What’s the right grind for this brewer? Wtf?

Posted by Ben Cram on

Trying to describe to people how to grind coffee for various brew methods can be a challenge.  Our goal is to demystify grind levels. Mastering the art of adjusting and fine-tuning your grind is the most significant skill you can develop to enhance your home brewing, regardless of the method you use.

Over the years we started using other fairly standardized pantry products as a comparison so people could have a tactile reference that they already have at home. Watch our Instagram reel here or keep reading for even more info. 


A few caveats: 
  • You need a burr grinder to be able to get the precise grind adjustments. (If you can’t get your hands on a burr grinder we’ll give you a hack for your old blade grinder at the end of this article.)
  • Taste is subjective and these are just guidelines. Once you understand the rules feel free to break them. Brew what tastes good to you.
  • A quick google search of any brew recipe for a specific brewer will lead you down a rabbit hole of different methods, so some general rules to go by when trying a new recipe. If your coffee tastes too weak try fining the grind a bit (and vice versa if too strong). If your water flows through the brewer in question to quickly try fining the grind (and vice versa if it flows too slow or stalls). The same goes for resistance in brewers like aeropress or french press. 
How to grind coffee for different brew methods

    Extra Coarse Grind: Coarse Sea Salt

    Best For: Cold Brew, Cowboy Coffee

    Extra coarse grinds are the largest grind size, similar to coarse sea salt. These large particles are perfect for slow extraction methods like cold brew, where coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for an extended period. The larger surface area prevents over-extraction and bitterness, resulting in a smooth and mellow flavor.

    how do I grind my coffee for cold brew?

    Coarse Grind: Kosher Salt

    Best For: French Press, Percolator

    Coarse grind resembles the texture of kosher salt. This grind size works well with French presses and percolators. The coarser particles allow for a nice long steep time and avoid clogging your metal filters, providing a balanced extraction over the longer brewing times these methods require.

    how do I grind coffee for french press? Best coffee grind for french press

    Medium Grind: Table Salt

    Best For: Drip Coffee Makers, V60/Kalita (pour over), Siphon Brewers, AeroPress 

    Medium grind, with particles resembling the texture of table salt, is the most versatile grind size. It's commonly used in drip coffee makers, pour overs, and siphon brewers, providing a balanced extraction for a smooth and flavorful cup. The medium grind also works for AeroPress when using a longer brew time.

    best coffee grind for drip coffee. How do I grind coffee for Aeropress?

    Fine Grind: Berry or castor sugar

    Best For: Espresso, Stovetop Espresso Makers (Moka Pot), also Aeropress*

    Fine grinds resemble the texture of very fine granulated sugar. This grind size is essential for espresso machines and stovetop espresso makers, where high pressure forces water through the compacted grounds quickly. The fine particles ensure a rich, intense shot of espresso with a creamy crema on top. Note: For mechanical espresso you will likely be at the finest version of this. Somewhere in between the superfine granulated sugar and the powdered sugar.
    *  there are lots of recipes for AeroPress so there are a wide variety of grinds that work


    whats the best grind for espresso?

    Extra Fine Grind: Powdered Sugar

    Best For: Turkish Coffee

    Extra fine grind is the smallest grind size, similar to powdered sugar. This ultra-fine grind is necessary for Turkish coffee, which is traditionally brewed unfiltered. The powdery texture allows for complete dissolution in water, creating a thick and strong coffee experience.

    Last but not least: the hack for that old blade grinder.

    Blade grinders chop the coffee beans up and the only control is how long you run them for. The problem is you will never get a consistent grind particle size. The end result would be a random mix that, under a microscope looks like boulders, rocks, pebbles and everything in between.

    The best way to deal with this is to load your coffee in but don’t pack it too full. Then run the blades in pulses, giving the grinder a little shake between each run. When you feel you’re getting close to your desired grind level pass your coffee through a sieve that catches the largest particles. Once they are separated return only the coarsest grinds that were caught by the sieve and run them again till they resemble the rest of the grinds. If this sounds like something you won't make the time for, just get a burr grinder. 

    Understanding the right grind size for your brewing method is crucial for making the perfect cup of coffee. By comparing coffee grinds to familiar pantry ingredients, you can easily visualize the particle sizes and select the appropriate grind for your needs. 

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