Brewing a Delicious Cup
Coffee Grind Influences Coffee Flavor
Picking the correct coffee grind will have a direct impact on the flavor and caffeine extraction of your coffee. The particle size impacts extraction, and the degree of extraction will determine the amount of flavor removed. Too little extraction produces weak, underdeveloped coffee and over-extraction produces coffee with too much bitterness.
Generally, the shorter the coffee brewing process, the finer the coffee grind should be. For example, coffee ground for an espresso machine should be very fine because the brew cycle is only 19 to 22 seconds long. If too coarse a coffee grind is used, the lack of friction will allow the water will flow right through, resulting in a weak espresso shot. If the coffee is ground too fine, the water can't flow through easily, so it will sit too long in the coffee grounds and result in an over-extracted and bitter-tasting espresso shot.
Coarse Coffee Grind for French Press or Percolator
When brewing coffee in a French Press or Percolator, the coffee grounds are in contact with water for a relatively long period of time (2-4 minutes, depending on volume). Because of the longer brew cycle, a coarse coffee grind with larger granules is recommended.
Medium Coffee Grind for Regular Drip Coffee Machines or Flat-bottomed Filter
This coffee grind resembles sugar and is used primarily with vacuum and flat-bottom drip makers. It is the most versatile grind and suits most drip brewing methods.
Fine Coffee Grind for Drip and Other Filter Brewing Methods
Not all drip coffee machines and filters are the same. Although a medium grind works with most drip coffee machines, it may be necessary to experiment with a grind that is a bit finer. A fine coffee grind will have a texture similar to cornmeal, and is fine enough to slow down the flow of water passing through the coffee as it sits in the paper filter.
Espresso Coffee Grind for Espresso Machines
Grinding coffee for espresso is probably the most difficult to get right. The coffee grind needs to be fine enough to increase the pressure required to push the water through the filter and create a good crema. But if the grind is too fine, the ground coffee can block the coffee filter. Generally, espresso coffee grind resembles a mixture of powdered sugar and fine beach sand. Since each espresso machine is different, you have to experiment to get the coffee grind just right.
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