Until recently, when I went into a coffee shop I wasn’t so fussed on the grind or blend of the coffee itself, I only really asked for a Late or espresso if my eyes were trying to seal shut. Now, the industry is booming around different types of ground coffee, and this has evolved to people grinding their own coffee beans at home. It can get confusing as to what kind of grind you should be using at home, so today, I’m going to cover off some basic for you.
Fear not, we are here today to answer all your questions so you will leave here knowing what coarse ground coffee is.
What Does Coarse Mean? – It’s all Down to Size
Firstly, what does coarse even mean? A good question and one with a simple answer. Coarse is referring to the size of the coffee bean you’re using, a coarse grind is where you grind your coffee just a little to have a larger coffee chunk to play with. On the flip side, a fine grind is where you keep grinding down your coffee until it looks and feels like a powdery texture.
Only recently have I started grinding coffee at home, and it is very interesting to see how this directly changes the way I make the coffee from things like brewing time but, most importantly, how it changes the taste.
Of course, the coffee is not the only element here that will dictate how our coffee tastes with things like the brand, the device we use, and even what we drink out of coming into play. Once you understand how to use each grind correctly, you’ll be making cups of coffee to die for.
How Does This Affect my Coffee?
From research, it is clear to see that the different grinds will, in fact, completely change the way the coffee is made.
A Coarse Grind
With a coarse grind of coffee as it is a thicker chunk of coffee, your water will penetrate the coffee much slower than a fine grind. This means that the flavor takes a lot longer to come out of your coffee, if you’re looking for a quick fix in the morning of coffee, this may not be the best grind for you. You should never sacrifice coffee flavor for time!
The most popular methods for a coarse grind are a cold brew and French press. This is because a coarse grind works best with immersion-style brewing where you will be steeping the grounds in water before filtering. The longer you leave the coarse grind in water, the more the flavor will come out.
A Fine Grind
With a fine grind, you are extracting the flavor in the exact same way as a coarse grind with water. However, due to the surface area being much smaller on a fine grind, the water will penetrate and bring out the taste of a fine grind much quicker. A fine grind is more commonly used in more conventional methods of making coffee.
What Should I Use With my Coffee Maker?
If you have a standard coffee maker at home, you will most likely want to be using a fine grind. Most coffee makers like the one in our office have a set extraction time that does all the work for you, you press a button, and it will drain water through your coffee and into your mug. You won’t be able to let the ground coffee sit in the water with this type of machine, so if you used a coarse grind, you’d be missing out on a lot of flavors.
So, to summarise, it’s best to use coarse grinds with something like a French press if you have one, and, even then, you need to experiment with different coarse grinds to find the perfect style for your press and taste buds!
If you’re someone who has an espresso machine at home, then firstly, you’re very lucky, and, secondly, you’ll want to stick with a fine grind. Water is pushed through the ground coffee in around 30 seconds in an Espresso machine, which just isn’t enough time for a coarse grind to be beneficial.
And lastly, if you’re someone who likes a standard Latte, Cappuccino or a flat white like me, then it’s best to stick with a fine grind as these are all made with espresso.
Grinding at Home vs Buying Pre-Ground Coffee
Grinding at Home Review
Firstly, to grind at home, everyone is going to recommend you get a manual burr grinder to use, buy the whole beans of your desire, and grind them to perfection. The upside of doing this at home is, as mentioned, you can tailor your coffee exactly how you want it.
The downside to grinding coffee at home is you need to know how to grind your coffee but, more importantly, to what coarseness. If you grind your coffee too fine for your particular brew, then you’ll have to start all over again.
Once you perfect the at-home DIY grinding technique, the coffee world will be your oyster, and you’ll be making golden brews all year round.
Pre-Ground Coffee Review
The obvious positive to buying pre-ground coffee is you can individually choose what grind you want depending on your coffee of choice and put it straight into your selected coffee maker. Sounds easy, right? The most important thing to remember here is not all brands are equal, and it will take some experimenting to find the brand that works with your taste buds the best. Once you’ve found your brand, try to stick with it as it is surprising how different brands will taste.
The negative to buying pre-ground coffee and every coffee expert will tell you this is that there is a question of the freshness of store-bought ground coffee. This personally, for me, is why I will always make my grinds at home. With store-bought coffee, not only will your coffee not be as fresh as if you’ve just ground it yourself. Store-bought coffee won’t last as long in storage as your own coffee.
The verdict: If you’re after ease and simplicity and don’t mind sacrificing a little flavor, then go for store-bought coffee grinds. If you’re looking to become an expert in making coffee and leaving your stamp on each mug you make, try and grind your own at home. Your friends will be a lot more impressed when you tell them the story of your very own grind.
My Recommended Manual Burr Grinder
If I’ve managed to convince you to take the leap and start grinding coffee at home now, you need to arm yourself with your grinder of choice. I won’t list loads as it’s straightforward to google and find comparisons between then all, so I just thought I’d share the one I’m using. I purchased mine for $80 from Amazon, and it is the Hand-ground Precision Manual Coffee Grinder – if you search that on Amazon, it will come up. I’ve had no problems with it whatsoever, and it does all I need it to do. Just remember when choosing your manual burr grinder that price doesn’t mean its better than the others!