How to Grind Coffee (AKA why supermarkets simply don’t cut it…)

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What’s Your Grind? 

How you make your coffee at home should be dictating how your coffee is ground. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach applied by supermarkets simply doesn’t cut it, and means that you’re probably missing out on a truly magical cup.

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This is why, when our customers sign up to pactcoffee.com, we ask about the equipment they’re using at home. It’s not complicated, but it matters a great deal.

So here’s our definitive guide to how your coffee should be ground. I hope it’s helpful!

1. Cafetiere/French Press

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Grind: Coarse (7-9)

Why? You should be leaving your coffee to sit for 4 minutes before plunging the cafetiere. That means that the water has a long time to extract the flavor oil, caffeine and complexity from the grounds. If the grind is too fine it won’t be caught in the filter and you could end up with sludge at the bottom of your cup, and a gritty tasting coffee.

2. Drip/Filter 

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Grind: Medium: (5-7)

Why? In this method, the hot water is not in contact with the coffee for as long – perhaps 2 minutes, so you need to offer a greater surface area to ensure the coffee has enough depth and body. The filters are far finer than the metal gauze in a cafetiere so there is no risk of a puddle of mud at the end of your cup.

3. Stovetop/Moka

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Grind: Fine (3-4)

Why? The stovetop sits somewhere between a filter and an espresso. Hot water boils through the pressed coffee fairly quickly, so you need a fine grind to ensure that you get all the love out of the beans. It’s important not to go for a full espresso grind as the moka will let the smallest grinds through into the cup.

4. Espresso machine

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Grind: Very fine (2-3)

Why? When you make an espresso, high pressure water is forced through the coffee grounds very quickly, and is in contact with the fine-ground coffee for less than a minute. You need a very fine grind to ensure that the water can express all of the oils from your coffee. Interestingly, caffeine takes longer to be extracted than many of the other flavor compounds so, contrary to popular belief, espresso typically contains far less caffeine than filter or French press coffees.

5. The Turkish/Ibrik/Cezve

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Grind: Superfine (1)

Why? Though Turkish coffee has recently lost popularity in favor of the brewing methods above, it is arguably one of the oldest widely adopted forms of coffee preparation. There isn’t enough space to do the subject justice on this page, but I’d recommend real coffee affectionados to check out the wiki page on this subject and give it a try. Hold on to your seat, grind the coffee to dust and brew!

7 thoughts on “How to Grind Coffee (AKA why supermarkets simply don’t cut it…)

  1. Where’s the option for coffee prepared by boiling water in a kettle, and pouring said water into a cup of coffee? Cause that’s the way I go.

    1. Hi Hashim, we don’t offer instant coffee I’m afraid, which means you’ll need some sort of brew method. Hario V60s are a great option for those who are new to brewing fresh coffee – you can read more about them here. Hope that helps!

    1. You can make a good cold brew using a french press! Just to make sure you don’t clog up the metal filter it’s good to use coarse ground coffee and steep for 12 – 24 hours in the fridge, with the plunger inserted to ensure it doesn’t pick up smells from other stuff in the fridge. Enjoy!

  2. I tend to switch between my V60 when its just for my wife an I but then tend to use a Cafetiere to save on time/mess if any more than two cups – Is there a happy medium? what would be the best compromise? Something like coarse with a longer Brewtime for the V60?

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