Grinding Your Own Coffee Beans
You know that freshly roasted coffee is the first step in a delicious cup of coffee, but do you know how important freshly ground coffee is? Coffee’s freshness, and by relation its taste, starts to deteriorate as soon as it is roasted. We’ve discussed how exposure to air can cause coffee to deteriorate even faster. Grinding coffee causes it to have even more surface area from which the flavor can leech.
If you can grind your coffee to order, that will make for the freshest cup you can enjoy. But what are some other reasons for grinding your own coffee?
One of the best reasons to grind your own coffee is for the control you have over the coarseness of the grind. Depending on how you brew your coffee, you will want a certain level of coarseness. For example, if you want to drip brew one day, you would want to have a medium-coarse grind. The next day you can switch it up and have an espresso which calls for an extremely fine grind. Making a batch of cold brew for the week? A coarse grind is your best bet.
Type of Grinder
There are different types of coffee grinders, but which type should you get? That depends, mostly on budget.
In this day and age of technology and immediacy, you might think a hand grinder is either a waste of time or an indulgence. For some, taking the time to grind their own beans by hand is a chance to get their grounds just the way they like them. And as they like to say, good things come to those that wait. If you want to have complete control over your grind, a hand grinder might just be the way to go.
The least expensive and most common is the blade grinder that you typically find at the big box stores. It doesn’t have any variety but If you can learn to use it properly you will get a great cup of coffee.
The most difficult aspect to control is consistency, of course. But a few little tricks can make your grind more consistent. While grinding, hold the top on very tightly and lift the entire grinder. Shake it around to allow the grounds to move which will help with the consistency.
The next aspect to control is the level of coarseness. The longer your grind your beans, the finer they become. Be sure to move the grinder around to allow for more consistency, especially the longer you grind.
More expensive but with more options is the burr grinder. This type of grinder has two cones with teeth (burrs) that rotate in opposite directions and grind the beans. Getting a consistent level of coarseness with these grinders is fairly easy as you can set the level with a dial and the grinder will proceed to grind the coffee with the finished grounds falling into a chamber once they are at the correct size. You can set the grinder for anything from super fine to super coarse. Once it’s set, just dump your beans in and hit the button. Easy peasy!
Grinding your own coffee beans is definitely the way to go if you are particular about your coffee or want to brew your coffee in different ways. Keeping your grinder in good maintenance will ensure your coffee is consistently delicious. You must keep your grinder clean to accomplish this.
First, why is keeping the grinder clean so important? First and foremost, roasted coffee beans have a sheen of oil on them. This oil will transfer to the inside of your grinder. After some time, if you don’t clean this oil off the blades/burrs or the inside reservoir, it will become sticky and also can turn rancid. Little bits of ground coffee can stick to the oils and periodically the oils with the grounds stuck to them can break off and mix in with your freshly ground coffee. YUCK!
Be sure to clean your machine often. A blade grinder is fairly easy to clean. They come with a small tool to use to scrape off then sweep out the grounds. Before you do any cleaning, however, be sure to unplug the machine! Once you have removed the grounds with the cleaning tool, use a damp cloth to wipe down the inside of the grinder as well as the lid.
A burr grinder is possibly a little more labor-intensive to clean. OR you can get cleaning pellets which you can run through your grinder that will remove the old grounds and oils. If you will be cleaning by hand, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely. If you will be using the cleaning pellets, be sure to follow the instructions which come with the pellets.
Now that you have an idea of how to grind your own coffee beans and how to maintain your grinder, you can certainly boast that you drink the freshest coffee anywhere around.