The following six grind sizes, and the respective brewing methods, are all you’ll ever need to know to brew a great cup of coffee, time after time.
Remember, you cannot choose one grind size and use it for everything. The size of the grind is matched to the type of extraction method used, to ensure the perfect balance of extracted flavours from the bean.
Methods that use high pressure extraction methods, with a short brewing time, such as those used by an espresso machine, require a finer grind to expose more surface area of the bean to the water.
Where the coffee has a much longer brewing time, such as in a percolator or French press, a coarser grind is used, as less surface area is required for extraction.
Here are the six sizes, and the most suitable brewing method for each.
This coffee ground has the same consistency as ground pepper corns. It is best used with Cold brew or Cowboy (Moer) Coffee.
This coffee ground has the same consistency as ground sea salt. It is best used with a French Press or Percolator.
It is also the most common form of coffee ground used for coffee cupping (tasting)
This coffee ground has the same consistency as coarse sand. It is best suited for use with a Chemex, Clever Dripper or Cafe Solo Brewer.
This coffee ground has the same consistency as regular sand. It is best suited for pour over brewers, flat bottom drip machines and siphon coffee.
When used in an Aeropress, medium ground coffee should be brewed for at least three minutes.
This coffee ground has the same consistency as table salt. It is best suited for cone shaped pour over brewers.
When used in an Aeropress, medium fine ground coffee should be brewed for between two and three minutes.
This coffee ground has a powdery consistency, finer than table salt. It is ideal for espresso and moca pot brewing methods.
When used in an Aeropress, fine ground coffee should be brewed for a minute.
Some methods of brewing allow you to control aspects of the brewing process, such as the amount of time the grinds are exposed to water, and the temperature of the water, which then allows you to also choose between different grind sizes.
Remember its about finding the perfect balance to get just the right amount of flavour for that perfect cup of coffee. Incorrectly matching the grind to your extraction method could lead to sour or bitter coffee.
You can find out more about the relationship between coffee grounds and over/under extracted coffee here.