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Does Grind Size Affect Brewing? You Bet It Does!

So, what's the deal with the different grind sizes? Other than espresso grind, does it really make a difference? It sure does. You should choose a grind size that is specific to the method of brewing you will be using. Read on to learn more.

grinding coffee


Why Different Sizes?

Let's start with the why.

At its most basic, flavor and caffeine content are determined by how long water is in contact with the surface of the coffee grounds. As the water passes through the grounds, it extracts the flavors and the caffeine. Each brewing method allows a certain amount of time for the grounds and water to be in contact with each other.

So what does this have to do with grind size?

The longer the water can stay in contact with the coffee, the larger the surface area can be. This means the larger the grind can be. On the other hand, the less time the water can stay in contact with the coffee, the more surface area that is needed and the smaller the grind can be.

Larger grind = less surface area
Smaller grind = more surface area

What If I Only Use One Size?

If you use only one method of brewing coffee, you will likely never have to change the grind size that you buy. For example, if you always drip-brew your coffee, whether in a machine or as a pour-over, you should always have your coffee ground medium. Our Drip grind is perfect for these methods.

If you always use a French press or a percolator or even cold brew your coffee, you should always have your coffee ground coarse. Our French press grind is ideal when using these methods. If you always make espresso or espresso-based drinks, then a fine grind is your friend and our Espresso grind is the way to go.

But if you use different brewing methods, you really should have your coffees in different grind sizes.

How Much Difference Can It Make?

If you use the wrong grind size for the brewing method you are using, your coffee could taste either sour or bitter. How? If your coffee is under-extracted, meaning the brew time was too short (or the grind size was too coarse), it will be sour. If your coffee is over-extracted, meaning the brew time was too long (or the grind size was too fine), it will be bitter.

Having the correct grind size can help ensure your coffee is the best tasting coffee it can be.

What If I Don't Have The Correct Grind?

If you don't have the correct grind coffee you could do a few things to mitigate the potential for bad tasting coffee. For example, you have a fine grind but want to use your French press. You can use fewer coffee grounds or leave the water and grounds in contact with each other for a shorter amount of time. If you have a coarse grind but need a finer grind, leave the water in contact with the grounds for a longer amount of time or use more grounds.

Though these fixes may not be suitable for all your coffee brewing mishaps, they can certainly help in a pinch.

What About Single-Serve?

One notable brewing method not covered is single-serve or pod brewers. These are your Keurig-type or Nespresso-type coffee makers. Even though these machines are technically drip machines, using Drip grind is a mistake. Drip grind coffee in a single-serve coffee machine can cause a real mess. Instead, choose the coarser French press grind. Due to the amount of force water is pushed through the grinds they can either overflow and you will have grounds in your coffee or the water won't be able to drip through and you will have a soggy mess to clean up.

If you have a Keurig-type machine, be sure to choose French press grind and truly enjoy your brew.

What Grind Do You Use?

Have you been using the correct grind for your coffee brewing method? Let us know in the comments if you plan to change your grind or adjust your brewing or if you have any further questions.

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