Coffee Grind Size Chart – How To Unlock Full Ground Coffee Flavour

Coffee Bean Grinds

When it comes to brewing the perfect cup of coffee, grind size plays a crucial role in determining the flavour, strength, and overall quality of your brew. Whether you prefer a rich espresso or a smooth pour-over, understanding the different grind types and their impact on extraction is essential.

The key is to pull the best flavours and caffeine from the coffee beans. The finer the grind, the quicker the flavour comes out. This is why espresso needs a fine grind: the fast 30 second water flow under pressure needs to quickly extract flavours for that classic espresso taste. For cold brew, a coarse grind works best. This slow method lets coffee slowly mix with water over many hours, allowing for a gentle, full flavour extraction.

Understanding Coffee Grind Sizes

Before delving into specific brewing methods, let’s familiarise ourselves with the different grind sizes commonly used in coffee preparation:

  1. Coarse: Ground beans have a chunky, irregular texture, resembling breadcrumbs. Ideal for French Press brewing, where a longer steeping process allows for optimal extraction.

  2. Medium: Granules are similar to table salt, providing a balanced texture for drip coffee makers and pour-over methods. This versatile grind size ensures even extraction and consistent flavour.

  3. Medium-Fine: With a smoother texture akin to caster sugar, this grind is suitable for cone-shaped pour-over brewers and Aeropress. It facilitates controlled extraction and enhances clarity of flavour.

  4. Fine: Fine particles, almost powdery like flour, are essential for espresso machines and Moka pots. This grind size enables high-pressure extraction, resulting in a rich, intense flavor profile.

  5. Extra Fine: Very fine particles, resembling powdered sugar, are characteristic of Turkish coffee. This grind size produces a strong, thick brew through traditional preparation methods.

Coffee Ground Beans

Brewing Methods and Grind Types

Now that we understand the different grind sizes, let’s explore how they correspond to various coffee brewing methods:

  • French Press / Cafetiere: Utilises coarse grind for optimal extraction during the steeping process, resulting in a full-bodied brew.

  • Pour Over and Drip Coffee Maker: Medium grind ensures consistent extraction and balanced flavour in these popular brewing methods.

  • Aeropress and Reusable Coffee Pod: Medium-fine grind provides versatility and control over extraction, yielding a smooth, flavourful cup.

  • Espresso and Moka Pot: Fine grind size is essential for achieving the intense flavours and crema characteristic of espresso-based drinks.

  • Turkish Coffee: Requires an extra fine grind for traditional preparation, resulting in a strong, thick brew with a distinctively bold flavour.

French Press Cafetiere

Coffee Grind Size Chart

If you’re equipped with a coffee grinder at home, you have the opportunity to experiment with different grind sizes to discover what suits your taste preferences best. To assist you in your coffee brewing journey, refer to the following chart to match your brewing method with the corresponding grind size:

Brewing Method Suitability Size in mm (Approx.) Grind Type Consistency Comparison Additional Notes
French Press / Cafetiere / Cold Brew 0.75 – 1.0 Coarse Ground beans have a chunky, irregular texture, like breadcrumbs. Coarse grind prevents over-extraction over longer brew times
Pour-over / Drip Coffee 0.5 – 0.75 Medium Granules are similar to table salt. Medium grind for balanced extraction
Filter / Pour-over / AeroPress 0.5 – 0.75 Medium-Fine Smoother texture, like caster sugar. Medium-fine grind balances extraction and flow rate, slightly shorter brew time
Espresso / Moka Pot 0.1 – 0.3 Fine Fine particles, almost powdery, similar to flour. Very fine grind for quick, high-pressure extraction
Turkish Coffee <0.1 Extra-Fine Very fine particles, almost like powdered sugar. Extra fine grind for thick, concentrated coffee

Additional Considerations:

  • Bigger to Smaller Grind: The table starts with the coarsest grind suitable for cold brew and French press and moves down to the finest grind used in Turkish coffee.
  • Optimal Extraction: The grind size correlates with the extraction method and time; coarser grinds work better for slow extraction methods like cold brew, while finer grinds are best for quick extraction methods like espresso.
  • Personal Preference: The perfect cup of coffee is subjective. These guidelines serve as a starting point for experimenting with different grind sizes to find what best suits your taste preferences.

The Benefits of Freshly Ground Coffee

While pre-ground coffee may be convenient, there are compelling reasons to opt for freshly ground beans:

  • Whole coffee beans have a longer shelf life compared to ground coffee.
  • Roasted whole beans contain carbon dioxide, which helps prevent oxidation and staling, allowing them to maintain freshness for several weeks at room temperature. However, once the beans are ground, more surface area is exposed to oxygen, causing the grounds to lose flavour more rapidly.
  • Pre-ground coffee retains its freshness for only a few days, making it advisable to purchase in small quantities to ensure optimal flavour.

Exploring Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is a refreshing alternative to hot brewed coffee, especially favoured during warmer months. Unlike traditional brewing methods, cold brew involves steeping coarse-ground coffee in cold water for an extended period, typically ranging from 12 to 24 hours. This slow extraction process produces a smooth, low-acidic coffee concentrate that can be served over ice or diluted with water or milk to taste.

In summary, the grind size has a profound impact on the flavour and quality of your coffee. By choosing the appropriate grind type for your preferred brewing method, you can unlock the full potential of your coffee beans and enjoy a truly exceptional cup of coffee. Experiment with different grind sizes and brewing techniques to discover your perfect brew, tailored to your taste preferences and brewing equipment.

Whether you’re a coffee aficionado or just beginning your coffee journey, understanding the nuances of grind size is essential for elevating your coffee experience. So, next time you reach for your coffee grinder, consider how the grind size will influence the flavour profile of your brew, and prepare to savour every sip of your freshly brewed coffee.