenly through the coffee grounds causing the coffee flavor to be extracted evenly, thereby producing great tasting and full-bodied coffee. Uneven grinding will result in uneven brewing, with the finer granules getting over-brewed and becoming more bitter to the taste buds.

“Grinding Coffee Beans”
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