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The Home Brew: Getting Grind Size

The Home Brew: Getting Grind Size

Grind size matters.

No, like, it really REALLY matters. You can brew forgivable coffee if you mess up the temperature or the brewing ratio, but if you mess up grind size, that’s a tough one. In our previous post, we talked about how to decide on the right grinder for you. Now, we want to talk about why your coffee’s grind size plays a huge role in determining the kind of cup you’re brewing. 

The Home Brew: Getting Grind Size

Before we get to grind size, it’s important to understand how coffee extraction works. When you grind coffee and introduce it to water, the water extracts the flavors from the coffee. Now, depending on a myriad of factors, you’ll either be extracting quickly or slowly, resulting in a range of flavors which start with the acids and the fats, followed by the sugars, and lastly by the stuff you DON’T want in your coffee (aka the bitterness). There’s definitely more science in here, but we’ll keep things simple by saying that if you get the grind size, water temperature, and ratio all right for your coffee, you should expect a great representation of the coffee that you were brewing. 

Now, with grind size, the reason why it’s so important to get it right is because if you find that sweet spot grind size for your brewer of choice, you’ll be able to extract just the right amount of flavors from your coffee without worrying about it being under or over extracted. When a coffee is under extracted, you’ll be getting a generally sour coffee since the water would have probably not have extracted the sugars from the coffee yet. If the coffee is over extracted, you’ll start to get a bitter, even dry taste. This is when the other flavors have been completely overtaken by the last flavors from the coffee. >

The Home Brew: Getting Grind Size

When using a pour over for example, you’ll generally want your coffee to have a medium-fine to medium (like sea salt) grind size since the water should pass through just enough that it gets those sugars out.  If the coffee is too fine (powdery), the coffee grounds will clump up, not allowing the water to pass through quickly enough and resulting in the water staying longer in contact with the coffee, leading to over extraction. If the coffee grounds are too course (uneven and chunky, the water will just pass through, barely getting anything out of your coffee and leading to under extraction. If your coffee is immersed like in a French press or a Clever dripper, you can use a courser grind size since the coffee will be in contact with the water for longer. The reason why espressos are made using finely ground coffee is because of the short amount of time the coffee will interact with the water, mixed with the pressure of that water being pushed through. 

The Home Brew: Getting Grind Size

Depending on how and what you brew at home, you may need one or two grinders to use, something we’ve previously tackled here. If you ever need a guide on what kind of grind size to use for your coffee, feel free to hit us up, and we’ll be more than happy to help guide you through it. At the end of the day, helping you have great coffee is what we live for, and helping you get the right grind size will make all the difference in getting that sweet spot.

Brewing coffee at home should be as easy as 1-2-3. We’re here to help you guys learn how to make the very best coffee at home with our series, The Home Brew.

Words by Ryan Uy

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