Unless you’ve worked in the coffee industry, knowing how (and why) grinding coffee to suit the machine you use is likely not top of mind. Knowing what to look for as you grind your coffee can bring even more enjoyment to your morning ritual.
If you’ve been to our cafe or bought our coffee online, we ask how you brew your coffee to determine how to grind it for you. Different brew methods need different particle sizes of coffee grounds. Grind is one of the most important factors in brewing; it can make or break your final cup of coffee.
Before we get into grinding coffee for Aeropress, let's start with some basic principles:
When discussing grind size, it can be helpful to use food textures as a universal reference point for different levels of grinding. For instance, we might compare grind sizes to the textures of icing sugar, table salt, kosher salt, or bread crumbs.
Coffee particle size refers to the size of the coffee particles after the beans have been ground. The size of the particles can vary depending on the brewing method and the type of grinder used. The particle size can have a significant impact on the coffee's surface area and the rate of extraction during brewing.
Surface area is the amount of area of the coffee particles that comes into contact with water during the brewing process. The larger the surface area, the more easily the water can extract the flavors, oils, and aroma from the coffee. Smaller particles will have a larger surface area than larger particles, and this will affect the flavor and strength of the resulting cup of coffee.
Extraction is the process by which the water dissolves the coffee's soluble compounds. The goal of brewing coffee is to extract the desired flavors and aromas while avoiding over-extraction, which can result in a bitter or unpleasant taste.
Blade grinders are for herbs, not coffee. Always use a burr grinder.
What is a burr grinder, you wonder? A burr grinder uses two toothed disks to uniformly break down roasted coffee beans into specific particle sizes.
Okay, now that we have that covered, back to why you're here in the first place:
The recommended grind size for Aeropress is similar to the texture of table salt: medium-fine.
To get a medium-fine coffee grind size for aeropress, start by adjusting your burr grinder to a medium setting. Then, grind a small amount of coffee and evaluate the particle size. If the grounds are too large, adjust the grinder to a finer setting and try again.
Once you have the correct grind size, measure out your desired amount of coffee and add it to the Aeropress. Pour in hot water, stir, and let it steep for a minute or two. Then, place the plunger on top of the Aeropress and press down slowly.
Key tip for the perfect grind for Aeropress:
If you’re having to use your entire body weight to really force it through, it is probably too fine. With Aeropress, the grind size will impact the amount of resistance that you feel as you plunge.
It's important to note that the recommended grind size is just a starting point. Experiment to find your preferred taste and brewing time. Have fun with it, search alternate methods/recipes online and try them out! Who knows, you may find yourself competing at the World Aeropress championships one day! Yes, it’s a thing.