samuellaw178 Senior Member Joined: 22 Jan 2011 Posts: 377 Location: KL,Malaysia Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Arrarex Caravel Grinder: Rosco Mini Drip: French Press, Aeropress,... Roaster: DIY Copper drum roaster
Posted Mon Nov 28, 2011, 12:23pm Subject: Re: Difference between Grind Types
It means how fine or coarse (the size) you grind the coffee into. ie: It's like you're cutting a potato into many small pieces. You can choose to cut it into big chunks, small chunks etc etc. The smaller sizes being fine (like mashed potato) and the coarser being big-sized chunks(French fries?Lol).
Brewing coffee is an art of extracting flavors from the coffee bean into water. So, the coarser you grind, the longer time you need to steep in water in order to extract the same amount of flavors out of the coffee grind. This is because you have more surface of the coffee exposed to the water if you grind them smaller.
So depending on your brew method, you can choose between fine, medium, coarse and adjust the brewing time. It is your brewing method that primarily affect your choice of grind size.
CorvusCoffee Senior Member Joined: 1 Dec 2011 Posts: 13 Location: Denver, CO Expertise: Pro Roaster
Posted Thu Dec 1, 2011, 5:41pm Subject: Re: Difference between Grind Types
There isn't any specific benefit from a coarser or finer grind without taking into account the brewing method. Coffee (finished product) is a solution (sort of) and the different grinds are simply to allow for different amounts of surface area on the solute (ground coffee) to be exposed to the solvent (water) there are many different factors which go into determining the particle size you need including water temperature, pressure (if any) and brew time. You generally want to use a certain size grind for each specific brewing method and these are generally steadfast.
A smaller particle size will allow for the oils and acidic compounds (lactones) to diffuse or dissolve much quicker into the solution. This means that if you are using a brewing method which brews more quickly, you will need this smaller particle size so that the solute (ground coffee) can diffuse more fully in the limited time available. Hence, espresso machines generally do better with a finer grinds, since the brew time is somewhere around 28 seconds. The opposite of all this is true for a French press.
Anyway, the short answer is that for an automatic drip machine, you will want to use a medium grind. If your machine uses a cone shaped filter, maybe tighten the grind up a little. Home auto machines are pretty unreliable across the board for keeping to some sort of brewing standard, so you might have to play with the grind a little.
If you are getting a soapy taste at all, that usually means the coffee is under extracted. Tighten the grind. If the taste is a little more leaning towards oily and bitter (I hate that word in reference to coffee) maybe loosen the grind, or make it more coarse.
Hopefully you had time to read that all, and hopefully it didn't put you to sleep! God I love talking about coffee! Phil
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