When I first started experimenting with different coffee brewing sizes, the biggest adjustment I had to make was switching from pre-ground coffee to grinding my own beans.
Suddenly I realized I need a coffee grind size chart as I couldn’t just grab a bag off the grocery store shelves, I needed to learn which grind sizes work best for which brewing method.
It may seem intimidating to dive into the world of coffee grind sizes, but it’s not as confusing as it may seem.
So if you’re stuck and unsure of how to choose the right grind size for your morning cup, don’t worry, we’ve got you.
Read on and check out our…
- Coffee grind size chart
- Why you should care about grind sizes
- How to choose the right one for your brewing method
- How to choose a grinder to get started.
Table of Contents
Does Grind Size Matter?
If you’re a coffee-lover like me, you’ve probably wondered at some point whether the grind size of your coffee beans really matters.
After all, what’s the difference between fine-ground coffee and coarse-ground coffee if they’re both going in a drip coffee maker or a French press?
But the truth is, the grind size of your coffee beans can have a big impact on the taste and quality of your coffee, and it especially makes a difference when we’re talking about the brewing method you use.
So, why does grind size matter? It all has to do with the surface area of the coffee grinds. The more surface area that is exposed to water, the more flavor is extracted from the coffee. That’s why a fine grind will produce a more flavorful cup of coffee than a coarse grind.
There’s also the matter of coffee strength. A coarse grind will result in a weaker coffee, while a fine grind will produce a stronger, more bitter coffee.
The best grind size for your coffee will depend on your preferences, so it’s important to experiment to find what you like best.
All this can seem a little intimidating, but don’t worry! Once you have a grasp of what brewing methods work for you, you can then determine what grind sizes to choose and build a routine from there.
The Different Grind Sizes
Before we share our actual coffee grind size chart it’s important to understand the different grind sizes and what brewing methods they are used for.
Let’s take a look at the different grind sizes below:
Extra coarse: Extra coarse coffee grounds are ideal for coffee makers that use a lot of water, like Cold Brew.
They allow for more contact between the water and coffee, resulting in a bolder, richer flavor. If you’re using an extra coarse grind, you’ll want to use about 60 grams of coffee per liter of water.
Coarse: The coarse coffee grind size is usually the largest grind size that most home brewers will use, and is typically used for French press and Chemex coffee.
It does create a less concentrated and slightly weaker cup of coffee, but in general, this is one of the more popular grind sizes out there.
Medium: This grind size is one of the most popular, mainly because it’s what most people use for drip coffee makers and single-serve pod machines, like Keurig.
It should be about the consistency of beach sand. A medium grind is a good middle-of-the-road grind size that won’t be too strong or too weak, perfect for starting out.
Medium-Fine: If you love pour-over coffee, then stick to medium-fine coffee grounds, since it will produce a rich and flavorful cup that’s strong, but not overly so. Medium-fine coffee is slightly finer than sand, and almost like table salt.
Fine: Many coffee shops will use fine-ground coffee for their espresso, and some people prefer it for Moka pot and pour-over coffee as well.
Fine-ground coffee has the consistency of table sugar, and it would easily be able to slip through your hands. This grind size is a bit harder to achieve than other grind sizes, since there’s a very fine line between fine and extra-fine.
Extra fine: In general, extra-fine coffee grinds are best for espresso and other strong coffee drinks, like Turkish coffee or Moka pot. It should be the consistency of flour or powdered sugar.
This is one of the grind sizes that is used the least often since there are very few brewing methods that require such a fine grind.
To understand everything you need to know about all the different coffee brewing methods, head over to our ultimate coffee brewing method guide here…
Coffee Grind Size Chart
If you’re unsure what grind size works best for your preferred brewing method, take a glance at this coffee grind size chart so you can get an idea of the differences between the difference sizes:
|Brewing Method||Grind Size||Particle Size (mm)||Consistency|
|Cold-Brew||Extra Course||1.5mm||Rock Salt|
|Eva Solo||Coarse||0.75 mm - 1 mm||Coarse Sea Salt|
|French Press||Coarse||0.75 mm - 1 mm||Coarse Sea Salt|
|Percolator||Coarse||0.75 mm - 1 mm||Course Sea Salt|
|Chemex||Course||0.75 mm - 1 mm||Course Sea Salt|
|Single-Serve||Medium||0.75 mm||Rough Sand|
|Clever Dripper||Medium||0.75 mm||Rough Sand|
|Drip||Medium||0.75 mm||Rough Sand|
|Moka Pot||Medium||0.75 mm||Rough Sand|
|Aeropress||Medium-Fine||0.5 mm||Table Salt|
|Pour-Over||Medium-Fine||0.5 mm||Table Salt|
|Vacuum/Siphon||Medium-Fine||0.5 mm||Table Salt|
|Espresso||Fine||0.3 mm||Granulated Sugar|
|Turkish Coffee||Extra-Fine||0.1 mm||Flour|
If you’re the kind of person that prefers to get your info in a more visual way then don’t worry! we’ve got you!
Here’s the coffee grind size chart in a handy and easy on the eye an info-graphic…
The Benefits Of Freshly Ground Coffee
If you’ve actually never had fresh ground coffee before, I hate to tell you, but you’re missing out. There’s so much to love about a cup of coffee made with freshly ground beans, and the flavor is just the start.
