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We all know the expression "Daily Grind" wasn't coined as
something to look forward to. However, where coffee is concerned, the daily grind can and should be one of life's greatest simple pleasures.
The rich, spicy aroma created by the grinding of fresh roasted coffee is nothing short of amazing. I'd like to find a way to bottle this spicy scent-full strength, just the way its bouquet permeates the olfactory while expanding to fill the kitchen (or our shop) during the grinding process. (Sheesh, Did I almost wax poetic?)
Grinding coffee can be, not only enjoyable, but a relatively simple affair. However it should be noted that the importance of how to grind coffee properly is often overlooked even though it is a crucial step in the anatomy of a perfect cup.
Here are the important points:
Note: For the very best results, grind your coffee moments before brewing. (Duh..) I have a tendency to over-emphasize this obvious point but it is important if your goal is "The Perfect
How to Grind Coffee Properly:
Match the Grind to the Method...
The tricky thing about grinding coffee is that it must be ground specific to your preferred brewing method.
Coarse, Medium, and Fine "grinds" are used for various brewing methods to get the best flavor possible. What's really tough is explaining what those grounds actually look like! Well, someone else has done that very well, thank goodness. (phew)
So if you'd like to get a very clear picture of coffee grounds, click on the link below. It will open a nifty page from an excellent (and well named) site called "I Need Coffee"! (opens in its own window)
If that doesn't scoot your boots, then maybe my verbal descriptions will be helpful:
* Coarse - Chunky, distinct particles, reminds me of potting soil.
* Medium - More the texture of coarse sand.
* Fine - Smoother yet. More like sugar or salt when you rub it between your fingers.
* Super Fine - Not as fine as flour or powdered sugar, but definitely in that ball park. You can still feel some grit.
* Turkish Grind - Like flour, very powdery.
NOTE: Although it helps to hold your mouth just right while using a blade grinder, it is well known that Quality Espresso and Turkish grinds can only be accomplished with a more expensive burr grinder.
How to Grind Coffee Properly:
O.K., O.K., So What Grind-For What Maker?
The way you grind your coffee has a huge effect on the way it tastes. The following chart will help you with a good starting point. Remember, this information is not about my perfect cup, its about yours!
So, providing you with a good starting grind is "Mission Accomplished" for me. From there you can adjust to your hearts content until you find your own personal "Coffee Nirvana." O.K.? Here Goes!
A Coarse Grind is generally used for the following:
French Press (press or plunger pot)
Toddy Makers (cold brew method)
Vacuum Coffee Maker
Percolater (perish the thought!)
A Medium Grind:
Auto Drip Makers (with flat bottom filters)
A Medium/Fine Grind:
Drip Makers (with cone shaped filters)
A Fine Grind:
Stove Top Espresso Pots
Some Drip Makers (with cone shaped filters)
A Super Fine Grind:
A Turkish Grind:
Well, uh... that would be for the uh... Turkish Style Coffee, yeh, that's it!
So how does all this rocket science translate into the perfect grind for the perfect cup?
Well, there are probably a thousand different styles and makes of grinders available for home use but there are only two types.
How to grind coffee for your specific
One is called a Blade Grinder (or coffee mill) and one is called a Burr Grinder.
Which one is right for you? I thought you might ask!
The answer to that question is a question.
What can you spend?
BLADE GRINDERS: PRO AND CON
The good news is that a blade grinder will get the job done for most people who make coffee in a Drip Maker, Toddy Maker, or French Press. In other words, blade grinders are functional for all but fine to super-fine grinds such as Espresso or Turkish. They are simple and inexpensive.
The drawbacks are few but notable:
#1. They are a bit messy and noisy. Would you rather be awakened by an obnoxious sound or a pleasant aroma?
#2. Since the coffee is not really ground but pulverized, it lacks consistency which means extraction is not as smooth and complete.
#3. And last but not least, there is somewhat of a learning curve. Let's address that now,
This type of grinder usually has a clear plastic top that covers a coffee bean reservoir. The blade looks (and works) like a propeller and is seated in the center of the reservoir. The beans are poured into the reservoir and the top is replaced.
Putting some pressure on the top or in some cases holding pressure on a button causes the blade to spin, pulverizing the coffee beans. Blade grinders are handled manually so they have no settings.
That's why, with this grinder, you need to be familiar with the different grinds because this little operation is done by a combination of timing and uh... well, your basically gonna eyeball the darn thing! O.K.?
The longer you grind, the finer the grind will be. Not to worry. This is actually much easier than it may sound.
First of all, How much coffee do you use? I like my coffee strong, so for a 15 cup maker I fill the reservoir as full as I can. If I can still get the lid on, I'm happy.
A good rule of thumb for most people though, is to start with two tablespoons of coffee beans for every six to eight ounces of water and adjust to your taste.
(in other words, approximately two tablespoons of coffee beans per cup)
Now, once the grinder is loaded, don't just hold the button down and let it rip... use short bursts of a few seconds each so the coffee doesn't overheat.
Make sure you have a hold on the top of the unit and give it a shake during bursts so that the grounds get well mixed while grinding. This will make the grind much smoother and consistent.
For a coarse grind, 8-10 seconds, a few seconds at a time should do nicely. For a medium grind, try short bursts that add to 10-15 seconds, and a fine grind would be a few seconds or more longer. Experiment and have fun.
After a short learning curve, you will get it just right and getting it right, my friends, will lead you to "The Perfect Cup"...
O.K. So what's the big deal about burr grinders?
Well, I'd have to say precision and versatility.
Yes, if you spend a bit more money, you can wake up in the morning and precision grind coffee before you even get the sleep out of your eyes.
Your world's best coffee beans fall down between two burrs that have been pre-set (by you) allowing accurate grinding for the brewing method of your choice. Your coffee shall henceforth be ground perfectly, day in and day out.
Due to variations between manufacturers you may still need to experiment some with different settings. You may find that the recommended settings need to be adjusted to your taste. Once you get the settings right for your "Perfect Cup", well, then my friends, its what you might call a "No Brainer!"
A burr grinder will grind coffee accurately for any purpose from French Press to Espresso to Turkish. It is truly an all purpose grinder.
How to grind coffee properly is now a forgotten concern and your Perfect Cup is only moments
This is a Bodum Mill (Blade) Grinder. It is inexpensive, dependable, and despite the slight learning curve and minor drawbacks discussed above, it's really kind of fun to use.
(Please click on the picture to purchase this grinder from Lakota Coffee Company)
This is Cuisinart's Burr Grinder. This model is in the $50 range. It is a precise grinder, easy to clean, easy to use, and looks nice on the counter. I have given this grinder as a gift. It gives years of service and I've had zero complaints.
(To purchase this grinder from Espresso Zone, just click on it's picture)
This is our favorite precision Burr Grinder for home use. It's nice to look at, easy to use, and...in case you hadn't guessed... expensive. Definitely for those who demand the very best!
(Click on the picture to purchase this grinder from Espresso Zone!)
I hope you found our "How to Grind Coffee Properly" page informative and helpful. If you have any remaining questions or suggestions for this page, please see my contact page. I answer all contacts.
When you purchase that beautiful new grinder, please consider giving Lakota Coffee Company's world wide selections a try. It truly is "The World's Best Coffee".
I know that you won't be disappointed!
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