Last week we left comparing the standard blade grinder with the burr grinder. Here is a short video going over the difference between the two.
If you are still looking for a little more help with choosing your grinder, Gear Patrol has done a wonderful job of selecting a range of coffee grinders based on budget and quality of grind. We’ve highlighted three options below to give you a sense of the range.
|Most Economical||Coffee Connoisseur||Total Coffee Geek|
|Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill||Breville Smart Grinder Pro||Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder|
|The Hario gets the job done — it turns beans into grinds, it’s cheap and it’s portable. However, it’s not going to meet the demands of espresso lovers or high volume consumers. While it has adjustable conical ceramic burrs and is dishwasher safe, the settings are not marked. It’s as slow or fast as your ability to turn the crank.
|Stepping up to the Breville not only saves you from askance looks at your forearms, it gives you ease of use (and cleaning). You get 60 settings, automatic dosage, and air-tight storage of your ground coffee — important for freshness. The feed shoot is likely to clog with finer grinds, but simple cleaning makes that a minor inconvenience.
|Mazzer’s smallest grinder is a full-blown commercial-grade grinder that will last. The Swedish hardened steel burrs offer infinite stepless grind adjustment, allowing you to dial in the perfect granularity for your espresso maker. The adjustable portafilter doser gives you similar ability to tweak your grind; the Mini is best for the espresso drinker who rarely drips his caffeine.
There are 3 characteristics to consider when it comes to understanding grind: 1) extraction rate of flavor 2) flow rate of water 3) what does it feel like.
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).
Flow Rate of Water
A grind that is too fine will trap water and result in a bitter, unpleasant brew. The smaller each one of those grind particles are, the easier it is for the water to take flavor out of them. A grind that is too coarse, water flows through quickly and can leave coffee weak without distinguishing characteristics or flavors. Flow rate of water is also determined by your brewing method.
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.
Now that you understand the ins and outs of the grind, our grind recommendations for various brewing methods will make sense. Of course, the best is to experiment to your taste, but at least you will know where to start.
If you feel your cup of coffee is a tad weak or sour, try a slightly finer grind size. Or if the coffee still tastes very heavy or strong or slightly bitter, test with a slightly larger grind size. When in doubt, always err on the coarse side. To find your sweet spot, adjust the grind each time you brew.
Comments will be approved before showing up.