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Michael Weber
05-11-2012, 12:52 PM
Didn't want to hijack the "what's in coffee thread" but it made me think of a question I've been wanting to ask. We have been grinding our own coffee the last year or so. We use the standard high speed blade coffee grinder and grind just before brewing or the night before for the first early morning pot that auto brews. The coffee beans aren't anything special, just a fair trade variety from Sam's that's french roasted. I use a paper filter so I have been grinding the beans very finely. Almost dust in fact, in the belief I would get a stronger drink than a more coarsely ground equivilant amount of coffee. Is this wrong? Is there a reason commercial coffee's are sold as a particular grind such as "drip grind"?

David Weaver
05-11-2012, 12:56 PM
Drip grind and perc grind are the two I can think of that would be common. I'm a big time coffee drinker, but not much on snobbery so I don't go hard depth into why things are the way they are. But i think you do get a little more in one pass out of finely ground coffee (thus the drip grind).

Perc grind is more coarse, but the water goes over the beans many times.

I prefer coffee out of a perc, but like I said, I'm a low-brow drinker, so most of mine either comes out of a bunn drip maker (at work) or a cuisinart maker (at home).

Far and away, the most important thing to me and my practical all-day coffee drinking is the insulated caraffe.

(you can use a perc with drip grind coffee if you're going to let it settle a minute before you pour, anyway, I used to do it all the time. The percolator ground coffee will still always leave some in the water, just less than the drip grind).

Zach England
05-11-2012, 1:58 PM
I use a burr grinder to get a coarse grind for my french press. That's the only way I make coffee.

Greg Portland
05-11-2012, 3:35 PM
Didn't want to hijack the "what's in coffee thread" but it made me think of a question I've been wanting to ask. We have been grinding our own coffee the last year or so. We use the standard high speed blade coffee grinder and grind just before brewing or the night before for the first early morning pot that auto brews. The coffee beans aren't anything special, just a fair trade variety from Sam's that's french roasted. I use a paper filter so I have been grinding the beans very finely. Almost dust in fact, in the belief I would get a stronger drink than a more coarsely ground equivilant amount of coffee. Is this wrong? Is there a reason commercial coffee's are sold as a particular grind such as "drip grind"?
The size and uniformity of the grind make a big difference in taste. Whether you care or not is a personal decision.

A grind that is too fine for the machine will result in over-extraction of the oils/flavors and yield a very bitter cup. A grind that is too coarse will not give you enough extraction and leave you with minimal flavor. Note that machine type and water temperature play a big role in what ends up in your cup.

You can see that if you have a mix of grind sizes then you'll get some over extraction and some underextraction (resulting in bitterness with none of the good flavors). This is why folks recommend a burr grinder... it will give you a more uniform grind versus a blade grinder.

French press = coarse grind
drip and pour-over = medium to fine grind (medium is ~ a grain of sand)
espresso = fine grind

David Helm
05-11-2012, 4:51 PM
If you are using a drip method, grind medium and use a fast flow cone. The idea, as Greg stated is to not overextract. A fast flow cone allows the water through quickly so the acids and nastiness stay in the grounds.

Ron Natalie
05-11-2012, 6:47 PM
Most of the time I use the grinder integral to the Miele coffee station. The rest I have a small burr grinder. I roast my own Kona beans as well.

Larry Frank
05-11-2012, 9:29 PM
I think a burr grinder will give you much more control over the grind and be much better than the blade grinder.

I recently had some of the best coffee ever. I was in Kona and went to a coffee plantation called Mountain Thunder and got to roast my own 5 pounds of coffee. I never knew how much goes into getting the coffee cherries into the actual coffee beans that we finally use.

The coffee was absolutely fantastic but I do not know if I will buy any more because at around $38 a pound, it is a little too expensive.

Ron Natalie
05-12-2012, 9:06 AM
We travelled to Kona (my son in law was running the Ironman). There's a place there with a historical coffee farm where you can pick the cherries, and they show you how the "old time" cherries were processed.
All over the place you can smell roasting coffee. I visited the plantation that is one of the two that I have a long relationship ordering green beans from.