There are several types of systems that can be the right tool for the coffee making job, but you also need the right grind to fit for your brew.
It’s all about the surface area of coffee. One coffee bean has only so much surface that comes in contact with the water. If you brewed a whole bean, the result would be a watery mess. So, by grinding the bean, you get more coffee surface to connect with the water. Use too large a grind for the method, and you will end up with weak coffee because not enough essence transferred. If your grind is too fine for the type, your coffee will end up bitter and too strong.
The next step is determining how long it stays in contact with the water. For instance, with a coarse grind, it takes a little longer to flavor the water with the coffee. This works best for press coffee and cold brew, whereas with pour-over or espresso, the water is in contact for a very short time, so a finer grind is necessary. Why does it matter how long coffee is in contact with water? There are compounds in roasted coffee beans that transfer into the water resulting in the beverage that we drink. How you brew affects how these compounds transfer and the quality of the results.
The ideal way to make sure the grinds fit your brewing method is to purchase whole coffee beans and use a home grinder. Not only will you be able to cater to your brewing whims, buying whole beans will keep your coffee fresher for a longer time. Though ground coffee is convenient, the grind size limits the options for brewing. Since grinding causes the coffee to lose freshness, this limits the shelf-life of your grinds. When you purchase ground coffee, for best results, store in a cool, dark place (not the refrigerator or freezer), and only buy what you can use within a few weeks.
Grind size is an important part of the coffee making equation but isn't the only part. You can learn more and get tips in our VR Blog.
As you prepare to brew, keep in mind:
Coarse grounds are used for brewing press coffee (French Press/Aeropress) and making cold brew
Medium grounds are ideal for use in drip coffee makers
Medium to Fine grounds are used in pour-over brewers
Fine grounds are used in espresso makers, where water briefly passes over the coffee.
Whatever your preferred brewing method, enjoy the process savor the deliciousness!
For the best consistent results, keep your coffee fresh. We can help with that. Subscribe to your favorite Veteran Roasters brew – you’ll save 10% and we’ll keep your kitchen stocked with our delicious, freshly-roasted small batch coffee.