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The Basics: What is Grind Size?

Let's start at the beginning, shall we? Grind size refers to the size of individual coffee grounds, ranging from coarse to very fine. It's a fundamental aspect of coffee brewing because it plays a vital role in how quickly your water extracts those flavourful compounds from the coffee grounds, turning water into a heavenly cup of coffee.

 

Matching Grind Size to Brewing Methods

Each brewing method has its ideal grind size, ensuring you extract the best flavours from your coffee beans. Here's a quick guide:

1) Turkish Coffee - Ultra Fine: Ground as fine as possible for desired body and quick extraction.

2) Espresso - Fine: Slightly coarser but still fine to enable high-pressure extraction.

3) Pour Over and Automatic Drip - Medium: Medium range, with finer grinds for single-serve pour-overs.

4) French Press - Medium Coarse: Coarse grinds to prevent small particles from passing through the filter.

5) Cold Brew - Coarse: Coarse grinds due to extended brew time and filtration considerations.

Our Recommendations 

Why Opting for Pre-Ground Coffee Might Not Be IdealGrinding your coffee too far ahead of time can hasten the degassing process, but not in a favourable manner. Finely ground coffee expels a higher volume of gas, causing the coffee to quickly become stale. This occurs because the grinding process disrupts the cells storing gases and exposes the coffee to oxygen, leading to oxidation. Buying whole beans and grinding at home is always best.

Brewing Freshly Roasted CoffeeThe freshness of your coffee plays a crucial role in the degassing experience during brewing. For extremely fresh coffee, it's vital to "bloom" your grounds by pre-wetting them and allowing them to sit for approximately 30 seconds. This step facilitates the release of rapidly escaping CO2. However, if your coffee is too fresh, regardless of the brewing method, uneven extraction may occur due to the excessive release of CO2 throughout the process.

Post-Degassing and OxidationOnce the degassing process stabilizes, another factor comes into play: oxidation. Similar to fine wine, freshly roasted coffee can improve over time—up to a certain point. After the initial degassing phase, oxygen gradually penetrates the beans, leading to oxidation, the primary culprit of coffee staleness.To preserve your coffee's

flavour, consider storing it in a container equipped with a one-way valve. This valve allows CO2 to escape while minimizing the entry of oxygen, thereby extending the freshness of the coffee.

 

Coffee Ground Surface Area: A Key Player

The magic of grind size happens on a microscopic level during the brewing process. When water attempts to extract flavour from a coffee ground, it doesn't teleport to the centre of the ground. Instead, it starts from the outer surface and gradually dissolves the soluble coffee solids.

Imagine one coffee particle divided in half; you now have more surface area exposed to the water, making extraction faster. The finer you grind your coffee, the more surface area you create, resulting in quicker extraction. Conversely, coarser grounds extract more slowly.

 

Grind Size and Coffee Ground Resistance

In certain brewing methods, especially those where water flows vertically through a coffee bed, grind size has a secondary impact. Picture this: one tube filled with rocks and another with sand. Pouring water through the rocks is swift because of the gaps between them. In contrast, water passing through the grains of sand takes longer due to the smaller gaps. A similar effect occurs when you adjust grind size in methods like pour-over and espresso brewing. Finer grinds provide more extraction resistance, altering the flow and total brewing time.

 

The Importance of Grind Size Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to grind size. Coffee is a complex beverage with numerous flavour compounds. Unlike simple substances like table salt, coffee contains various tastes, from sourness and sweetness to bitterness and aromatic notes. Inconsistent grounds can lead to uneven extraction, resulting in a less-than-perfect cup of coffee.

 

Blade vs. Burr Grinders

Coffee grinders fall into two main categories: blade grinders and burr grinders. Blade grinders use spinning blades to cut coffee into various particle sizes, resulting in uneven grounds. Burr grinders, on the other hand, consist of interlocking discs with sharp teeth. These discs determine the grind size by adjusting the distance between them, producing more consistent grounds. Burr grinders are the preferred choice for coffee enthusiasts due to their concistency.

  

Fine-Tuning Your Coffee Grind

While these general guidelines are useful, don't hesitate to make smaller adjustments within each category. Lower extraction percentages result in more acidity, while higher percentages lead to bitterness. Experiment with grind size to achieve the flavour profile that suits your taste buds.

In the world of coffee, understanding and mastering grind size is an essential skill. Whether you're using a burr grinder or making the most of your blade grinder, consistency and precision are your allies. So, embark on your coffee journey armed with the knowledge of grind size, and brew the perfect cup every time.

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