Grinding Coffee: For Coffee Lovers
If you are a coffee lover, perhaps it is time for you to learn to grind your own coffee. If you don't have the slightest clue of where to start, then this article is for you! To begin, there are two main types of coffee grinders on the market today: burr grinders and blade grinders. Blade grinders grind the beans unevenly and without consistency in the grind. Since there are no settings on blade grinding units, you basically grind until you achieve the coarseness or fineness you need. The blade grinder causes static electricity and tends to make the process a bit messy if you aren't used to doing it. Burr grinders, on the other hand, grind the beans evenly and are much cleaner and easier to use; especially if you are just learning.
Burr grinders have settings that allow you to choose an exact uniform size and consistency. They are often recommended for espresso grinds, but can also be used for other types of grinds as well. If you are concerned about price, blade grinders are the cheaper of the two and sell for roughly $20 each. On the other hand, burr grinders often cost between $60 to $125. The extra money for the burr grinder would be well spent since you would be getting a better quality cup of coffee and the clean up would be quicker and easier! Each coffee brewing method requires a different grind size.
Drip coffee, for example, requires a medium size grind. Espresso requires a fine grind. The French press requires a much larger grind size. The following is a general guideline describing the basic grind requirement for use in coffee makers: Coarse grind: Coarse grind is used in a percolator. The percolator boils the water and forces it over the grounds in a metal filter that has holes in it. This grind would not be recommended for optimum flavor, as it over-extracts bitter oils and acids. Medium-course grind: Medium-coarse grind is used in a French press or metal mess coffee maker that has gold or stainless steel filters. These coffee makers force grounds to the bottom of the canisters after steeping the water/grounds mixture for several minutes. This would not be recommended for optimum flavor because it over-extracts bitter oils and acids and is a bad percolator. However, it is a good choice if you like a strong brew and don't mind a bit of sediment.
Medium grind: Medium grind is used in drip coffee makers. These coffee makers pour the water over the grounds in a flat bottom filter. You may have to experiment with the grinds if you use an electric maker, as this is the only way to control the extraction. Fine grind: Fine grind is used in espresso machines, which are considered the most efficient method of brewing. Extra-fine grind: Extra-fine grind is used in vacuum pots or some older Espresso machines. In order to get the best extraction for your coffee enjoyment, grinding the coffee beans properly is the key. Freshly grinding the coffee prior to brewing is one of the most important steps to a great cup of coffee. Just remember, the coffee beans should not be ground more than two minutes prior to the beginning of brewing.
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