Have you recently started grinding coffee beans to brew your cup of Joe? Why does it still taste so average, and sometimes, even bitter?
Well, that's because you have been doing it all wrong. Grinding coffee beans isn't as easy as grinders make it look like.
There is a specific technique for the process, and that's what you will discover today.
We have outlined a step by step guide on how to use a coffee grinder the proper way.
We have also answered a few common queries that will help you gain some insight.
Does a Coffee Grinder Make a Difference?
A cup of Java made with pre-ground coffee beans is not as aromatic and flavorful as that made from freshly ground beans.
That's because when beans are ground at the factory, the coffee grounds tend to absorb moisture from the atmosphere pretty fast and begin undergoing oxidation.
This process makes them lose their aroma and flavor before they reach the airtight packaging.
So if you know how to use a coffee grinder properly, you can grind coffee beans at home.
Then brew the coffee immediately to enjoy the fullest of what nature has to offer.
Can You Use a Blender or Spice Grinder to Grind Coffee?
Blenders and regular spice grinders tend to grind the beans unevenly, where some beans are powdered, and others are still coarse.
As you brew, the smaller coffee particles get extracted earlier, while the bigger ones take time.
Uneven flavor extraction can lead to either a bland, salty coffee or a very bitter one.
The key is using a consistent grind, which allows even extraction of all particles.
That's precisely what coffee grinders do, yielding uniformly sized grounds every time.
Are Blade Coffee Grinders Really That Bad?
Blade coffee grinders have a bad rep due to some very solid reasons.
Firstly, they are just like regular spice grinders. They don't grind the beans; instead, they pulverize them.
Using the lowest setting or the pulse option doesn't help either since you would end up with an inconsistent grind.
Secondly, as you grind, their blades heat up pretty fast, which ruins the flavor of coffee grounds.
So instead of getting tempted to buy a cheap blade grinder, invest in a burr coffee grinder, preferably the conical variety.
It is slightly pricey, but the results make it worth it. The flavorful coffee you drink at Starbucks or other coffee places is made from beans grounded in burr grinders, not the blade ones.
In conical burr grinders, the beans are funneled down in small amounts through a narrow pathway that ensures a consistent grind.
Additionally, it doesn't clog and grinds at a slower speed, producing less noise during the process.
How to Use a Coffee Grinder
Here is a foolproof method of grinding Java beans at home, using a conical burr grinder.
Step #1: Select Coffee Bean Type
Firstly, you need to grab a bag of the correct type of Java beans.
We highly recommend buying Arabica coffee beans because they are sweeter and have a smooth chocolate-like flavor.
In contrast, Robusta coffee beans are bitter and have a harsh, more potent taste.
They also contain high levels of caffeine, which can be unhealthy.
Step #2: Select Coffee Bean Quantity
If you fill the entire coffee grinder with beans in order to grind a big batch in one go, you will end up with bitter-tasting coffee.
When you load the grinder with too many beans, it takes longer to grind them all.
This, in turn, leads to the building of heat since increased friction produces more heat, which starts cooking the beans, making them bitter.
Hence, always take a small number of coffee beans, preferably 15 grams, that will end up making you two cups of coffee.
Step #3: Choose Grind Size
This step is essential since it requires you to choose the appropriate grind size for adjusting the grinder settings.
Every brewing method requires a different type of grind consistency.
Therefore, you can use the following guide to select your grind size:
- Extra-Coarse Grind (Ground Peppercorn Size): For cold brewing and cowboy coffee
- Coarse Grind (Sea Salt Consistency): For French press and percolators
- Medium-Coarse Grind (Coarse Sand Size): For Chemex, cafe solo brewer, and clever dripper
- Medium Grind (Kosher Salt or Regular Sand Size): For automatic flat-bottomed drip coffee maker, pour-over coffee maker, Aeropress (above three minutes of brew time), and Siphon brewer
- Medium-Fine Grind (Table Salt Grain Size): For Aeropress (two to three minute brew time)
- Fine Grind (fine table salt consistency): For making espresso (both machine and stovetop method)
- Extra-Fine Grind (flour-like, powdery texture): For making Turkish coffee (Ibrik)
Step #4: Adjust the Grinder's Setting
Since no two or more burr grinders are alike, we recommend you go through the user's manual to adjust the settings.
In general, though, burr grinders usually have a dial that has markings from 0 to 20.
These markings indicate time in seconds, so you can set the grinder to how long to grind coffee.
The other larger dial has around 15 markings in total for selecting the grind consistency.
This dial has three prominent labeled markings for choosing the coarse, medium, or fine grind.
At home, you are likely to use an automatic drip coffee maker.
Therefore, set the larger dial marking at medium grind and dial at two seconds for short bursts of grinding.
Step #5: Grind Coffee Beans
Place the measured quantity of beans in the hopper and plug the cord into a switch.
Then place the grounds container into the machine's bottom area and press the given button to start the grinding.
It will grind for two seconds and stop. Allow it to rest for four to five seconds and repeat the grinding by pressing the button again.
Continue the process till you have ground all the beans in the hopper.
Lastly, cover the container with the provided lid to retain freshness and move on to brew your coffee immediately.
What Should a Coffee Grinder Be Set At?
For a home setting, you should set the coffee grinder on a grinding mode that you use frequently.
If you don't own a coffee maker, then you probably make coffee on the stovetop.
In that case, set your machine to a fine setting with the two-second grinding time.
Since the store-bought pre-ground coffee is always a medium grind, you can also set your burr grinder to a medium setting.
This will not only allow you to prepare your daily cup in your automatic drip coffee maker but also let you make the delicious beaten coffee (Indian cappuccino).
How Long to Grind Coffee for Effective Results?
We recommend using short, two-second bursts for grinding coffee.
If you are in a hurry, you can increase the grinding time from three to five seconds, but no longer than that.
Also, resting the machine for about five to six seconds between the grinding bursts is always a good idea.
Although burr grinders don't heat up as their blade counterparts do, even the small amount of produced heat affects the coffee flavor.
Therefore, keeping the grinding time at short intervals is the only way to produce the best results.
Helpful Tips on How to Use Coffee Grinders
The following tips will help you achieve cafe level perfection with your grinds:
Use the Pulse Mode
You can use a blade coffee grinder to crush coffee beans by using the pulse option.
Grind in Short Bursts
Grinding in short bursts of two seconds with a six- to seven-second rest interval will prevent blade heating.
Tilt the Blade Grinder
When using a blade grinder, tilting it during the process helps achieve a more consistent grind.
For Large Batches, Grind in Small Amounts
If you want coffee that will last you a week, you will need to grind about a cup of coffee beans.
Make sure you do it in steps, grinding only 15 grams of beans in one go. Also, store the grounds in an airtight container immediately.
Clean the Appliance Properly
When it comes to how to use coffee grinders, cleaning them is always the last step.
That said, always clean the hopper and ground container with a gentle soap solution; never put the machinery in or near water.
Rinse with warm water and air dry before storing.
Don't Grind Other Ingredients
Don't get tempted to grind other food ingredients in your coffee grinder since they will damage the appliance.
How Do You Make Coffee With a Coffee Grinder: The Bottom Line
Now that you know how to use a coffee grinder, you can go ahead and grind fresh coffee beans for your morning cup every day.
You can try out a different grind and a new brewing method every day.
You can also mix up and grind various flavored coffee beans to create your very own blend.