Does a coffee grinder really make a difference?
Buying your coffee already ground will certainly save you time and energy if you’re quickly on the go. However, having a coffee grinder and learning how to properly grind your own beans at home can make a massive difference in the textures and flavours you experience in your daily brew. In this article we’ll be looking at how much of a difference grinder coffee can make in creating your perfect cup.
Why do coffee grinders matter?
Grinding a whole bean coffee just before you brew it will allow you to get the maximum freshness and flavour. Roasted coffee has volatile oils that influence most of the flavours you get when you consume coffee. When beans are ground, the oils react with the oxygen in the air and start to evaporate. The longer your ground coffee is exposed, the more flavour it could lose, and you’ll end up with a different taste entirely.
Also, the way water interacts with the coffee during brewing can have a notable effect on the taste and mouthfeel. The texture and size of your grind are important because the more contact water has with the coffee when brewing, the faster it will be extracted.
If the grind is too fine for your method of brewing, you could unintentionally stop extraction. Alternatively, if your grind is too coarse, the water can move through your coffee too quickly and produce a cup that is weak and tasteless.
What are some different types of coffee grinds?
Understanding how to grind coffee beans effectively requires knowledge of the different sizes, textures, and brewing methods that can be used to prepare coffee. Now that you have an insight into why grinding coffee beans matters and the difference it can make to your coffee, below are some of the most common names and sizes of grinds you can try for yourself at home.
- Whole bean coffee- this isn’t necessarily a type of grind, but it is still useful to know what it is. Whole bean describes coffee that is un-ground and is the best way to get fresh coffee prepared at home.
- Coarse perk grind- this type of grind is the best choice for immersion brewing methods, where the coffee has a lot of contact with water during the brew. A coarse perk grind should have the texture of gritty, granular grains that are visible to the naked eye.
- Auto drip grind- this is a medium grind and usually the most common size you’ll see in a shop. Medium grinds are most effective when used in automatic home brewers. Auto drip grinds should be the size and texture of fine beach sand.
- Cone fine grind- a medium-fine grind that goes hand in hand with cone filtered brewers. They should be a bit more refined than an auto drip grind and from the texture of classic table salt.
- Espresso grind- a very fine grind which is perfect for pressure extraction methods of brewing. Coffee that is ground specifically for espresso should resemble granulated sugar.
- Turkish grind- an extra-fine powder-like grind that is typically used for making Turkish coffee. The consistency of this grind should take the shape of flour or cocoa powder.
Brewing methods for ground coffee
With a clearer insight into the various types of grinder coffee, you can now pair them with the right brewing method. Below are some examples of common brewing methods you can try out to create the coffee flavours you love every day.
- Immersion brewing- this includes methods like French Press and percolator. During the immersion brewing process, the ground coffee has extended contact time with the water, so a coarse or medium-coarse grind will be most successful and flavourful in this type of brew.
- Electric brewing- a popular method of brewing amongst modern coffee drinkers, it includes automatic drip and single-serve machines. A medium grind is the best fit for electric brewing methods as it will give you a delicious and quick cup of coffee for on the go.
- Manual brewing- this refers to methods where water is poured over ground coffee by hand, such as pour-over and various other cone filtered methods. You will get greater flexibility and freedom to experiment with manual brewing as you control the water flow, so you can find out what you like best. Try a coarse perk grind and a slower pour or a medium-fine cone grind with a faster pour to find your preference.
- Pressure extraction brewing- this applies to espresso brewing and AeroPress methods. It works by forcing hot water through tightly packed and finely ground coffee to create a robust shot with a smooth layer of foam on the top. An espresso or fine grind can be used with pressure extraction to secure that barista level texture and flavour.
- Cold brewing- this is a bit different as it doesn’t have any heat to expedite the brewing process. It is important to use an extra coarse grind when cold brewing coffee, as it can take up to 8 hours. The grind should look like roughly cracked peppercorns.
- Turkish coffee- this is made by mixing extra-finely ground coffee with sugar, water, and spices, and boiling them in a small pot. Since it is served unfiltered, it is crucial to use an extra-fine grind.
Going back to the question posed in this article, yes, a coffee grinder makes a big difference to the overall, taste, texture, and quality of the coffee you drink. When you decide to use a coffee grinder to get that extra level of freshness in your daily cup, you won’t want to go back to pre-ground beans.
At Pumphreys Coffee we have everything you need to get started with grinding your own coffee beans at home and if you want to take your skills to the next level, we even offer expert barista training. Contact us today to find out more.