Coffee Grind Size Chart: 5 Main Settings and How to Use Them

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Did you know that coffee grind size can significantly impact the taste and quality of your brew? In this guide, we’ll unpack our coffee grind size chart. We’ll explore the importance, benefits, and how to choose the perfect coffee grind size. 

We aim to demystify the concept of coffee grind size. We’ll cover the basics and some of the complexities of grinding coffee.  By the end, we will empower coffee enthusiasts to elevate their brewing experience.

Coffee Grind Size Chart

Why is coffee grind size important?

Coffee grind size plays a pivotal role in the flavor and quality of your brew. There are two main consistency options: coarse and fine.

Grind size is further categorized into extra-coarse, medium-coarse, medium, medium-fine, and extra-fine. 

The choice of grind size is crucial as it dictates the effectiveness of various brewing methods. For instance, coarse grinds are ideal for French Press while fine grinds suit Espresso. 

Moreover, grind size impacts extraction, influencing the taste profile of your coffee. If you prefer bold and intense flavors, opting for a finer grind allows for heightened extraction.  Adversely, coarse grinds offer a smoother, mellow taste for people seeking a more subtle experience.

What are the benefits of fresh ground coffee beans?

Let’s start with the obvious. Fresh ground coffee tastes better!  

Did you know up to 60% of coffee’s aroma dissipates within fifteen minutes of grinding?

Grinding fresh coffee beans preserves delicate flavors and aromas.  It ensures a richer, more flavorful cup. 

Additionally, whole beans boast a longer shelf life. The contained carbon dioxide staves off staleness. Exposure to oxygen accelerates deterioration. Pre-ground coffee will go bland in a matter of days. 

Furthermore, grinding your beans at home allows for a more customizable coffee experience. Unlike pre-ground options, home grinding lets you fine-tune your grind. The result? You get a perfectly tailored cup every time!

What grinder should you use: Burr vs. Blade?

Want a perfect cup of coffee? Don’t overlook your grinder. 

The grinder you use makes a significant difference. Let’s look at the two main types: Burr and Blade grinders.

Blade Grinders: Common Yet Inconsistent

Blade grinders are the more familiar option for many coffee enthusiasts. They’re more affordable and readily available in most stores. That’s where the positives end.

Their popularity and affordability does not equate to superior performance.

Blade grinders work by slicing coffee beans with a spinning blade. The duration the blades are engaged determines the grind size. While this method is straightforward, it often results in uneven particle sizes. 

Avoid inconsistency if you can! It leads to uneven extraction, resulting in a less-than-ideal cup of coffee.

Moreover, the heat generated by the blades adversely affects the flavor of the coffee. Friction scorches the beans, leaving a burnt taste.  

Burr Grinders: The Superior Choice

Burr grinders offer a more precise and consistent grinding experience. Instead of slicing, burr grinders crush beans between two plates. The result?  A uniform grind size. 

This consistency ensures even extraction during brewing, leading to a more balanced and flavorful cup.

Burr grinders come in various types, including manual, flat electric, and conical electric. 

They are pricier upfront compared to blade grinders, but don’t let the sticker shock deter you. Their superior performance and longevity justify the investment. 

Unlike their blade counterpart, burr grinders minimize heat during the grinding. The slower crushing action generates less friction and preserves the beans’ flavors and aromas. 

Invest in Quality

Will you have to pay more? Yes. But a good burr grinder is a MUST for coffee enthusiasts who value quality. Remember, consistency is key!

What is the proper grind size for each brew method?

Extra-Coarse: 1.5mm (looks like rock salt). Perfect for cold brew

Coarse: 1mm (looks like sea salt).  Ideal for French Press & percolators

Medium-Coarse: 0.75mm (looks like coarse sand).  Works well for Chemex & some pour-over methods

Medium: 0.65mm (looks like beach sand).  Great for drip coffee makers & certain pour-over methods

Medium-Fine: 0.5mm (looks like table salt).  Suitable for AeroPress, Moka Pot, & some pour-over methods

Fine: 0.3mm (looks like granulated sugar).  Used in espresso machines

Extra-fine: 0.1mm (looks like flour).  Excellent for Turkish coffee & specialized espresso machines

How does extraction affect coffee flavor?

