The key to a good cup of coffee (besides the bean itself) is the correct grind. There are infinite ways to prepare coffee, but it is not always clear the best way to grind your beans. Hands down the most common question we receive is which grind setting to use, so we decided to publish our very own grind guide to provide easy to digest information to prepare your best coffee!
For Starters, Why We Don't Directly Offer Ground Coffee:
It's not that we are snobby, it's just that the coffee is so good, we want you to enjoy it at its peak freshness. Of course, if you'd really like your orders ground, we are always happy to do that if you drop us a note in the order!
Whole bean coffee has a bit of a bad name to the average coffee drinker due to the pretentious café culture of years past (which thankfully is beginning to fade). The truth is that there is some serious science behind it. Coffee beans contain over 1,000 different organic and inorganic compounds which give it its flavors and body characteristics. In reality, "flavor" is a general term and is actually comprised of two different sensory experiences: aroma and taste. Aromatic compounds are expressed with heat, and once expressed cannot be stopped. Thus the act of grinding beans adds heat, beginning the great escape of the aromatic compounds in coffee.
Distilled down: when you drink a coffee that was pre-ground weeks ago, it is 100% fact that there are no aromatic compounds remaining. While it still contains the other compounds that give the coffee flavor - it is missing a key component.
What Kind of Grinder Do I Need?
The best kind of grinder is a conical burr grinder. It will provide an even grind ensuring that you get an even brew. However, they are expensive and this is just not all that practical to sit here and tell you to buy a burr grinder.
Blade grinders are just fine! (this is the kind that you can buy at a grocery store, pharmacy, etc. If you search YouTube for coffee grinding tips, you will find countless videos of people saying you should absolutely not use a blade grinder. Is it ideal? No. Does it work fine? Yes! You are losing some of the aromatic compounds to do the additional heat build from the blade, but overall, it does the job.
I suggest grinding in 3 second pulses and shaking. This helps even out the ground but also helps you measure to later make adjustments if needed.
On the road? The Javapresse Manual hand grinder is amazing and a total game-changer for drinking good coffee on the road! There are other more expensive options out there, like The Commandante, but this one has worked wonders for me, and very affordable!
Rules of Thumb:
- Too watery? Grind the beans finer!
- Too bitter? (coffee should not be bitter) Try a more coarse grind!
- Consistency is key. You should look at your grounds and see an even bed, with little to no chunks of beans...but then again, sometimes it happens.
- No matter what type of brew you're making, it is crucial to shake the grounds to an even/flat bed. The coffee brewing process is an extractive process and thus even extraction is key!