three spoons containing whole beans coarse ground and fine ground coffee

Size Matters: Fine Ground vs Coarse Ground Coffee

May 12, 2020

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Coffee is a delicate balance of many variables. There is always talk about the type of beans and the type of brews, but today we are going to see if coffee grind size matters and explore fine ground coffee versus course ground coffee.

The size of your grounds can make or break your coffee. Not only does the difference between coarse ground coffee and fine ground coffee change how your coffee tastes, but the grinding process and the type of grinder are important for good-tasting coffee.

Size Matters - Coarse Ground vs Fin...
Size Matters - Coarse Ground vs Fine Ground Coffee

Let’s briefly look at the grinding experience.

Coarse Ground Coffee vs Fine Ground Coffee

Turning your coffee beans into coffee grounds fit for brewing seems simple but there many nuances. When you grind them a little, they are chunky and known as coarse ground coffee. Grind them even more and you get fine powdery ground coffee.

Fine ground coffee gives you more extraction, allowing a strong flavor in your brew.

Coarse ground coffee gives you less extraction and has less intense flavor by comparison. The exception is when the immersion brewing method is used. In this case, the coffee grounds are allowed to brew for longer.

Some baristas prefer certain types of grounds for a particular brewing technique. For example, a coarse grind is used for French Press and a fine grind is used for espresso.

However, there is an entire spectrum of coffee grinds and you determine the grind appropriate for your brewing technique.

Extraction Going Too Far

When coffee tastes sour or bitter, poor extraction is to blame. Under extraction creates a sour, acidic taste. Conversely, over-extraction can leave the flavor overpowering or even bitter.

Some ways to mitigate the problems and hit the sweet spot in the middle. You can choose a particular brewing method such as immersion or percolation. Adjust the time of the brew or the water temperature. And the one we focus on in this post is checking the grinding process.

How to Tweak Your Brew

Brewing coffee takes a lot of tweaks and techniques to get it down right. Tweaking things like brew time or water temperature can make a world of difference.

If your coarse ground coffee is too sour, try to increase your overall brewing time and reduce the water temperature. This can help let the coffee work out all the bigger clumps of flavor and settle in better.

If your fine ground coffee is too bitter, go in the opposite direction. This means shorter brewing times or an increase in water temperature. This keeps it from getting too flat.

The usual range of water temperature for brewing is from 195 to 205° (91 to 96°C), so there is a bit of wiggle room to adjust the temperature.

Your Grinding Process

What are the right kind of grinders to use and what is the process?

The two major types of grinders, blade and burr, have very different effects.

The blade grinder is inconsistent and can leave you with a mix of coarse and fine grounds. The blade grinder can also increase the temperature of the ground coffee beans through friction. Both of these issues make it difficult for you to achieve a consistent flavor.

The burr grinder is better at giving you consistent sized coffee grounds and does not pass on as much heat to the coffee grounds as the blade grinder. The burr grinder works by adjusting the space between two screw-like components (the burrs). Consequently, you can adjust your grind by adjusting the space between the burrs. This delivers the exact grind you need for the kind of brew you plan to make. However, the space between the burrs can sometimes get jammed with ground coffee, but don’t worry we show you how to fix a jammed coffee grinder here at GoodCoffeePlace!

The Right Coffee Ground For The Right Brew

The burr grinder gives you a range of coffee ground sizes from very coarse to very fine. But which grind should you use for your favorite brew? The diagram below is a quick reference to help you choose the right grind for the right brew

coffee grind guide infographic

 

Conclusion

With a bit more understanding of fine ground and coarse ground coffee, you can start to make some major boosts to your brewing experience. This concept has many details, from types of brews to grinding techniques. 

Do you have some tips of your own you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Contact us here.

Images

Featured Image (spoons): ©Elena Simonova licensed from Adobe Stock
Coffee Grind Guide: ©realstockvector licensed from Adobe Stock

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