Coffee grind size is the single biggest factor in extraction.   

Fine grinds swiftly release flavors, resulting in robust and intense brews. Think of the rich, bold notes of espresso. Short extraction time is essential to capture that concentrated essence.

On the flip side, coarse grinds offer a more leisurely extraction process. They have less surface area compared to fine grinds, requiring more time in water. This yields milder flavors. 

Picture the smooth, nuanced taste of cold brew.  The longer brewing time allows for the gentle extraction of flavors without overpowering bitterness.

Balancing Act

Like any delicate balance, there’s a fine line between perfection and disappointment.

Over-extraction occurs when grounds linger too long in hot water or are ground too finely. The result? A bitter, unpleasant taste that can leave you wincing with every sip.

Conversely, under-extraction presents its own set of challenges. 

When grounds don’t have ample time to interact with water or are too coarse, the outcome is a weak, lackluster brew.  A watery texture and sour undertones is far from the flavorful experience you crave.

Crafting Your Perfect Brew

Finding that extraction sweet spot is an art form. It requires experimentation, patience, and a keen understanding of your brewing method’s nuances. 

Whether you prefer the intense kick of espresso or the smooth embrace of cold brew, mastering extraction is the key to unlocking your coffee’s full potential.

How do you adjust your grind to get the perfect cup?

It’s about fine-tuning and balancing. 

Finding your coffee’s sweet spot is a process of trial and error. Even with a chart in hand, don’t expect perfection on your first try. After all, coffee is a personal experience. It’s influenced by individual tastes and affected by various brewing variables; bean origin, roast, water temp, etc.

If your coffee tastes too sour, consider increasing the brew time. Or try decreasing the water temperature, or grinding your beans finer. 

If bitterness is the issue, try decreasing the brew time. If that doesn’t work, increase the water temperature, or opt for a coarser grind. 

TIP: Always make adjustments while your grinder is running to avoid inconsistencies and ensure a uniform grind size. 

Do the type of beans matter when choosing a grind size?

The relationship between the type of coffee beans you choose and the grind size you use is important. Not all coffee beans are created equal. 

For instance, you can’t force a dark-roasted Brazilian bean to taste super-bright by opting for a coarser grind. Similarly, you can’t make a light-roasted Ethiopian coffee taste like a dark chocolate bar by grinding it finer.

Roast and Origin define the inherent characteristics of coffee beans. They set the stage for how we approach grinding them.

Light and medium roasts do better with a fine to medium-fine grind. This is crucial for achieving the proper extraction rate. Too coarse a grind could lead to under-extraction, robbing you of the nuanced flavors these roasts are prized for. 

Medium-dark to dark roasts fare better with a coarser grind. This helps avoid over-extraction and unwelcome bitterness. The result is a cup of coffee that shows off the inherent richness of the bean.

Here’s a simple rule of thumb to guide you:

  • Light roast: Aim for a fine to medium-fine grind.
  • Medium roast: Opt for a medium to medium-coarse grind.
  • Medium-dark roast: Best with a medium-coarse to coarse grind.
  • Dark roast: A coarse grind is your friend.

Key Take-Aways from our Coffee Grind Size Chart

The perfect cup of coffee is as intricate as it is personal. 

The journey from bean to brew is laden with a multitude of variables. Each plays a pivotal role in shaping the final cup’s flavor and aroma. Grind size is no exception. It is a critical factor, holding the power to transform your coffee experience.

That said, it’s crucial to remember what makes a “perfect coffee” is subjective. Perfection is guided by the unique tastes and preferences of the individual. 

Embrace exploration!  Adjust your grind size to uncover your ideal cup of coffee, one that resonates with your palate.

Happy brewing!

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Neal Drown
Neal has been proudly wearing the label of coffee enthusiast for over a decade now. He has an M.A. in Research and a true passion for all things coffee. Let's Brew Coffee was created to leverage his skills as a researcher and deliver the best content available on crafting the perfect brew.