Back to the grind, get it right for the coffee you like

If you’re a coffee lover, chances are you’ve heard the term “grinding” thrown around when talking about the process of making coffee. But what does grinding actually mean in the context of coffee. And why is it so important for making a great cup of coffee. Read on to find out all there is to know about how different types of grinding can affect your coffee-drinking experience. 

Grinding Basics

The definition of grinding, as it relates to coffee, is the process of breaking down coffee beans into smaller particles before they can be brewed. The size and shape of these particles affects the rate at which the water passes through them and extracts flavor compounds from the beans. It’s important to note that not all grinds are created equal; each type has its own characteristics that will affect your cup of coffee differently. 

Coarse Grind 

A coarse grind is just what it sounds like—the beans are ground into large pieces, almost like course sea salt. Coarsely-ground beans are ideal for making cold brew because they absorb water slower than more finely-ground beans. Brewing cold brew requires steeped grounds for at least 12 hours (sometimes up to 24!) in room temperature or chilled water; if the grounds were too fine, the resulting drink would be way too strong and overpowering. 

Medium Grind 

A medium grind falls somewhere between coarse and fine. It’s still fairly chunky, but not as large as a coarse grind. Medium-ground beans are best used for French press coffees because they allow more oils and aromas to pass through while still providing enough structure to keep them from ending up in the bottom of your cup! That said, medium grinds aren’t ideal for drip machines because they don’t provide enough structure for a consistent extraction process; the water will flow through too quickly and you won’t get the full flavor profile from the grounds. 

 Fine Grind

A fine grind is much smaller than either a coarse or medium grind—think powdered sugar or table salt consistency! This type of grind is great for espresso machines because it provides enough surface area for optimal extraction in such a short amount of time (espresso shots take about 30 seconds!). However, fineness also means that these grounds will extract faster than coarser ones—which can lead to over-extraction and an overly bitter drink if not done correctly.

Turkish Grind 

The Turkish grind is one of the finest available—it’s almost powdery! Turkish grinds should only be used when brewing Turkish coffee because any other method simply won’t work with such tiny particles (they would just pass right through filter paper). Brewing with Turkish-ground beans results in an incredibly strong cup with lots of body due to its high surface area and minimal contact time with water. 

No matter what type of brewing method you prefer, understanding how different types of grinding affect your coffee or espresso can help you make a better cup every single time. Different sizes produce different flavors, so experimenting with different settings may yield some interesting results—just don’t forget to filter those coarser grounds out! Knowing how to properly adjust your grinder for each brewing method is an essential skill for any coffee enthusiast, so get out there and start experimenting.

There is cheap and there are ‘better’ grinders. Here is an option on the affordable side that will let you get a grind on the beans you need for the type of coffee you’re making today. Of course, there are super precise options too. Please note that if you purchase from clicking on the link, I will get a tiny bit of that sale to help keep this site going.


Coffee grounds give your plants the punch they love

As I bang out the Espresso Maker’s coffee grounds this morning, I remembered back to a basket at the local Starbucks. In the basket was large silver bags of used coffee grounds. A couple came in, grabbed all the bags and headed out to their car. Hmmm… they didn’t buy a coffee drink so there must be something to this ‘used grounds’ thing.

Turns out, many of your plants share the same passion for coffee that you do. They just happen to be picky about the grounds being front a particular part of the world or how many hours ago you ground those beans.

The next time you head to the trash can to knock the grounds out of the filter, consider saving those in a bag or can. Then, after a few days, sprinkle those grounds around your plants or mix them into a bit of compost (mulch pike if you have one). According to – many plants seek out acids and will really wake up by having access to such a great source as coffee grounds. Roses in particular react well.

If you do have a compost pile, coffee grounds with their 20:1 Carbon-Nitrogen ratio creates great plant food. Do not allow the used grounds be more than 25% of the content. If you have too much acid from the beans, you can always a teaspoon of lime or wood ash per 5 pounds of coffee grounds. Rather than have to get into mixing chemicals, just don’t use so many grounds or add more leaves and straw.

In the 90s, Starbucks has the University of Washington (Starbucks being from Washington state…) look into what is ‘in’ coffee grounds. The University commissioned research found that the primary nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Then, secondary nutrients include calcium, magnesium and sulfur.

Doing a little Web browsing research, I found that many folks claim ants and cats do not like areas that have coffee grounds in the soil. And… carrots seem to respond very nicely when their seeds are planted in soil containing dry grounds. Of course, your milage may vary, but why not give it a try rather than throw those grounds in the trash?!