Properly grinding your coffee is an important part of your ritual. It is a vital piece of the process, so we have created a quick guide for you, laying out the fundamentals, the dos, and the don’ts.
Grind size - From coarse to fine, this feature defines how the coffee’s body as well as its flavor intensity will play out. On opposite sides of the spectrum you find espresso-like grind size (very fine, almost powdery) on one hand; while on the other there is French Press grind size (coarse, like crushed pepper). Both deliver different types of mouthfeel and, in some cases, pair better with different kinds of food.
Water exposure - Depending on how fine or coarse the grind size is, exposure to water plays a huge role in terms of extraction. The finer the grind, the less time it should spend in contact with hot water. The coarser the grind, the more time is required to absorb all of coffee’s volatile components. In order to avoid a bitter aftertaste or stalled flavor notes, make sure you limit exposure to a maximum of 6 minutes depending on the brewing method of your choice.
Water temperature - There are many caveats in regards to this topic, which is also a source of absolute truths as well as myths. According to experts, connoisseurs, and aficionados we have talked to on our journey, the ideal temperature range should remain between 190ºF and 200ºF. Avoid pouring over boiling hot water since certain aromatic components present in roasted beans can become overcooked.
Grinders - Given the astonishing variety of manual and automatic grinders available nowadays, we would need an entire book chapter to cover it. Bottom line, we recommend the one that fits your budget while allowing for grind-size adjustments. For instance, the grinder currently being used at White Tale Coffee HQ has 32 different grind-sizes, something the team has learned to appreciate when looking for the perfect cup.
- Coffee-grounds-to-water ratio - Although it’s the subject of passionate, continuous dissertations, the popular word on the street is 16 measures of water for each measure of coffee. Translated into plain English, this is roughly 1 ounce of coffee grounds for every 16oz. cup.
- Coffee grounds disposal - According to many home gardening enthusiasts, used coffee grounds make great fertilizer for houseplants. Also, they can be used as compost in raised beds for mushroom growing. Regardless of your recycling preferences, bear in mind that grounds are a biodegradable byproduct of great coffee. We believe proper disposal after brewing will be genuinely appreciated by future generations.
Grind Setting: Extra Coarse
- Grind contains large particles, but beans are still thoroughly broken up. Slightly larger than kosher salt.
- Best For: Cold-brew/Toddy
Grind Setting: Coarse
- Grind contains distinct particles. Similar to kosher salt used for canning and pickling.
- Best For: French press
Grind Setting: Medium-Coarse
- Gritty, but no slivers of grinds. Similar to coarse sand.
- Best For: Flat-bottomed filters, namely automatic coffee makers
Grind Setting: Medium
- Feels slightly smooth when rubbed between thumb and finger. Slightly smaller particles than table salt.
- Best For: Cone-shaped filters, including manual poor overs and automatic coffee makers
Grind Setting: Fine
- Smooth, but can still feel individual grains. Finer than sugar but not quite a powder.
- Best For: Espresso
Grind Setting: Extra Fine
- Cannot feel individual grains. Powdered sugar or flour consistency.
- Best For: Turkish coffee