The wonderful aroma and taste of brewed coffee is the best way to start the day. Whether you are in a rush to an appointment or just lazing around, a perfectly brewed cup can put you in the right mood to tackle whatever needs to be done.
It is convenient to buy coffee grounds for your morning cup but it will not have the same aroma and taste of freshly ground whole coffee beans. Ground coffee loses flavor and aroma at a fast rate even when you keep it in an airtight container. The longer it stays in the can, the less flavor you get from the brew. To get a fresh cup of coffee with a full-bodied aroma and taste, you should learn how to grind coffee beans properly.
How to Grind Coffee Beans in a Proper Way
The most important gear needed to make good coffee is a good grinder. You may argue that buying good quality coffee beans will surely make a good cup of coffee, but you will not get your quality brew without properly grinding the beans. Coffee aficionados and baristas will tell you that even the best coffee beans will lose some of their flavor and taste if they are poorly ground, and ground coffee that is not immediately brewed oxidizes and starts to become stale.
To get a good cup, you need good beans and the correct grinder. The flavor of the coffee depends largely on the consistency of the grind and the size of the coffee grounds depends on the brewing method that follows. Generally, longer brewing methods that allow contact of the heated water with the coffee will require coarse grounds while brewing that permits short contact like the steam that passes through the coffee in the espresso machine require finer grounds. A coarse grind is suitable for a percolator or French press, a medium grind for automatic drip brewing with flat bottom filters, and a fine grind for espresso and drip brewing with cone-shaped filters.
Getting the correct size of the coffee grounds is quite subjective. What looks coarse to you may be medium-coarse to others, and the grind you call fine may look medium-fine to another person. Each of us has different tastes, and the taste of the coffee that you brew will depend to some extent on the size of the grind. For best results, you should experiment by varying the size of the coffee grounds that you use for brewing your favorite cup until you get the taste that suits your palate. This means that the grinder you use should have different settings that will allow you to experiment.
Grinders are either a propeller grinder or a coffee mill, also called a burr grinder. The burr grinder produces grounds with a uniform particle size that is ideal for the preparation of coffee, whereas the propeller or blade grinder will give an inconsistent grind.
The burr mill works by grinding the beans between two revolving discs with abrasive or serrated surfaces. The size of the grounds depends on the distance between the discs. Available models of the burr grinder have several settings to choose from so that you can easily set the machine based on the size of grounds you want for drip brewing, the French press, or the espresso machine. Lower settings where the discs are farther apart will result in coarser materials, while the higher settings where the discs are close together will produce smaller or finer material.
The burr grinder has two chambers, one for loading the coffee beans and another that receives the coffee grounds. Usually, the device has a revolving screw that pushes the grounds through. The grinding process does not create much friction that can heat and affect the taste of the coffee, which is one of its advantages over the blade grinder that sometimes produce a burnt taste because of the heating up of the propellers. The downside of the burr grinder is that the process takes longer, particularly when you put the grinder in a higher setting for fine grinds. It is also more expensive than the blade grinder, with some models costing a few hundred dollars.
You can purchase a good blade grinder for $25 dollars or less, and can get good quality grinds too, though not as uniform in particle size. The device has a single chamber equipped with a rotating two-sided single blade that chops the coffee beans. It has a transparent cover that allows you to see inside, and you turn off the blades when the grounds look to be of the right particle size. Users of the blade grinder recommend grinding in bursts to get uniform-sized granules. Of course, the coffee grounds will not be as consistent in size as those produced by the burr, but it will get the job done in much less time.
If you can afford the cost of the burr mill, you are assured of better-flavored coffee grounds because of the consistency of the grind and almost frictionless grinding. You can opt for the manual burr coffee mill that is cheaper than the electric-powered grinder, but the effort to grind a sufficient quantity for your morning coffee can be daunting, particularly when you are still half-asleep.
Coffee aficionados recommend a burr grinder when you are after coarse grounds, say for a French press, because it is difficult to get uniformly coarse grounds from a blade grinder. For medium grinds for drip brewing and for fine grinds, the propeller grinder can produce what you need as long as you grind in short bursts.
Whether you use a burr or a propeller grinder, you can brew a perfect cup of coffee once you have mastered the device – that is knowing which setting to use in the burr grinder and how long to grind the coffee beans in the propeller grinder. What is important is that the coffee grounds go from your grinder directly into your coffee brewer or espresso machine in order to get the fresh taste and aroma of a perfect cup of coffee.