A key factor in the successful preparation of coffee is the grind. An incorrect setting leads to a watery or bitter taste and significantly affects the coffee flavor. We will help you to set the right grind for your brewer.
The choice of grind depends primarily on your preparation method. Basically, the finer the grind, the shorter the contact time with the water.
The grind and the contact time with the water therefore influence each other. If the grind is too fine, the coffee quickly becomes bitter and strong. If the grind is too coarse, the coffee tastes rather sour and watery.
In the picture you can see three different grinds:
- Left: fine (suitable for espresso machines)
- Middle: medium (suitable for filter coffees)
- Right: coarse (suitable for French Press)
Coordinate grinding degree and contact time
Our preparation tips to print
Which grind should I choose? Which dosage is the right one? How hot should the water be? Here you can find our tips for printing – for all common types of preparation, such as hand filters, Chemex & Co.
To help you find the right grind, we have provided a scale from 1 (= very fine) to 10 (= very coarse). In addition, we have specified a contact time that you can use as a guide when brewing. Technically, it is possible to measure the correct extraction content, but you should still find out the right grind for your own personal taste preferences by simply trying it out. We would like to offer you some guidance here.
As always, tastes are subjective. Experiment with the grind until you find your favorite setting.
The goal is ideal extraction
Extraction? Don’t be put off by this technical term. During the brewing process, hot water dissolves the ingredients from the coffee: a maximum of 30% of the ingredients can be extracted from a coffee bean. But 30% is not the goal, because by then the coffee already tastes bitter and too strong. Nerd Fact: The extraction range recommended as ideal by the SCAE (Speciality Coffee Association of Europe) is between 18-22%.
This range is based on studies by American researchers who determined these values in the 1960s through surveys and tests. In this spectrum, the optimal amount of ingredients is extracted and the coffee achieves a great balance of flavors and intensity.
Special refractometers (ExtractMoJo) can be used to technically check the extraction strength. However, these tools are quite expensive and not necessary for home use. As an avid coffee drinker, you should decide whether the coffee tastes good to you or not based on the taste. The grind is one of many factors that influence the extraction strength of the coffee.
How can I recognize over- or under-extraction?
With the wrong grind, the coffee cannot be ideally extracted, but is over- or under-extracted. This can completely destroy the taste of a good coffee or make it seem boring.
Over-extraction (technically, an extraction of more than 22% of the ingredients) releases too many unwanted bitter substances and tannic acids from the coffee, which overwhelm the subtle nuances. As a result, the coffee becomes very dark and tastes unpleasantly bitter and much too intense. This happens, for example, when a fine grind has too long a contact time with water.
Under-extraction (technically, an extraction of less than 18% of the ingredients), on the other hand, results in a very thin, flat and underdeveloped coffee, because too few ingredients have been extracted. Such a coffee is very light in color and lacks body in particular in terms of taste.