How to Grind Coffee Beans

Grinding coffee beans is essential if you are after a seriously good cup of coffee. You should grind the coffee only just before brewing it so that you keep most of the aroma in. You will need either a blade coffee grinder or a burr coffee grinder. Well, you could actually grind the beans with a hammer, but I would not recommend that.

How fine should you grind the coffee?

Each brewing method requires a different grind ("grind" is a term used to describe how fine or coarse the ground coffee is). When coffee comes to contact with water only for a short period of time, you'll need the ground coffee to be very fine. On the other hand, if the coffee is in contact with water for a long time you'll need coarsely ground coffee.

It is important that you choose the grind that is appropriate for the coffee maker that you are using. Use the following table only as a starting point. You'll need to experiment a bit to get the best results.

Which grind should you use?
French PressCoarse
Cold Brew Coffee MakerCoarse
Vacuum Coffee MakerCoarse
Drip Coffee MakerMedium to Fine
Moka PotFine
Espresso MachineExtra fine
Ibrik (Turkish Coffee)Powder

What happens when you grind the coffee beans too coarsely?

If the coffee particles are too big, there is not enough surface area that can come into contact with water. So you are going to end up with under-extracted coffee: weak, thin and sometimes rather sour.

What happens when you grind the coffee beans too finely?

There are several problems with coffee that is too fine: Read my tips about how to grind coffee using a blade grinder.

Further Reading

Blade Coffee Grinders
Burr Coffee Grinders
Manual Coffee Grinders