Most people don’t realize that not all ground coffee is created equal. The size and shape of your coffee particles greatly affects extraction and therefore the taste of your coffee. We talked about extraction in a previous post, but to remind you, extraction occurs when coffee particles dissolve into water. The water “extracts” coffee sediment and flavor from the particles, giving coffee it’s color and taste.
Grind size can range any where from very fine, soft coffee particles, to larger, rougher particles. Think sugar sand vs. sea salt. With smaller grind sizes, there is more surface area for the water to come into contact with. This means the coffee will extract (or dissolve into the water) faster and easier – which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
If coffee is ground too fine for your brewing method, it can “over-extract.” In other words, the water will break down the coffee so much that acids will be released and your cup will taste bitter. If your particles are too large, the water won’t be able to extract enough coffee and you’ll end up with a weak, or “under-extracted” brew.
Grind size is all about finding the sweet spot for your coffee and brewing method. Check back tomorrow for more grinder talk!
Have questions about coffee or brewing? Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.