Coffee Horizons – Why do I need a grinder?

This is the second part of The Coffee Society’s three part home brewing guide that should get you at least part of the way to becoming an artisan home barista!

So…Why do you need a coffee grinder? Let us explain. You can’t just throw whole coffee beans into a French press and hope for the best, you have to grind them first. To explain why this is, we’re going to have to go back to high school chemistry (sorry!). Coffee brewing (or extraction) is a chemical reaction, and when we decrease the size of the particles in a reaction, we raise the speed of the reaction. Therefore by controlling how finely the coffee is ground, you can also control how much is extracted from it to aim for a level of extraction where the coffee tastes best. The other important factor is the evenness of the grind size. If your particles are all of different sizes, you’re going to extract too much from the smallest ones, and too little from the largest ones. This makes coffee taste bad. What you want is for all of the particles to be very close in size, creating an even extraction, which gives your cup far more clarity and sweetness.

There are two ways to do this. At home, our recommendation is to go for a high quality hand grinder. You’ll get better grind quality, adjustability and consistency for your money than you will with an electric grinder, while still allowing you to grind your coffee fresh, just before you start your brew. If you’re not quite enough of a coffee geek to drop your hard earned cash on your own grinder just yet, there is another way. If you buy your beans from your friendly neighbourhood coffee shop, most will be quite happy to grind them for your chosen brew method. Whichever method you choose, you’ll be making tasty coffee at home in no time. If you have any more questions, get in touch on Facebook, Twitter, or by email. Happy brewing!

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