Handy Reference Guide for Grinding Coffee

If you’re into having great coffee at home, you are probably already buying high quality coffee fresh from the roaster. The challenge with coffee, though, is that you have to do some work yourself to make sure all that great taste ends up in your coffee cup. It’s surprisingly easy to get it wrong and end up with a not-so-fabulous situation.

The quality and consistency of your grind has the biggest impact on the flavor that ends up in your cup at home, so choosing the correct type of grinder is step one.

What’s the difference in taste & quality between Burr and Blade grinders?

Blade grinders chop up the coffee, leaving you with “boulders and dust”. The grind is inconsistent, so the flavor can be way off in your cup, and inconsistent from day to day.

Burr grinders create a consistent, repeatable, and adjustable grind, helping you get the most flavor in your cup today, and every day.

Once you have your hands on a quality burr grinder, it’s time to dial in your settings for the type of brewing you’re doing. Basically, you’re looking for fine ground for short brew cycles (like espresso machines), medium ground for longer brew cycles (like drip machines), and more coarse for immersion brewing (like a French press).

Always grind right before brewing, and only grind what you need each time. The minute you grind your coffee, you want to capture all that released aroma and flavor!

Use the pictures below to dial in your grind level. Once you’re in the right grind zone, you can adjust the grind coarser or finer to really dial in the flavor of the coffee you’re brewing.

TIP: Do the pinch test. The finer the grind, the more coffee will hold a ridge shape when pinched with thumb and pointer. See pinch reference at the top of each example:

French Press Coarse French press, press pot

French Press
Coarse
French press, press pot

Drip Medium Standard electric drip coffee machines

Drip
Medium
Standard electric drip coffee machines

Pourover Medium-Fine Pour over manual cone filter

Pourover
Medium-Fine
Pour over manual cone filter

Espresso Fine Lower end home espresso machines using lower pressure & stovetop espresso

Espresso
Fine
Lower end home espresso machines using lower pressure & stovetop espresso

Espresso Superfine For high end espresso machine extracting at 9 bar

Espresso Superfine
For high end espresso machine extracting at 9 bar

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