The grinding process – important or nah?

When we generally think about the grinding of coffee beans, we like to think it’s as easy as throwing it into a grinder and grind it to a size that seems to be a satisfying size for the particular brewing method we intend to use.

Have you actually asked yourself the question, am I using the correct ground size for the specific brewing method?

There is so much more to the grinding of the coffee beans than we’d generally think. This step plays one of the most important roles in brewing the perfect cup, as it can influence the flavors of the coffee tremendously.

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What is grinding?

Grinding is a process through which whole coffee beans are milled into ground coffee that assists in the process of brewing coffee. The grinding process is generally overlooked even though it plays such a vital role in brewing coffee.

As one grind coffee beans, it’s being broken down. This increases the surface of which water comes into contact with. When the beans are broken down, it releases all the oils and flavors trapped inside of this magical bean and is extracted once it’s being exposed/mixed with water.

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SEVERAL METHODS FOR GRINDING COFFEE BEANS

There are two different types of grinders in the coffee industry that can be used to grind coffee beans; namely the blade grinders and the burr grinders.

Blade grinders are generally the cheaper and more affordable option of the two. Blade grinders are common for general use, such as around the house. It’s the perfect grinder to start out with if you are interested in mastering your at home brewing skills and not wanting to spend a lot of money at first.

It consists of a metal blade that is sharp which will grind the beans. The blade grinder allows you to have control over the fineness of the coffee beans, by pushing the power button until you are happy with the size of the ground. Although with a blade grinder, the ground can be uneven and the coffee beans are left with coarse texture as well as fine particles all at once.

A down-side of the blade grinders is that the motors tend to heat up when grinding for too long at once. This can cause the coffee beans to scorch which can result in a burnt taste.

Burr grinders are the grinders most commonly found and used in coffee shops or used by more advanced or more enthusiastic coffee brewers. This particular grinder is recommended for any brewing method as it provides a more even and consistent ground than that of the blade grinder.

The beans are crushed between a wheel that moves and a non-moving surface. The position of the burr can be adjusted in order to control or adjust the size of the ground. Therefore, you can adjust it to suit your specific brewing method. It also grinds fewer beans at a time.

There are two types of burr grinders; namely the wheel burr and the conical burr. The wheel burr is less expensive than that of the conical burr. The wheel burr has a higher rotation speed, which causes it to be more noisy and messy. The conical burr is generally referred to be the better one of the two. The burr has a lower rotation speed which in this case makes it less messy and much quieter. It’s also less likely to clog when grinding beans of which contains a higher quantity of oils.

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THE DIFFERENT GRIND SIZES AND THE INFLUENCE ON THE SEVERAL BREWING METHODS OF COFFEE

When grinding coffee, coffee is grinded in several different sizes and is then used for a specific brewing method for which compliments the coffee the best. When the wrong ground size is used, the end result can be affected negatively and bad tasting cup is the final result.

If the ground size for a specific brewing method is too coarse, it produces a cup of coffee that’s weak/under extracted and has less flavor.

If the ground size is too fine for a specific brewing method, the end result is an over-extracted cup of coffee that’s bitter due to having too much flavor.

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Coarse ground has distinct chunky pieces. Kosher salt is a great example representing the coarse size. This size grind is generally used in a common brewing method called the French press. Other brewing methods used is the percolator as well as the vacuum pot.

Medium ground consists of a texture that’s gritty with visible flakes. A good visual example would be that of coarse sand. Drip coffee makers with a flat bottom such as; the Bee House Dripper and the Kalita Wave Dripper, are generally used with a medium ground.

Fine ground has a texture that’s much smoother than that of the medium ground. Think about the size of table salt particles. Here drip coffee makers are used as well, but ones that are cone-shaped such as; the V60 Pour Over and the Chemex when brewing coffee.

Extra-fine ground consists of grains that are barely discernible. This is usually finer than that of granular sugar. This particular size is only used in espresso machines to brew an espresso. Generally, a burr grinder is used to grind the coffee beans to this size.

Turkish ground also known as pulverized ground, consists of a powder that has no grains. Only burr grinders can grind this fine, and not blade grinders. When brewing Turkish coffee, this size ground is used in this particular brewing method.

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I hope that you found this article useful in understanding the science behind the brewing of a cup of coffee. I encourage you to play around, test out all of the different grind sizes and see the effect it has on your specific brewing method. Now let’s go, brew some and enjoy a wonderful tasting cup of coffee.

Till the next cup of coffee.

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