At the core of the coffee making process is the concept of extraction. 

Making a cup of coffee requires water to pass through coffee beans, extracting flavours along the way. This extraction process has many variables, all of which will result in a different cup of coffee at the other end.

The first variable to take note of is pressure. How much pressure you use to ‘push’ water through coffee will affect how much coffee is extracted in the process. Espresso machines, for example, use more pressure (the industry standard is 9 bars of pressure) to push water through coffee in a porta filter. But a French Press uses a lot less, and as a result, you end up with two very different beverages.

The next variable is grind size. How coarsely or finely you grind your coffee will also affect how quickly or slowly water passes through your coffee. Too coarse a grind, and water will rush through without taking those all-important flavours with it. Too fine a grind, however, and water will pick up flavours you don’t want.

Pressure and grind size go hand-in-hand in the coffee extraction process. The idea is to fine tune your brewing method for the ultimate extraction.

The main grind types

Let’s tuck into some of the main grind types that exist for different types of coffee.

1.     Coarse grounds

Coarse grounds should be the same consistency as chunky sea salt. This grind size is ideal for French Press brewing and often needs about a four-minute brew time for the perfect extraction. Course ground can also be used for Cold Brew methods for durations of 12 to 24 hours.

3.     Medium-coarse grounds

This grind size is for Chemex coffees or clever drippers. Medium-coarse grinds should look like sand, and they require an extraction time of approximately two minutes for that balanced cup.

4.     Medium grounds

Grind to medium for drip coffee. This is your classic ‘dump in the basket’ grind size that will produce what can only be called your ‘generic cup of coffee’.

5.     Medium-fine grounds

This grind size is great for pour overs and siphon coffees. A medium-fine grind is a great foundational grind for testing new ways of brewing coffee.

 6.     Fine grounds

This grind is great for espresso. Of course, tuning an espresso machine requires you to coarsen up or make a finer grind, but generally speaking, finely ground coffee is a good benchmark espresso grind.

 7.    Extra fine grounds

Super fine coffee is often widely used for one type of coffee only and that is Turkish coffee. (My absolute favorite!)


General rules of thumb with grind size


1. The coarser the grind, the longer the extraction time

The coarser your grind, the longer time is required for extraction. Pulling an espresso requires finely ground beans, and it takes between 20-30 seconds to produce the perfect shot. Cold brew requires extra-coarse grounds, and it takes anywhere between 12 and 24 hours to produce a balanced cup.

2.     Consider your variables

How coarse or fine you grind your coffee depends on your other coffee brewing variables. Consider your water temperature, pressure, type of bean and method of brewing, and adjust your grind size accordingly.

3.     Finer grinds produce stronger cups

This one is a loose rule of thumb, so don’t quote me. However, it’s an important consideration. Finely ground coffee will result in a strong cup of coffee (subject to your other variables). What I am saying here is this: Don’t finely grind coffee for a French Press and then drink it. It’ll be dense and over-extracted, and chances are, you’ll be bouncing off the walls come lunch if you successfully managed to plunge the press itself.. (Been there!)


The Broadway of grinding

We like our coffees to taste their best so it is very important to us that you brew yours correctly. This is why we sell many types of coffee, each of which come with a unique flavour profile that suits your tastes so when you place an order, instead of struggling to decide whether you’re in need of finely ground coffee or extra coarse grounds, we’ve converted our options to match your brewing preferences.

From whole bean to drip machine to stove top espresso, choosing your grind size has never been easier. Just select your brewing method and we’ll grind up your beans to match.

It's that simple.