Coffee Bean Grinders: Choosing and Using a Coffee Grinder

By | March 26, 2015

HandGrindingCoffee

Those coffee bean grinders in the supermarket are very tempting, right? If you buy your coffee in the bulk coffee bags, you will likely have the beans ground there, too.

And it’s reasonable: their coffee grinder is more powerful and flexible. And the likelihood is their grinder is superior in the quality and standards of the grinding process itself.

But … and it’s a big but. If you grind all the coffee there, will you be able to use it all before the ground coffee loses its delicate, delightful aromas. If you can’t arrange proper coffee storage, what should YOU do?

The solution costs a little bit of money, you’ll be able to apply the solution to different coffee makers, and you’ll enjoy a fresher, tastier cup of coffee than you would ever believe. Simply, …

Buy Your Own Coffee Bean Grinder

 

bladegrindercoffeebeansA lot of the flavor of a good cup of coffee depends on how it was ground. In recent years, the coffee bean grinder has become quite popular as people began to appreciate the value of a flavorful, fresh cup of coffee made from freshly ground coffee beans!

Rather than pay the exorbitant prices of a specialty coffee shop, many people bought their own grinders.

Coffee Bean Grinder: But which kind?

There are three types of coffee grinders: The blade grinders and the burr coffee grinders are both electric. You also have a manual coffee grinder which can evoke a feeling of nostalgia when you see it!

Blade Coffee Bean Grinders

You have probably seen the first type with a propeller-like blade at the bottom of a container (like mine). These are called coffee blade grinders. The blades spin around very quickly, tearing the beans into little pieces. These grinders are all well and good for people who want fresh coffee in the morning, but they don’t satisfy afficionados… Why?

The heat emitted by the machine can affect the flavor of the beans. The grind also tends to be uneven in inexperienced hands, so you might not get the best flavor from your coffee. You can get a better grind by filling the grinder cup only half full then grind the beans in short bursts, shaking between bursts to get the larger chunks to the bottom. These grinders are inexpensive and do the job quickly, if crudely.

Good coffee shops will NEVER use this kind of coffee bean grinder. The quality of the grind is uneven, the blades tend to generate heat that might affect coffee beans delicate oils and flavors, and there are no presets on most coffee grinders.

Coffee Burr Mill

The burr coffee grinders have 2 metal discs that spin at the bottom of a hopper, grinding a few beans at a time. A dial allows you to choose how fine the grind is. These are somewhat expensive but produce a better cup of coffee because of the precise and even grind.

You can get less expensive, a manual burr mill with a hand crank but it takes more effort. If you really love good coffee you will want to invest in a burr mill. A good grinder will yield better coffee than an expensive brewing machine.

General Grinding Tips

Leveling a Bayonet

Keep in mind that a coffee’s flavor is released as hot water hits the grounds. The longer the water is in contact with the grounds, the coarser the grind should be. If your grind is too fine it will impart harsh flavors and if too coarse it will not pick up much of the flavor. This is why your brewing method is important in deciding which grind you want.

Very Fine

If you like Turkish cezva or ibrik, a rich and thick coffee, you will want a grind that is fine and powdery. Espresso, another strong coffee, is a bit coarser like very fine sand. Note that these types of coffee are brewed quickly, thus the finer grind.

Fine Grind

Fine grinds, just this side of powdery and a bit gritty, is good for drip filters and Neapolitan pots. It takes longer to brew this kind of coffee, so if you get the grind wrong, you will either see mud at the bottom of the drip jug if the grind is too fine. If the grind is too coarse, your coffee will appear watery and lack a depth of color, flavor or smell. Neither of these problems can be fixed without throwing the coffee away.

Medium Grind

A medium grind like the texture of cornmeal is good for use in vacuum pots, French press or other devices with flat bottoms. If you enjoy a stovetop or electric percolator you will want a coarsely ground coffee for the best flavor.

Video: Tips on Grinding Coffee

Grind the right amount!

Since coffee loses its flavor about two days after grinding, you should always grind your beans right before you begin brewing. It’s the only way to have your coffee freshly ground and tasting great! Do remember, though, to choose the right grind for your brewing method.

If you do grind too much by mistake, store the coffee in an air-tight container or bag away from the sun (even in the refrigerator). Use it promptly to avoid having a bad cup of coffee!

Keep your Ground Coffee Fresh

When you grind coffee in a large bag, and you drink it over a month or more, you will notice that the flavors you first smelled when you open the bag start to dissipate. Not only that but the coffee in your cup begins to taste blander and lacks a sense of freshness.

There are two solutions to this problem: buy your coffee in smaller amounts – 1/2lb bags (approx. 200~250grams) should mean your coffee is drunk freshly and quickly. Or buy your own bean coffee bean grinder. This is, of course, a more cost effective solution because you can still buy bigger bags of coffee beans, and grind them as you use them!

It may seem confusing, but making a great cup of coffee isn’t difficult or frustrating. Just be prepared for a learning and enjoyable experience when you start grinding your coffee. Do keep notes to help you remember. Then you will certainly enjoy a perfect cup of coffee!