Coffee is an awesome beverage when prepared the right way. However, the opposite is true: coffee can taste awful when little care is given to the way it is prepared. If you are brewing at home, there is no better way of ensuring full flavour of your coffee than grinding your beans when ready to prepare the drink. Otherwise, pre-ground coffee beans lose their aroma and can hardly give expected results.
For coffee lovers, the first step to making a great beverage is getting fresh quality beans. Now, how you grind them determines your end product. Here is a DIY guide to successful coffee grinding at home.
Before you grind your coffee beans, it is important to decide which brewing method you are going to use. This is because each brewing method or machine has a specified size of ground coffee particles that will give optimum results. For instance, if you want to prepare espresso, you will need to grind your coffee beans into fine particles.
There are generally three levels you can grind your coffee. These are coarse, medium, and fine. There are other levels in between these three and can be attained by using high-quality grinders. Make sure that your grind is consistent. This determines how the coffee flavour is extracted. If the coffee particles are of varied sizes, then you risk non-uniform extraction. This will lead to a poor quality brew.
An upside is that you can easily take care of this challenge by investing in a good quality grinder. Two types of grinders for home use exist in the market today; blade and burr grinders. Blade grinders are cheaper than their burr counterparts. Unfortunately, blade grinders are prone to inconsistent grind which does not guarantee uniform flavor extraction during brewing.
A burr grinder will give you a wide range of grinds and thus enable you to make that perfect cup of coffee. It doesn’t matter which brewing method you use, with a burr grinder you can adjust the equipment to give you the right and a perfect uniform grind. As you shop for your burr grinder, beware of counterfeits, especially, if their pricing is way below the standard cost.
Coffee burr grinders also come in manual models. Some are small enough to suit your travel needs. The fact that these manual models need no electricity to operate offers you the opportunity to enjoy your coffee anywhere in the world. This is because you can carry them around with ease. Some models like the Baratza Encore have several adjustment steps that make it possible to produce a fine grind. If you love French press then a manual burr grinder will just be fine for you.
Once you have the right machine, grind your coffee beans to the desired texture. This has to be done when you are ready to brew. Remember you need your grind fresh for best brewing results.
Common mistakes people do when grinding coffee
Using poor quality coffee beans
Depending on your taste, know which coffee beans produce your favorite flavour. Beans which have been roasted for longer than required time have a dark, shiny appearance. They produce a brew with a strong and bitter taste. On the other hand, medium roasts offer a smooth taste and the beans are light colored. Most people fail to get the right beans because they don’t ask. Be bold and tell your retailer which coffee beans suit your needs best.
Also, make sure that your coffee beans are not too old. The older the beans, the lower the quality of the coffee brew. This is because coffee tends to lose its flavor with time. You will need to keep a fresh supply of coffee beans. This means that it is unwise to stock a lot of coffee in the house for long.
Some people have the tendency of freezing coffee beans. While they may argue that this keeps the beans fresh, it will be surprising to know that freezing expels gasses that preserve the coffee flavour. So, when you grind the frozen coffee beans, the quality of your coffee will fall short of your expectations. The secret is to store your beans in an airtight container, in a cool and dry place, not frozen. Opaque containers are the best as coffee easily goes stale when exposed to direct light.
Using the wrong grinder
If you have the wrong grinder, it will be impossible to produce the right grind for the perfect cup of coffee drink. A perfect grinder will produce a consistent grind no matter the texture. This guarantees a consistent taste in your brew as the coffee flavour is uniformly extracted. In cases where some particles are over extracted, traces of bitter and dull tastes will be experienced. This will spoil your perfect cup.
Grinding your coffee too early
A magical coffee cup needs a perfect timing between grinding and brewing. Do not grind your coffee beans too early as this will spoil the quality of your brew. Make sure that your brewing water is ready when you grind to avoid losing the flavour as you wait for it to heat.
Failure to know how much coffee you need
You need to know how much coffee to use per brew. If you grind more coffee than you need, you will end up wasting it. This is not good for your pocket. You may as well end up using the stale coffee in future and fail to enjoy its fresh flavor. This is not what a coffee lover wants. So, determine your daily consumption and try your best to grind just what you need.
Ignorance of various coffee brews
If you do not know which brew you want to make, it is certain that you will end up with the wrong grind. To become an expert in coffee grinding, take a moment and research on various brews from a French press, drip, espresso to Turkish coffee. Find out which grinds are used for each brew. Take the initiative to learn how to practically and literally prepare each brew. Then, practice over and over until you master the skill. Just like any other skill, coffee brewing is something you learn and grow into.
Generally, any coffee enthusiast can learn and perfect the skill of making the right brew at home over time. It requires that you develop an interest in the subject and take action to hone your skill. This also involves investing in the right tools for the work. Make an effort to use the right grinder that can guarantee the perfect grind. Do not forget to use fresh coffee beans that have been stored properly. Remember that the quality of your brew firstly depends on the quality of your coffee beans. So, do not go for stale beans while you can get fresh ones.