Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Grind and Grinders

When you talk about grind you have to talk about grinders. Not all grinders are created equal. There are blade, hand mills and conical burr grinders, Blade grinders cost about $20/$ 30 and are a waste of money. You can never get a consistent grind no matter how hard you try. The blade heats the coffee as it is grinding and chopping so it is possible to burn the beans. Hand Mills are OK if you are trying to impress someone with a big brass mill (I save mine for spices) but like a blade you will never get a proper consistent grind. So the answer is a conical burr grinder. It is the type used in every coffee shop (except one and this franchise ships the coffee to their franchisees ground) can you believe?

Burr grinders come in all sizes and price ranges. I use a Bunn and a Baratza Virtuoso. There are lots of very good burr grinders on the market in a price range between $50 & $225
. A good conical burr grinder is perfect for all sorts of grinding from almost powder for Turkish coffee, to espresso, press pot and filter brewing. Use the web and Google "Conical burr coffee grinders". You are bound to find one in your price range.

How you grind your coffee determines the end product. If you are grinding for filter brewing, 90% of all brewed coffee is filter brewed, a grind that is too coarse will produce a weak cup. The coarse grind allows the water to run too quickly through the grounds and you will get almost no flavor extraction. A grind that is too fine will not allow the water to run through at the proper rate and you'll get an over extracted bitter cup. Press pot brewing requires a coarse grind so that the grinds will not come through the metal filter.

Personally I use a fine grind for filter brewing. The grind feels like granulated sugar when you rub it between your fingers. The standard American filter brewer uses 5 ounces to a cup as the measurement. A 10 cup brewer holds 50 ounces of water. You should use about 3 plus ounces of ground coffee to get a full body cup and it should brew in about 6 minutes at 200 degrees. If your cup is too strong you can always dilute with hot water.

So what is the so what of it all? Fresh properly ground "Specialty" coffee in a washed paper filter, good water, and a coffee maker that brews at 200 degrees is all that it takes to make GREAT coffee. If your morning cup is as important to you as it is to me all of this is worth the pleasure of drinking not only good but GREAT coffee.

As always I welcome your comments.



Jeff Noel said...

Excellent article, Arnold. I can testify to the difference between a burr grinder and a "burn" comparison to the quality of the grind and the resulting flavor. Now all I have to do is get mine fixed! As I said earlier, ASB is the best! Thanks again for you investing yourself into creating such and awesome blend of coffee.

Coffee Guy said...

Thanks for the kind words!

Jeff Rochford said...

Guess what's going on my Christmas list!

Annette said...

I never thought coffee was a big part of my life until I had Arnold's coffee. Without my first cup in the morning I can't live without it.

Dr Pepper said...

I used to think that I drank a lot of coffee. Then I met Jeff Noel! Then I met Arnold. Thanks, Arnold, for being our addiction enabler!