Why care about the grind of your coffee?
Wow, so many have no idea of why ground coffee beans as exposed to water and what it does to your coffee. Not getting good extraction of the flavors depends on how the coffee bean is been ground. And this will end up becoming a weak, bitter, or sour cup.
Have you ever thought of what coffee brewing is? Ok! It is just a simple mixture of water+ coffee beans to produce “Coffee”. Then if you were to add hot water over coffee beans, then it would extract chemicals out from the beans and also create a coffee just like the beverage.
The possibility of you extracting the chemicals from the inner portion of the bean is low compared to the surface. But if you cut the beans into half and apply the same principle, then it will have to yield more flavor (chemical) because the hot water will have to increase the surface area into a double of the previous scale and cause more extraction.
Then you would have to move over to the finest grind which can turn out to be the fine ground coffee you can use for Turkish coffee or espresso machine.
However, ceteris paribus, you will get to understand that the size of the grind and the amount of time the ground coffee is exposed to will actually regulate how much coffee will be extracted. I will like you to know that the water part of the equation differs depending on the brew method which is why we will look more on the size and the consistency of that size in your grind.
Consistency – meaning
Assuming your coffee grounds vary in size, it simply defines that the extraction will be uneven. This means that some of the coffee ground will be over-extracted while some will be under-extracted. What I mean is that the ones that are over-extracted were exposed to hot water for too long while the other was not so exposed long enough to the hot water.
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If after you had extracted and got a taste of sour and weak, then it basically means that the bad flavor has been extracted, having less good to balance the cup. This states that the coffee was under-extracted. But of the coffee was over-extracted, and then the coffee should taste bitter and astringent and lacks the fruitiness and character of a good cup of coffee. The question is;
How can we get a Consistent Grind?
For you to get a consistent grind, you will have to reduce the whole coffee beans into particles of the desired size of the grinder without any of them looking much or even little. Most times, the consumer level coffee grinders find this difficult to do.
Electric vs. manual (crank) coffee grinders
There are different kinds of grinders that exist but one should consider the grind consistency, brew method and price level you can afford before going for a grinder. We will look into two types which include; blade grinder (electric) and burr grinder (Manual)
Blade Grinder (Electric)
A blade grinder is the common coffee grinder found in most homes. Take a look at the below picture.
How this works is that the blade is basically attached to a motor that spins and cuts up the coffee beans into fines gradually. In as much as the cost-effective, a blade grinder is, it does not give a 100% consistent grind. It will end up making some part of the bean finely ground and some partially ground. Take a look at what I got grinding with a Blade electric grinder.
And this will cause a very uneven extraction and you know what that means.
Burr Grinder (Manual)
Another method of getting your coffee well ground is using the popular Burr Grinder. It is a manual grinder but in spite of that, it can meet the target of getting an even fine coffee. It comes in many shapes and sizes but the usage method is the same.
How it works: A conical shaped burr is attached to a motor or a hand crank as to some persons and sits within a fixed outer burr. Now, gravity pushes the coffee beans through the burrs. If then the coffee reaches the desired size, it then falls through the burrs and is ready to be brewed. Take a look at what I got after using this method
With this, you can extract a vast range of coffee evenly.
While purchasing a grinder, there are some other factors to consider while in as much that consistency is the absolute and most important factor to secure when your goal is quality.
Most times, not all blades are a viable option for high-quality coffee. So to get something better, you can try and go for Burr blade in as much as it is cost. However, you can find manual, hand-powered burr grinders for the same price or cheaper than the average blade grinder. An example of this is the popular Hario Skerton. This grinder achieves an excellent grind for every brew for brew method and does this even coarser than espresso.
This draws energy because it functions manually and requires to be powered manually. Not all prefer to use it but to some people; it has become part of the ritual. This grinder takes up less counter space, meaning that it’s portable and it has fewer moving parts and will reduce fractions.
Procedurally, you must have started brewing your coffee 3 or 4 days after it was roasted and then store the beans in an airtight container making gauge to finish off the coffee within 2 weeks. Also, ensure your grinding comes before brewing.
As far as grinding right before brewing, this does actually make a difference. You will also notice that Coffee gets a noticeable stale taste after 20 minutes or so and gets worse as time progresses.
Whatever that you want to achieve all depends on a certain range of ground within a certain range with respect to the brewing method. Reason being that each brewing method exposes the coffee to water at different temperatures for different periods of time. Just like you, this also affects the number of chemicals and quality.
So you have to be skeptical and experiment it yourself. Ensure that you stick to other variables constant and then change only the size of the grind and be determined about it. The easiest way to determine the proper grind is to use your foresight. Here’s an image for reference.
Below I have listed the brew method and the range, in numbers, from the image above.
|For standard Drip Brew||10|
|Hario V60 pour-over||10-12|