Grinding 101

| June 4, 2015

You could use pre ground coffee, but why would you when you can grind your own coffee fresh? All you need is your own grinder and you’re in business. Whole bean coffee stays fresh for longer, and lets face it, who wants coffee made from stale beans? Certainly not me.

In the fabulous world of coffee there are 2 types of grinders:

Burr-Vs-Blade

Burr Vs Blade

Blade Grinders

These types of grinders use a metal blade to grind the coffee down. They tend to come in a cylindrical plastic device which can be low cost and picked up from even the smallest supermarket. These types of grinders have a couple of drawbacks though. Firstly the coffee is not ground evenly, so you won’t be able to get a perfect grind from them. Secondly the motion of the blade causes heat, which is detrimental to the flavour of your drink. If you’re after a cheap solution , and you don’t mind these problems, (or your taste buds don’t work properly) then a blade grinder is perfect for you.

Burr Grinder

With a burr grinder you render the services of a spinning metal plate which shreds the coffee more evenly than a blade grinder. You can buy one of these with or without a motor. The type without, uses a hand cranked mechanism. With an automatic machine, you can tell it how much coffee you want and how finely you want it. The device that measures the coffee is called a doser. In the lower end of the market, you can expect these types of grinders to overheat, so you should avoid them like the plague. If your secret Mafia coffee shop empire is doing great business then you will have the spare cash to splash out on an automatic machine that is a bit more expensive, but well worth the money.

Still Sitting On The Fence?

Speed. Making your lovely espresso can involve a number of steps, and you want it to be as quick as possible. Most of us would prefer that grinding doesn’t turn into a full time job. Pick your grinder that already tells you exactly how fast it can grind out your beans. Cheaper ones will take a while so be warned.

Doser. With a doser you can make preparing your espresso much easier. All you do is stick in your portafilter with a filter basket in the doser, and then slide the little lever. There is no need to measure the amount of coffee beforehand, and then no mess to clean up. These are only really present in burr grinder, blade grinders do sometimes have them, but as you can already tell i hate blades (spoiler).

So Much Yum

If your buying your coffee beans from a high street shop, they should normally offer to grind the beans for your. They better not charge as this is against all type of international coffee laws. Once your beans have been ground, they should be consumed as quickly as possible. With roasted beans you lose much of the flavour after it’s been exposed to air too long. The reason, there is more surface area exposed. An automated home grinding machine will grind the beans for you for about a minute before the espresso is made.

Types Of Coffee Grind

Yes, it even gets as scientific as the type of grind you perform. These are the 3 type of grind possible

Drip grind. This is a grind that can be anywhere from very coarse to a much finer grind. Drip coffee will be much stronger when you perform a finer grind, but it should be less fine than the type of grind you would do for a small espresso. If the grind is too fine, you will end up with a sandy tasting drink. This might be acceptable if your drinking espresso’s in Egypt, but not the UK.

Espresso grind. This type of grind is very fine. That doesn’t mean its so fine that it drops through the filter though. It should look like fine persian sand, and feel as exquisite. Withy this increased surface area you get more flavour. Much more flavour.

Turkish grind. This involves hiring someone from turkey to ground your coffee. Just kidding, this is the FINEST coffee grind that you can have. It’s so fine that it looks like powder. To the untrained eye this is what you might call “instant”, but it’s not made with a industrial mill so doesn’t taste as bad as the cheap instant you might buy from Tesco. Other very bad tasting brands are available.

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