There is a lot of conflicting information out there about how to grind beans. I’d like to take some time to explain the different types of grinds, and how you can go about choosing the best grind for the type of coffee and method of brewing you’re looking to use.
The grind type refers primarily to the size of the ground pieces of coffee beans. Some types of brewing methods work better with a different type of grind and many quality grinders let you specify many different levels of grinds to choose from to match the grind to how you plan to prepare the beans.
Typically you would describe larger bits as a more ‘coarse’ grind and smaller bits as a more ‘fine’ grind.
The Most Common Grind Classifications
This is one of the most common grinds. It’s recognizable by larger pieces. I like to use a coarser grind when I’m preparing coffee with a french press for brewing. Since the French Press produces a stronger cup, a coarser grind balances this strong brewing method to help the filtration be more effective. Using a grind too fine in a French Press to lead to an overpowering cup as well as grittiness from the grinds passing through the filter.
A medium grind is the one most commonly used for your home drip coffee brewing machine. If you were to look inside a K-Cup or other ready to brew package most of their beans are also a medium grind.
A fine grind is one that could be used in a drip brewer to adjust for a type of filter to make a slightly stronger cup. A very fine grind can also be used to espresso, to maximize the surface area coming in to contact with the steam as it passes by the ground beans.