At COROCO Coffee Roaster Collective, we get asked a great number of questions about grinding coffee for different preparations as well as for brewing the best coffee at home. Here are a few of the basics for coffee grinding, and why it matters.
A bit of jargon to start us off. Grinding coffee will produce the desired grounds as well as a small amount of grounds that are too small (aka “fines”) and some that are too large (aka “boulders”). The nicer the grinder one buys, the fewer fines and boulders will be in the mix. Your $15 machete style grinder from a big box store will not create an even grind as it macerates the coffee beans. An even grind is a key component to an even extraction and optimal flavor.
When hot or cold water comes into contact with coffee beans, up to 28% of the soluble compounds of the ground coffee may be extracted. A better grinder will provide evenly-sized grounds that are more uniform in size, allowing for the extraction of the coffee to be dialed in to taste. Underextraction leads to sour tasting notes. Overextraction will taste more bitter. A perfect extraction will taste sweet and balanced.
The type of coffee grinder you want to buy depends on the type of coffee you are brewing at home. Espresso, mocha pot or Turkish coffee will want a grinder that excels at finely ground coffee. Drip, Aeropress, Chemex, Hario V60 will take a grinder that creates a consistent fine-medium grind. French press or Cold Brew require a grinder that excels at coarsely ground coffee.
Nuts and bolts.
Generally speaking, flat burrs are best for coarse ground coffee and have the most even grind at the coarser settings. Conical burr grinders are more dialed in for fine-ground coffee. Ceramic burrs last longer, but are not as sharp initially. Stainless steel burrs are sharper initially, but will need to be replaced more often.
Best Entry Level Grinder: Baratza Encore.
Best Espresso, drip, and manual brewing home grinder: Baratza Sette 30.
Best “next steps” upgrade commercial-level grinder: Baratza Forte AP.
A bit about Baratza:
Since its inception in 1999, Baratza has offered high-quality, state-of-the-art grinders for those who care about making the best coffees. Created by the dynamic team of Kyle Anderson and Kyra Kennedy, Baratza quickly became known as the company to turn to for innovation, quality, and consistency. Recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association. We also love: Don’t dump it, repair it program.