Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters


Choosing The Right Grind

In order to make a delicious coffee beverage whole bean coffee must be ground into smaller particles to unlock flavor potential. Choosing the proper grind size can be confusing. So how do you determine which grind setting to use? The answer to that question can be found by considering the following four factors:

a diagram illustrating various common brewing methods, and the recommended grind particle size for each along a continuum

an illustration depicting the effects on coffee grind particle size on water flow rate

1 - Extraction rate of flavor

Larger (coarse) grind sizes need more contact time with water to extract optimum flavor. Smaller (finer) grind sizes need less contact time to extract optimum flavor. In general, we use a coarser grind for longer brewing times (4-8 minutes) and a finer grind for shorter brewing times (1-4 minutes).

2 - Flow rate of water

A coarse grind lets water pass through quickly. A fine grind slows the flow of water.

a drawing of grinds being rolled between pointer-finger and thumb to feel the particle size

3 - What does it feel like?

One effective way to communicate and evaluate grind size is how it feels to the touch. Take a sample of ground coffee and rub it between the thumb and fingers. Coffee is ground into particle sizes ranging from something resembling kosher sea salt for coarse, sand for a medium grind, and powdered sugar for a fine grind.

4 - How does it taste?

Ultimately, it all comes down to taste. Taste is very subjective. Assuming all the other essential brewing variables are in line simply ask: Does the brew taste bitter, astringent, or too strong? Adjust the grind coarser next time. Does the brew taste weak, watery, flat or sour? Adjust the grind finer next time. Small adjustments make big differences. Keep the adjustments small at first then continue adjusting to find the sweet spot.

To put all of this information together in a way that applies to different brewing methods refer to the grind recommendation chart for a good starting point on your preferred brewing method. Now you should be able 'dial' in the grind and enjoy some seriously tasty coffee. Enjoy!