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Advice Please - Grinding (non-espresso) -- How fine is too fine?
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BarryR
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Joined: 21 Nov 2010
Posts: 263
Location: Wilbraham
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Clever...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828B2-K
Posted Wed May 23, 2012, 4:58pm
Subject: Advice Please - Grinding (non-espresso) -- How fine is too fine?
 

I have a Preciso grinder and I'm working on finding the right grinder settings for various brewing methods:
For Espressos I end up between 4 & 5.
For Bunn about 13-14, Keurig 15. French Press - haven't done it yet. This puts me way at the fine end of what Baratza's guideline seems to be.

Would I be correct in thinking I should grind more or less as fine as possible as long as:
1) I don't notice any bitter or off flavors.
2) With filter methods I don't clog the filter or otherwise create too long a delay.
3) With automatic drip - the filter basket doesn't overflow.
4) With mesh (French Press, Keurig) I don't overflow or wind up with too much sludge/fines in the coffee.

I realize I should do whatever tastes best but I'm looking for a framework.
Anything else that should enter my equation?
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,689
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, Preciso/Esatto, KyM...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Wed May 23, 2012, 10:36pm
Subject: Re: Advice Please - Grinding (non-espresso) -- How fine is too fine?
 

Barry, you said it best...If it tastes good.

Your premises listed above are pretty much correct. The only TRUE way to know if your pour-over brew ratios are in the ball park would be to measure tis levels with some sort of refractometer.

Other than that, for espresso, rubbing the grind between your thumb and middle finger should (for the most part) feel just finer than sugar, and should have just the slightest bit of stick to the fingers...but not like powder.

Your Preciso is obviously set to the coarser end a wee bit (mine is centered, thus my espresso grind is centered at 9, with the Micro between D and K depending on age of beans and whether SO/blend, etc.

It's all relative, as you well know.

 
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Eiron
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Eiron
Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 342
Location: Loveland, Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill 0930
Grinder: Quick Mill 031,...
Drip: TechniVorm KBTS
Roaster: Behmor 1600, Presto Poplite
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 10:50am
Subject: Re: Advice Please - Grinding (non-espresso) -- How fine is too fine?
 

BarryR Said:

... Would I be correct in thinking I should grind more or less as fine as possible as long as:
1) I don't notice any bitter or off flavors.
2) With filter methods I don't clog the filter or otherwise create too long a delay.
3) With automatic drip - the filter basket doesn't overflow.
4) With mesh (French Press, Keurig) I don't overflow or wind up with too much sludge/fines in the coffee.

I realize I should do whatever tastes best but I'm looking for a framework.
Anything else that should enter my equation?

Posted May 23, 2012 link

I use two different grinders; one for espresso (Quick Mill 031) & one for everything else (Solis 166). My espresso settings rarely change (my bean choices are constant at this point, due to what I've found works well with my limited level of equipment).

For moka/caffe crema I push the fineness as far as I can go without being bitter. But for auto-drip I've added another criteria: astringency. I've found that my maker will brew an excellent cup with a very fine grind, but the aftertaste will have an astringency similar to drinking alcohol. If I back off the grind to something more coarse, I can eliminate the dryness & increase the natural sweetness of the brew. To find the best settings, I had to make small adjustments on my Solis 166 of a single click at a time. That might correspond to 2 or 3 clicks of your Preciso.

For FP my Solis won't really grind coarse enough, & I've even de-tuned it to the most coarse to burrs will achieve. So I've learned to compensate with more coffee & shorter brewing times in order to avoid either astringency or bitterness.

 
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sherpakid
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Joined: 22 Mar 2006
Posts: 110
Location: Brooklyn, NY
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Espresso: Quickmill Silvano
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Virtuoso
Drip: Chemex, Aeropress, Clever...
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 12:24pm
Subject: Re: Advice Please - Grinding (non-espresso) -- How fine is too fine?
 

IMAWriter Said:

Barry, you said it best...If it tastes good.

Your Preciso is obviously set to the coarser end a wee bit (mine is centered, thus my espresso grind is centered at 9, with the Micro between D and K depending on age of beans and whether SO/blend, etc.

Posted May 23, 2012 link

I thought that as well and was wondering why everyone was reporting a setting of 9-10 for espresso and I was at 5 to 6. Baratza support replied to my question by saying, "If your serial number is somewhere in the 12xxxx then what you are describing is normal. We have recently changed the way that we calibrate the grinders right out of the factory. "

When I needed help dialing in my grind size my local coffee shop, Joe's Pro Shop, was more than happy to grind me sample sizes to take home for the various brewing methods so I could compare against mine at home. Maybe that could help you in your calibration.

 
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BarryR
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Joined: 21 Nov 2010
Posts: 263
Location: Wilbraham
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Clever...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828B2-K
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 5:47pm
Subject: Re: Advice Please - Grinding (non-espresso) -- How fine is too fine?
 

sherpakid Said:

I thought that as well and was wondering why everyone was reporting a setting of 9-10 for espresso and I was at 5 to 6. Baratza support replied to my question by saying, "If your serial number is somewhere in the 12xxxx then what you are describing is normal. We have recently changed the way that we calibrate the grinders right out of the factory. "

Posted May 24, 2012 link

My serial # is indeed 12XXXX. I already recalibrated it though towar the fine range. Even within the fine range, though, there seemed to be some variability and I went in the coarse end of fine.
If I recalibrate, I'll go as fine as possible.

Also with coffee from my Bunn today, I thing I had some slightly unpleasant bitterness so I think I found "too fine" and will back off a bit tomorrow by about 6 or 7 microsteps).
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cmcconomy
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Joined: 3 Jun 2012
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Jun 3, 2012, 7:45am
Subject: Re: Advice Please - Grinding (non-espresso) -- How fine is too fine?
 

Another thing to try is, if you suspect there may be too many fines causing bitterness, grind to your desired size and then shake it through a fine mesh sieve to remove the very tiniest of fines and maintain the grind size you've targetted. This is a pretty good way to "cheat" a poorer grinder.
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OdacremCoffee
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OdacremCoffee
Joined: 24 May 2012
Posts: 1
Location: ABQ NM
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Franke
Roaster: Diedrich
Posted Mon Jun 4, 2012, 7:28pm
Subject: Re: Advice Please - Grinding (non-espresso) -- How fine is too fine?
 

It depends on what you are doing.
The finer the ground the greater percentage of extraction your are gonna have.  That is related to the time of the water in contact with the coffee ground.  So the finer the coffee, the less time for brewing you want or the bitter flavors are going to end in your cup.   The best example is the coarse ground on the French press that can be in contact with the water for several minutes and the fine ground for the espresso machine that has to take a few seconds to be perfect.
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TheBigDripper
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TheBigDripper
Joined: 5 Jun 2012
Posts: 45
Location: Texas
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bialetti 6-cup moka pot
Grinder: Vintage Zassenhaus
Drip: Too many too list
Posted Tue Jun 5, 2012, 5:33pm
Subject: Re: Advice Please - Grinding (non-espresso) -- How fine is too fine?
 

I've found the finest setting on my old Zassenhaus is *perfect* for brewing through the gold mesh filter in my Braun, and a quarter-turn coarser for my Drip-o-lator, French press, and my three percolators (yes, they make excellent coffee). I had to use the store's grinder for my moka pot, though.
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