From possible health benefits to a richer and more tantalizing aroma, here are some of our favorite fresh grind perks:
- Control The Grind Size – When you grind your own coffee beans, you can control the grind size to suit your preferences. This allows you to make a smoother or more robust cup of coffee, depending on your taste.
- Antioxidant Levels – Freshly ground coffee also has a higher nutrient and antioxidant content than pre-ground coffee. This is because the coffee beans start to lose their nutrients as soon as they are ground. By grinding your own beans, you can ensure that you are getting the most nutrients possible.
- Better Flavor – Freshly ground coffee is also more flavorful than pre-ground coffee. The reason for this is that the longer coffee beans are ground, the more flavor they lose. So, if you want the fullest flavor possible, then consider grinding your own coffee minutes before brewing.
- Fresh Aroma – Fresh ground coffee has a much stronger aroma than pre-ground coffee, especially since the longer pre-ground coffee sits, the more stale it becomes. Whole coffee beans don’t go stale as quickly, so they keep their freshness and beautiful aroma longer. So next time you’re picking up a bag of coffee beans, consider walking past the pre-ground options and picking up a bag of whole coffee beans.They are a little more effort, but they’re so worth it when you take that first sip!
Understanding Coffee Extraction
The grind size you choose for your coffee can directly affect the way the coffee is extracted, but what does all this mean?
Let’s break down coffee extraction and see just how much the grind size affects the process.
What Does "Extraction" Mean?
The definition of the word “extraction” simply means the process of taking something out of another thing.
In the case of coffee, the extraction process means using water to take the soluble coffee compounds out of the beans. The compounds then are transferred to the water, creating what we know as coffee.
How Does Coffee Extraction Work?
Now, there are all kinds of different coffee brewing methods out there, and each one uses a slightly different process to extract the soluble compounds from the coffee grounds.
But the main idea is the same: the coffee grinds are soaked in water for a period of time (longer for cold water, less time for hot water), until the compounds are pulled out at the desired strength.
Generally, the water with the compounds is then run through a filter of some kind to catch any loose grounds or natural oils from the beans. When extracted properly, the result is a delicious and aromatic cup of coffee!
What Variables Affect Coffee Extraction?
There are a number of factors that can affect the quality of coffee extraction, including
- Brewing method
- Coffee to water ratio
- Grind of the beans
- Water temperature
- Coffee’s roast level
- Brewing time
However, if done correctly, coffee extraction can result in a delicious cup of coffee that is full of flavor.
For instance, if you soak your coffee grounds in hot water for too long, you may over-extract the coffee and it will taste bitter (this is easy to do with French press or cowboy coffee methods).
Or, if you choose a light roast and brew with water that’s too hot, you could end up with a very acidic cup of coffee.
Blade Vs Burr Grinders (Which One Should You Use?)
The biggest difference between blade grinders and burr grinders is the method that they use to chop up the beans and their price points. Let’s go into more detail to help you decide which method is right for you!
Blade grinders are made with (usually) two blades that spin rapidly to “chop” up the coffee beans. In fact, it’s built very similarly to a blender. They’re popular with beginners due to their low price point.
The main drawback with a blade grinder is that you have much less control over the grind size, and generally the grind won’t be as uniform.
They also produce much more heat than a burr grinder, and can sometimes cause your coffee to have a slightly burnt taste.
To fix this issue, try pulsing your blade grinder rather than grinding it constantly until it’s finished. This will help to give a more uniform blend.
When you go into a coffee shop and order a coffee, the beans will almost certainly be ground with a burr mill grinder. It’s the industry standard and for good reason!
Burr grinders work by using a series of alternating serrated burrs to grind up the beans as they fall towards the blades. Rather than chopping up the beans the way a blade grinder does, a burr grinder actually crushes up the beans.
Burr grinders produce a much more consistent and precise grind, and they’re also more heat resistant, so it’s much less likely that you’ll burn your beans as you grind them.
Because of that, they’re often more expensive, and often coffee newbies will have a hard time justifying the price. To cut back on cost, we recommend trying out a manual burr grinder before shelling out for the electric version.
Here’s a visual that shares the difference between burr and blade grinders…
So Which One Should I Pick?
Overall, we will always recommend a burr grinder, for all the reasons just listed.
The only time I would choose a blade grinder is if you’ve got a very tight budget and burr grinders just aren’t an option. In that case, I’d say enjoy your freshly-ground coffee using a blade grinder, and work your way up to a burr grinder when you can.
Popular Burr Grinder Settings You Can Use
There’s a whole world of burr grinders out there to choose from, so you’re sure to find the right one for your budget, lifestyle, and coffee preferences.
Unfortunately, different burr grinders have different grind size settings, so it can be difficult to determine which ones will give you the best grind size for your preferred method.
In addition to our coffee grind size chart we have also included the popular burr grinder settings you can use to help craft your perfect morning brew!
Check out this chart where we’ve compiled the grind sizes of the four most popular burr grinders out there, so you can have a quick reference and a starting point…
|Brew Method||Baratza Virtuoso Plus||OXO Brew||JavaPresse Manual||Breville Smart Grinder Pro|