Chasing the Grind

As the seasons change you may find the need to adjust your coffee grinder settings. If the great taste of your coffee is starting to allude you, the slightest tweak to your grinder may restore order to the universe. High end coffee shops will “dial in” their espresso machine grinders several times a day to control for changes in atmosphere. More forgiving, manual brews such as the pour over and French press, are also sensitive to variation in grind size. If you visualize the atmosphere as a pendulum, the ideal grind size will swing by, briefly hitting its mark, but will also spend the majority of its time to the left or right of perfect. To reduce the impact of the atmosphere, it’s important to check in on those grinder settings from time to time.

Experts in the coffee community will agree that the most valuable piece of coffee equipment is a good quality burr grinder. A grinder that produces consistent particles appropriate to your brew method will assist in producing repeatable results and will help you achieve the full potential of your morning cup.



Evenly ground, grind size, water temperature, coffee/water ratios, brew time, roast profile, age of coffee, and more - but take charge of that grind!

I remember a Colombian Supremo that I could grind using a sledgehammer and it would taste great! Of course, grinding it perfectly would render a better result, but it was an all-around forgiving coffee. Our current Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a bit more sensitive to grind size. The slightest adjustment on our grinder and I can taste the difference. While there are many variables that influence the taste of brewed coffee, it is important to start off with fresh coffee that is ground to the optimal size using a quality burr grinder for the perfect result. While possible to enjoy more forgiving single origins ground with a blade grinder or a sledgehammer, you can readily see the variation in particle size when using non-burr grinders. These uneven sizes will extract at different rates, and most coffees will experience a drop in quality due to this inconsistency. Uneven extraction can wreak havoc on your precious cup of joe, or at least make it a meager semblance of its best self. If you haven’t tried it before, experiment at home with a cup of coffee brewed with two different grind sizes. The results will be telling.

I constantly evaluate our roasted coffee with a fresh pour over before shipping, just to see if everything is still as it should be. A single cup pour over is one of the easiest ways to make comparisons between grind sizes. If the water pours through the coffee quickly, it may be ground too course and will be under extracted (papery taste or sour). If it’s taking forever to pass through the filter, there is too much surface area, which means it’s ground too fine (bitter). Both will taste wildly different when compared back to back. A perfect grind should leave you feeling very happy. Happiness is what coffee is all about!

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