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Does How I Grind Matter?

How important could it really be? just asking the question means you're on the right track. While the quality water used and method of brewing are both important in determining how your coffee tastes, grinding, an oft-overlooked component plays a large role as well. If nothing more, here is a quick approach to the best ways to improve your experience: 

Quick Grinding Tips: 

  • Don't Pre-grind: Ground coffee goes stale and fast. Larger surface exposure allows the oils, aroma, and flavor to disperse. 
  • Grind purposefully: without going into too much detail: Course grind: percolators and french press, Medium grind: drip coffee makers (think Mr. Coffee) Fine grind: Conical drip coffee makers and espresso. 
  • Automatic vs hand grind: Automatic and manual burr grinders do admiral jobs. Manual grinders are easier to travel with and cheaper, so choose based on need.
  • Measure your beans: Coffee works best in appropriate ratios, we personally use 16 parts water to 1 part bean. A food scale is often used by people particular in their brewing habits.
  • Blade vs Burr: Burr grinders provide an even particle size while blade grinders chop beans unevenly. This leads to over and under extraction within the same brew. If you're still using a blade grinder and want to try an entry level burr grinder we use the Baratza Encore and it works well. If using a blade grinder, try to use it in bursts.

Ok I knew all that Already - More detail, please

Ok so we established that blade grinder aren't as good, they produce uneven coffee grounds and excess heat. Blade grinders, however, are the most common and If you find that is what you have available try to use it immediately before the water is poured and grind in short pulses to prevent heat build up.

To add another level of confusion there are conical vs flat burr grinders. Conical burr grinders produce better results due to less heat production during grinding. This is the point where you decide how much of an investment to spend on achieving the perfect cup and how it fits into your budget. The Baratza Virtuoso  is generally considered a step up from the previously mentioned grinder but both will do a great job and are plenty enough for any home setup. 

Save some time and buy pre-ground?

Please don't, convenience aside there's a monumental drop off in quality. Coffee is broken down by air, heat, and moisture and ground coffees expire in about 20 minutes. Investing in a grinder will be the most expensive part of your coffee brewing kit but also may be the missing component to achieving the perfect cup.

Take home message

If we could make one thing stick it would be this, don't buy pre-ground coffee, any grinding method will provide a better taste and quality to the cups of coffee you brew.


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