Welcome to our next post in the Introduction to Coffee Series. Grinding coffee at home is an ever-increasing, popular option for coffee connoisseurs across the world. Not only does it hugely increase the quality of your cup of coffee, it also makes your house smell amazing – so you know, there’s added benefits!
But how do you go about starting to grind? What makes a good grinder and what the options? Here we take you through some of the main points.
THE AIM OF GRINDING
The aim of grinding beans for brewing, according to James Hoffmann in ‘The World Atlas of Coffee’, is to “expose enough surface area to extract enough of the flavour locked inside the beans to make a good cup of coffee.”
The finer the beans are ground, the more surface area that is exposed to the water, meaning it brews faster and released the flavour for a good cup of coffee because the water has more ‘access’ to the bean.
The finer the grind, however, the more surface area that air has access to as well, which is why beans that are ground and left to sit go stale. So you should only grind your coffee right before you’re ready to brew.
THINGS TO KNOW
Darker roasted coffee beans are more brittle in grinders, so you may need to grind them a little coarser. And if coffee is from a higher altitude, such as Kenya as opposed to Brazilian coffee, you will probably be needing to grind the beans finer than you would otherwise.
TYPES OF COFFEE GRINDERS FOR HOME
There are two main options when it comes to grinding at home: the whirly blade grinder, and the burr grinder. The former is more common and cheaper. It’s an electric grinder with a metal blade on a motor – similar to your everyday blender for smoothies. The trouble with this is that it results in inconsistent sizes of ground beans, meaning that during the brewing process smaller pieces will result in bitter tastes as they’ll brew quicker but be left in amongst the larger ones.
The latter option – the burr grinder – is a bit less common at the moment but is a far better option if you’re a big coffee fan. They are electric or manual, and the beans can’t escape until the fall through the burrs, resulting in a very consistent size of ground.
Feel better about grinding at home now? What type of grinder would you prefer?