If you're new to coffee culture — and we mean the serious, scientific, almost magical elements that turn beans into diverse brews — then you'll surely be surprised at just how many factors influence each individual cup of coffee you sip every morning. Believe it or not, the way your beans are ground makes a significant impact on taste and texture.
At Real Good Coffee Company, we believe that the coffee grind size chart is a useful tool for folks at home who trade their automatic coffee grinder for a more intricate manual coffee grinder. We've put together this quick guide to inform you about the different coffee grind sizes, grinders and how they affect your morning cup.
What Is the Coffee Grind Chart?
Walk into a grocery store or coffee shop, and you'll see two different types of coffee — beans and grounds. In a cafe, you may or may not see the baristas actually grind the beans. As a shopper, you may enjoy the convenience of buying ground coffee packages or selecting a bag of beans to grind yourself. Either way, so many coffee drinkers aren't concerned with who grinds the beans, as long as it makes it into their cup.
For those interested in understanding why grinding matters, we direct you to the coffee grind chart. The coffee grind chart is a simple reference guide that identifies which grind size should be used to brew a particular cup of coffee. Although, in theory, you could simply grind up beans in any fashion to make any cup of coffee, doing so won't achieve your desired results. This overlooked step in the coffee brewing process is also one of the most important.
Why does type of grind matter when brewing a batch of java? Two words — coffee extraction. When you grind and brew, you need to choose specific grind sizes and brewing methods to extract the ideal amount of flavor from the coffee. The perfect amount of extraction tastes great. Unfortunately, under-extracted coffee produces less flavor and can turn the taste sour, acidic or salty. On the other hand, over-extracted coffee adds too much flavor to the cup, overpowering you with a bitter or hollow, unpleasant taste.
Imagine taking the time to grind and brew your own cup of coffee only to dislike the taste. Time and money are poured down the drain as your efforts are wasted. Thankfully, learning how to select the right grind size for your preferred beverage is surprisingly easy. Once you understand how different sized grinds and brewing methods yield the right coffee extraction, you can make the perfect cup at home with no trouble at all.
What Are All the Coffee Grind Sizes?
When it comes to coffee, every element has a set of terms describing traits, characteristics or types. For instance, roasts can be blonde, dark or medium. Beans may be arabica, robusta, liberica or excelsa. When it comes to coffee grind sizes, we're focusing on the size of the ground particle, not the volume or weight of the grounds. According to the coffee grind size chart, there are seven distinct coffee grind sizes to be aware of, ranging from extra course to super fine:
- Extra Coarse: The extra coarse grind size is going to be the largest sized coffee particles. Many people compare their look to that of peppercorns. The more coarse a grind, the less bitter it will taste. Cold brew coffee uses extra coarse grinds. Because the extraction process takes a significant length of time, the size of extra coarse grinds makes it easier to filter.
- Coarse: A coarse grind is slightly finer than extra coarse and has a consistency resembling kosher salt. The grounds still appear quite chunky and are used for French press, percolators and coffee cupping brewing methods.
- Medium Coarse: Take a close look at a scoop of medium coarse grounds, and you'll notice that it looks like the consistency of sand. While extra coarse and coarse grinds are needed for the longer steeping of a cold brew or French press, the medium coarse caters to cafe solo or clever drippers that require less extraction time.
- Medium: A medium grind setting is what many coffee shops will use for a regular cup of drip coffee. Its consistency is very similar to sea salt.
- Medium Fine: The medium fine grind size is a happy medium between the sizes needed for drip coffee and espresso. Most people will use this size for a pour over coffee. However, a medium fine could be used successfully for all three varieties.
- Fine: Fine coffee is a common grind size in pre-ground coffee packages and commonly used in coffee shops for espressos. This grind size will have a consistency like table salt.
- Super Fine: Super fine or extra fine grinds will be the consistency of powdered sugar. If you're a fan of the strong Turkish coffee, you'll be drinking extra fine grounds.
Here's a handy, quick reference guide you can also use, categorized by brew method:
- Cold Brew Coffee = Extra Coarse
- Turkish Coffee = Extra Fine
- French Press = Coarse
- Espresso = Fine
- AeroPress = Medium, Medium-fine or Fine with adjusted brewing times
- Percolator = Coarse
- Coffee Cupping = Coarse
- Moka Pot = Fine
- Cafe Solo = Medium-coarse
- Drip Coffee Machine = Medium
- Pour Over = Medium
- Siphon Coffee = Medium
- Cowboy Coffee = Extra Coarse
- Clever Dripper = Medium-coarse
What should you do if your coffee tastes a little sour? Try a finer grind next time to achieve ideal extraction. If your coffee grounds are too fine, they may get over-extracted and produce a flavorless taste. Of course, as you experiment with brew time, water temperature and grind size, you may discover the ideal combination that produces your best tasting cup of coffee. While we do recommend following the coffee grind size chart, plenty of people have produced amazing tastes by following their own rules.
Knowing which grind size is appropriate for a specific coffee beverage is extremely helpful when you're grinding and brewing your own cup of coffee at home. However, simply following the coffee grind size chart won't always achieve your desired results. The type of grinder you use, whether it's manual or automatic, can impact your coffee grind quality as well.
