In my last blog post I recommended getting a new grinder if you want to improve the taste of your coffee. Now I’ll explain why the grinder is so important to the actual taste of the coffee.
The first and most obvious thing is consistency. A spice grinder grinds finer the longer you keep it on. Depending on the coffee (some are harder than others), freshness, amount used, it is very hard to produce the same grind time after time. When making coffee, reducing variables is important to improving and maintaining consistently good coffee. If some days the ground coffee is finer than other days it will taste noticeably different.
The next thing, and just as important is consistent particle size. All grinders produce some coffee dust or powder, known as “fines”. It’s unavoidable. But in an ideal world, all coffee particles should be about the same size as each other. The reason for this is that when you expose coffee to hot water, the dissolvable components of the coffee begin dissolving, making the coffee in your cup! But if you have a lot of different sized grains dissolving, some will yield their coffee goodness sooner than others. Depending on the brew time, with uneven sized grains you could have part of the coffee completely dissolved and yet the larger grains might not be finished. This will give you what’s called “under extracted” coffee. It means you’re not getting the full yield from your coffee.
Simply adding to the brew time doesn’t solve this problem. If you brew too long, trying to get those larger grains fully spent, the smaller grains will start over extracting and start yielding bitterness and baked flavors. You can change brew time to some extent, but doing so dramatically won’t solve the problem of uneven coffee particle size.
A decent grinder won’t give you perfectly even grains of coffee. But on average it will come much closer than a spice grinder. And it will do it the same way each and every time. This is important, because if your grinder is consistent and your coffee making is the same, then there are two variables you don’t have to worry about. And it means you can change them and know that whatever changes you end up liking you’ll be able to do again and again.
Image of flour, salt and rice for scale
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