Why Coffee Grind Size Is Important

3 min read

Why Coffee Grind Size Is Important

An often overlooked but critical aspect to consider when brewing your favourite coffee at home is the size of grind (or particle) you're using in each specific device. This is because each brew method from the trusty home Espresso Machine to classic French Press or Plungers to commercial espresso machines all require grind adjustments in order to craft the perfectly consistent coffee experience.

While some home-brewer's may be a little cheeky and try to use one ground to rule all coffee devices, they may sadly find that the brew changes flavours but not for the better if the grind size isn't fit for use.

If the grind size is too coarse (too big) you can under extract your coffee, not pulling the full flavour profiles for the brew method used. At the opposite end of the scale, if the grind size is too fine (too small) you'll find yourself easily over-extracting, which makes it easier for the water to "strip" coffee of its flavours.

In order to extract the maximum enjoyment from your brew its important to know ahead of time what device you'll be using to enjoy your brew, or failing that, just sticking with whole beans and grinding to use (if that's an option for you of course).

As a roughly guideline, we've included some of the most common brew methods and grind guidelines:

Home Espresso machines brew at high pressure (up to 9 bar) and fast brewing speeds - around 30 seconds. This amount of pressure requires a very finely ground coffee to stop the water cascading through the puck.

Whereas a French Press or Plungerwith its immersion brewing style requires a far coarser grind and longer brewing time - 4 - 6 minutes.

If your grind is too coarse you can end up with a sour tasting coffee, too fine and you will have bitter and harsh coffee.

While our team of talented Barista's "dial in" everyday, and then periodically throughout the day, if you're in charge of the home or office Brew you may want to dial in every day or two to check how the coffee is extracting. Its easy to do, and all it requires is a little time  and patience! 


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To "dial in" simply brew your morning coffee, and before adding any milks, sugars, syrups or additions, have a look at the coffee extraction in your cup - see how it looks, is there a rich, unbroken crema on top?

Next, smell the coffee and have a taste - if you think it's a bit powerful, heavy, aggressive, or generally too intense, just ever so slightly coarsen your grind.

If you think it is sour, salty, bland or just generally underwhelming, grind ever so slightly finer and see if you notice a difference. Clean out your cup and extract again, repeating the above process until you're happy with the extracted brew.

The above tips can work on any brew method but will vary in steps and style depending on how you choose to brew! Goodluck exploring your extraction techniques and let us know how you find the process.

What kind of grind do you need?

  • Home Espresso: Very fine grind needed, quite powdery to slow down the 9 bar of pressure.
  • AeroPress: Depending on the coffee and your flavour preferences, a medium to fine grind is recommend.
  • Pour-Overs: There’s possibly hundreds of different types of Pour-Over Brewers available all requiring subtle difference in grind size, broadly speaking medium-fine size is a good starting point.
  • Stove Top Espresso Makers: A medium grind is recommended as they're a fast-ish brewing style that brew under pressure of around 1.5 Bar.
  • Plunger and Cold Brew: Both brew at atmospheric pressure over longer extraction periods, Plungers 4-6 minutes, Cold Brew 12 -24hr. A slow brewing time requires a very coarse grind.

These are all just recommendations and some are very debatable, but hopefully they give you the starting point needed to ensure your coffee is consistently delicious and brewed to your idea of perfection.

Happy Brewing!

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