Coffee grinds on spoons

Which Grind Size Shall I Choose? A Guide to Perfecting Your Brew!

One of the most important yet often overlooked aspects of brewing the perfect cup of coffee is grind size. The size of your coffee grounds can make or break the flavour and aroma of your brew. In this guide, we’ll delve into which grind size suits which brew method, debunk some myths about low-pressure espresso machines, and explain why grinding your own beans at home is the ultimate key to coffee perfection. So, if you’re ready to elevate your coffee experience, read on to learn about the relationship between your grind size and brew method!

The Basics of Grind Size

Grind size refers to how fine or coarse the coffee beans are ground. The size of the coffee grounds actually affects how quickly water passes through them, impacting extraction and, consequently, the flavour of your coffee. 

- Coarse Grind: Chunky, similar to sea salt.

- Medium-Coarse Grind: Gritty, like rough sand.

- Medium Grind: Similar to regular sand.

- Medium-Fine Grind: Smoother but still a bit gritty.

- Fine Grind: Like table salt.

- Extra-Fine Grind: Powdery, almost like flour.

Matching Grind Size to Brew Method

Different brewing methods require different grind sizes to optimise flavour extraction. Here’s a breakdown of the ideal grind size for each popular brewing method:

Coarse Grind

- French Press: The plunger mechanism of a French Press requires a coarse grind to prevent grounds from slipping through the mesh filter. This size allows for a longer steep time and a robust, full-bodied flavour.

- Cold Brew: Coarse grounds are steeped in cold water for an extended period, usually 12-24 hours. The coarse grind prevents over-extraction and bitterness, resulting in a smooth, refreshing coffee.

Medium-Coarse Grind

- Chemex: This pour-over method benefits from a medium-coarse grind, allowing for a balanced extraction and a clean, crisp cup of coffee.

- Clever Dripper: Combining immersion and pour-over techniques, this method uses a medium-coarse grind to achieve a smooth, flavorful brew.

Medium Grind

- Drip Coffee Makers: Standard electric drip coffee makers are designed for a medium grind, which balances extraction time and surface area for a well-rounded cup.

- AeroPress (with a standard brewing time): The AeroPress is versatile, but a medium grind works well for a balanced, flavorful coffee when brewing for around 2-3 minutes.

Medium-Fine Grind

- Pour-Over (Hario V60): The V60 requires a medium-fine grind for optimal extraction. A medium-fine grind size allows water to flow through at the right rate, enhancing the coffee’s complexity and brightness.

Fine Grind

- Espresso Machines: Traditional high-pressure espresso machines (9 bar or more) need a fine grind. The pressure forces water through the finely ground coffee, extracting rich, intense flavours in a short amount of time (25-30 seconds).

- AeroPress (with a shorter brewing time): For a shorter brew time (around 1 minute), use a fine grind to ensure sufficient extraction.

Extra-Fine Grind

- Turkish Coffee: This method requires an extra-fine grind, resembling powdered sugar, as the coffee is boiled with water and often sugar, then served unfiltered.

Low-Pressure Espresso Machines: A Grind Size Myth

It might surprise you that not all espresso machines use a fine espresso grind. Low-pressure espresso machines (below 9 bar) often require a coarser grind than their high-pressure counterparts. Using a traditional, fine espresso grind in a low-pressure machine can result in over-extraction, leading to bitter and unpleasant flavours. Experimenting with a slightly coarser grind can yield a more balanced and enjoyable espresso from these machines. This is why we always recommend that you grind your own beans to find which grind size works best for your machine!

The Benefits of Grinding Your Own Beans

Here at Baytown, we think there’s nothing quite like the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans and the taste of fresh coffee. So, here’s why you should consider grinding your own beans at home:

- Freshness: Coffee begins to lose its aroma and flavour shortly after grinding. Grinding just before brewing ensures maximum freshness and taste.

- Control: Grinding your own beans gives you complete control over the grind size, allowing you to fine-tune it to match your preferred brewing method perfectly.

- Variety: You can experiment with different grind sizes and brewing methods, discovering new flavours and nuances in your favourite beans.

We would recommend Investing in a good quality burr grinder as this will make a significant difference in your coffee experience. Burr grinders provide a consistent grind size, essential for balanced extraction and optimal flavour. Our favourite’s are either the Wilfa Svart Aroma Precision Coffee Grinder or the Wilfa Uniform Coffee Grinder

For grinding your beans on the go, we think the Rhinowares Hand Grinder is the way to go.

Choosing the right grind size is key to brewing a great cup of coffee. Match your grind size to your brewing method, and think about what your equipment likes best, and you’ll get the most out of your coffee beans. Grinding your own beans at home not only keeps things fresh but also lets you explore and enjoy a ton of different coffee flavours. So, grab those whole beans, fire up your grinder, and start your journey to amazing coffee. 

And until end of June 2024, we're offering 10% off all grinders with code GRIND10 at checkout!

Happy brewing!