What are the Different Types of Coffee Grinds?


Coffee is a beloved beverage that can be prepared in many different ways. One crucial factor influencing the aroma, flavor, and quality of coffee is the grind size used to prepare the beans for the brewing method. In this guide, we explore all the different types of coffee grinds and explain how to choose the best grind size for your favorite preparation method  

Does coffee grind size affect the taste of coffee?

Pouring grinds into a cold brew coffee pitcher.

The short answer is yes! The coffee grind size is one of a few significant determinants of flavor. Imagine the grind size as the water's path to extract the flavor and compounds from coffee beans. 

Like in espresso, the finer the grounds, the more surface area, the faster the flavor extracts. As in cold brew, the coarser the grounds, the less surface area, and the slower the flavor extracts. 

If the water is in contact with too much surface area of the grounds for too long, the flavor will likely taste bitter. If the grind size is too coarse and the water does not have the opportunity to make extended contact, the flavor will likely taste weak and acidic. Keep in mind that the flavor is also influenced by the beans' quality and the water's temperature, so grind size and brewing time are only two pieces of the puzzle. 

Coffee Grind Sizes

While grind size is only one of several factors that influence the quality and taste of coffee, it is a crucial factor that must be carefully considered. Even if all the other factors are spot on, the flavor will be subpar if the grind size is not right. Here is what you need to know about all of the coffee grind sizes: 

• 1.5 millimeter particle size.
• The texture of rock salt.
• Best for cold brew.

• 1 millimeter particle size.
• The texture of coarse sea salt.
• Best for French press and percolators.

• 0.75 millimeter particle size.
• The texture of beach sand.
• Best for pour-over, Chemex, and drip coffee.
Medium Fine
• 0.5 millimeter size.
• The texture of table salt.
• Best for Moka pot, stovetop espresso, Aeropress, siphon brew, and pour-over.

• 0.3 millimeter size.
• The texture of fine granulated sugar.
• Best for espresso.

• 0.1 millimeter size.
• The texture of flour.
• Best for Turkish coffee.

    Should you use a blade or burr grinder?  

    1. Blade Grinder

    Pouring coffee beans into a blade grinder.

    Blade grinders are the most common and affordable tools to break down coffee beans. They work by chopping the beans with a blade, almost like a tiny food processor. The downside of a blade grinder is that the coffee bean particles end up in different sizes. So, if you try to make medium or coarse beans, some particles will inevitably be fine and powdery. This is problematic because different-sized particles have different extraction rates, so the taste of the brewed grounds will be uneven. Additionally, the friction of the blade moving through the beans generates heat that may affect the brew's flavor. While a blade grinder is an easy and affordable option that works well for many people, it may not be the best option for enthusiasts searching for a highly precise brew. 

    2. Burr Grinder or Burr Mill

    Photo of burr style grinder on kitchen counter.

    The second option is a burr grinder, also known as a burr mill. It works by crushing coffee beans between two rough discs called burrs. The tool creates more uniform ground in texture because the space between the burrs creates an even particle size. Burr grinders are available in multiple styles. Old-fashioned, manual mills look like pepper mills and must be operated by hand. Electric and flat burr grinders are adjustable and popular for commercial use. Electrical conical burr grinders are quiet and popular for home use. Luckily, burr grinders are available at a variety of price points. 


    Graphic of Find Your Grind

    Choosing Between Coffee Grind Sizes

    The choice of coffee grind sizes largely depends upon the chosen method of preparation. To make a delicious cup or pot of coffee, start with high-quality whole beans, a good grinder, and your favorite brewing equipment. Reference the guide above to determine the grind size that matches your brewing method. For example, start with a coarse grind if you want to make French Press. Feel free to experiment with different grind sizes until you find what you like. Once you determine your preferred grind size, be consistent. 

    To discover more coffee advice and delicious beans, shop San Francisco Bay Coffee today!