The first step in making a cup of good coffee is to grind the bean. Grinding is an essential step to creating a delicious cup of coffee, whether you use a machine to grind the beans before they are packaged and shipped or if you do it yourself using a hand grinder before making a batch.
You don’t have to be an expert to experiment on your own. Four tips are provided to help you remember the basics.
It is essential to consider the size of the grinder.
Matching the grind size to your preferred brewing method is essential when making coffee. The grind size of a home espresso maker will generally be very fine, almost powder-like, to ensure that the coffee is adequately flavored as the machine quickly pushes the water through. The grind size for a French Press will be coarse because the coffee will be steeped in water for a few minutes. The video below will show you how to find the perfect grind size for your brewing method.
Pay attention to the size of the grind when you purchase pre-ground coffee. In the U.S., pre-ground coffee is typically ground to a consistency suitable for drip coffee makers with filters. You’re good to go if you have one of these machines. This grind could be better if you use a Moka Pot or a French Press and a home espresso machine. If your local store has it, you better have them grind the beans for you.
Keep your beans fresher for longer.
After determining the grind size, you need to store the coffee beans so they stay fresh as long as possible.
In your kitchen, coffee beans interact with the surrounding environment, and the oxidation process (interaction with air oxygen) continues. This causes the coffee to become stale or rancid over time. Left out too long, coffee will lose its fresh smell and develop an unpleasant aftertaste. This is especially true for black coffee drinkers.
You can buy freshly ground coffee, but it may not be possible to use it within two weeks. Store it in airtight containers to extend its life. You can extend the life of coffee by transferring it from its bag to a sealed plastic or glass container and keeping it out of direct sunlight.
While sitting, coffee beans emit carbon dioxide. The process of “degassing” is what you should be doing. Most of the gas will come out within a few hours of roasting.
Choose a burr grinder instead of a blade.
The quality of your coffee will improve immediately if you grind it yourself. Imagine the difference between canned beans and fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market.
Blade and Burr grinders are the two most common coffee grinders for home use.
Blade grinders are similar to a kitchen blenders and use rotating blades to grind the coffee into small particles. Blade grinders work quickly, are inexpensive, and can be found easily. Rough grinding is the downside (while it doesn’t matter when making a coffee smoothie in a mixer, coffee is more fussy). The grinder has to be run longer to grind all the beans, but the more you run it, the finer the coffee (for some). Achieving the same grind every time you make your coffee is virtually impossible.
Burr grinders use a rotating set of burrs instead of a knife and gently crush the coffee rather than cutting it. Metal is used to make them. They are durable and consistent. Burr grinders have up to a dozen settings that allow you to control the grind size precisely and consistently. This means your French press will not taste drastically different every day.
An entry-level hand-grinder is an inexpensive way to start.
Do you want to make fresh coffee every day? You can get a budget hand grinder for as little as $13. A ceramic burr hand grinder can be purchased for less than $13, while a professional model such as Timemore’s C2 is available for about $50. It is a hand grinder with a steel burr that looks and performs like grinders costing four times more.
The C2 can grind up to 20 grams of coffee per minute.
There are many electric burr coffee grinders available. The Baratza Encore ($169) is our favorite, but cheaper options are available. You can use these to make a much better cup than pre-ground coffee beans.