What Are the Types of Grinders?
Drinking a cup of coffee is a daily ritual for millions of people around the world. Coffee lovers now have the opportunity to make nearly any type of coffee they want in their very own home. From roasting to grinding and brewing, there are dozens of machines, tools and resources that'll help you make everything from cold brew to espresso. Although you might not have a percolator in your home, it's not uncommon for many java drinkers to have a grinder in their kitchen cabinet.
There are two types of grinders you can purchase — electric, or automatic, grinders, and manual coffee grinders. Either version can range in price, quality, accuracy and ease of use. There are many benefits of an automatic coffee grinder, specifically that it's an affordable investment that enables you to simply grind coffee quickly at home. However, many coffee lovers will recommend using a manual coffee grinder for its unique advantages, including reliable grind consistency, simple construction that's durable and portable and ease of washing.
One important element to note is which type of grinder you have — a blade or a burr grinder. You're probably familiar with a blade grinder which has a center blade that mimics a plane propeller. A burr grinder may be a flat burr grinder or conical burr grinder and features two revolving burrs that grind the coffee. The key difference is that burr grinders produce grinds in a uniform size — a result that is difficult to obtain with a blade grinder.
Of course, you always have the option of purchasing pre-ground packages of coffee. They're available in a variety of grind sizes and bean types. However, we always recommend that you purchase whole beans if you're interested in brewing specialty cups of coffee at home. Manual and electric coffee grinders give you the ability to experiment with different grind sizes. If you're someone who plans on trying to make cold brew and espresso, it may be more cost-effective to purchase whole beans.
Coffee Grinding FAQ
After learning about the coffee grind size chart, understanding how coffee grind quality is affected by the type of grinder and noting which coffee grind sizes should be used for different beverage preparations, you should be all set to start grinding and brewing at home. Our customers range from casual coffee lovers to coffee aficionados, and most of them are eager to learn a little more about the grinding process. Here are the answers to a few of our frequently asked questions.
How Does Grind Size Affect Coffee?
In a word — taste. Depending on the type of coffee you're trying to make, the grind size will impact the overall taste. One easy way to remember the difference between fine and coarse grinds is to associate fine with 'fancy' and coarse with 'cold brew'. The finer the grind, the more versatile coffee beverage options you have such as cappuccinos, lattes and Turkish coffee. A coarse grind will get you closer to the taste of a cold brew or French press.
What Is the Regular Grind for Coffee?
Since there are seven different types of grind sizes and even more types of coffee beverages, there isn't exactly a "regular" grind size. Regarding brewing method, a medium grind size could be considered your "standard" grind because it's great for your typical drip coffee brewing. However, the "regular" grind size for an espresso would be considered fine. Similarly, you have the option to use a fine, medium-fine or medium grind size when using the AeroPress brewing method, but you should only stick to extra coarse for cold brewing.
What Is a Coarse Grind?
On the coffee grind size chart, coarse is on the opposite end of the grind spectrum from fine, separated by medium-size grinds. This size grind is traditionally best for French press brewing. Keep in mind that there are medium-coarse and extra or fine coarse grind sizes as well. Aside from the size of the grinds themselves, each of these grinds require specific extraction times to yield certain brews. When you're unsure of whether or not you need coarse ground coffee for your favorite beverage, refer to the coffee grind chart.
What Is the Best Grind for Espresso?
Those who order espresso are usually looking for a powerful taste. Recalling how coffee extraction is influenced by grind size, most people will choose to use a fine coffee grind to make espresso. One way to be sure your grind size is just right is to use a pinch test. The grounds should pack together nicely when pinched between your fingers. If your pinch results in a very tight pack, it's too fine — if it is too loose, it's too coarse.
Why Should I Manually Grind Coffee Beans?
Everyone has their preferred method of making coffee. Whether you enjoy waking up early to brew a full batch or if you prefer to have the barista at your local cafe prepare it for you, getting your daily cup should be as enjoyable and convenient as possible. However, if you want to put the time and effort into brewing a great cup of coffee, we suggest learning how to grind your beans with a manual grinder. With a little practice, your kitchen will become your personal cafe.
Which Coffee Beans Should I Grind?
You should choose the beans you believe taste the best. Feel free to experiment with beans roasted in different ways to discover and consider learning about the diverse approaches each roaster uses in the process. For example, Real Good Coffee Company roasts and packs all of our kosher organic and non-organic coffee beans in the heart of Seattle and ships them right to your doorstep. We also offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee because we believe every coffee drinker deserves a reliable, consistent cup of high-quality coffee.
Real Good Coffee Beans Ready to Grind
Are you ready to grind your own coffee beans in the comfort of your own kitchen? Then make sure you use high-quality beans that were freshly roasted by those who pride themselves on every batch. Real Good Coffee Company employs real good people who love good coffee as much as you do. We've sourced coffee for decades and take time crafting each roast so every cup you drink starts your morning off the right way.
From organic and donut shop varieties to breakfast blends and French roast, our 100 percent arabica whole beans are ready to grind into your coffee beverage of choice.