The Grind

The grinding of home brew coffee is a commonly under-emphasized element of the coffee preparation process. If you are looking to maximize the potential of your coffee, then the grind is a great place to start.

Always grind your coffee fresh. Once ground, coffee is exposed to the maximum effects of oxidization which will dramatically impact the flavor if not utilized immediately.

You don’t need to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a coffee grinder.  We would recommend, however, if you have a “blade” style grinder you may want to (find a friend or loved one who will appreciate the introduction, or reintroduction, to the world of fresh ground coffee) give it away or donate it.  If you are purchasing specialty coffee then you have likely spent more on a couple of bags of coffee than your blade grinder, and you can be assured it will not produce a quality or consistent tasting cup of coffee no matter how you prepare it.  

Level up your coffee experience by purchasing a nice conical or flat burr grinder. Quality grinders of this type can easily be found for under a hundred dollars. Conical grinders tend to last longer, but if properly maintained, either should last you many years. They will give you a uniformity to grind size, and are adjustable to whatever brew method you prefer.

Below are some recommendations for grind size for differing brew methods:

Size  Appearance Method
Super-fine
Almost a powder
Turkish (a hand grinder is typically recommended for this)
Fine
Just shy of powder
Usually reserved for espresso
Medium
Granulated sugar
Favorable for most filter pour over, electric filter brew, cold brew. Adjust the amount of coffee for desired taste.
Coarse
Sea salt
French press
Very Coarse
Rock salt
Long immersion brews only
Chunks
Broken beans
None - time to get rid of your blade grinder

 

As you move forward you will develop a better feel for what suits your palette.  Take notes and grade the results to help you remember what you’ve tried.  Most importantly - have fun becoming a true coffee connoisseur!