It may seem like a no-brainer; without a brewing method, there will be no coffee. But while there are a million and one ways to extract coffee as we know it from a few grams of beans, there is one universal truth to them all—grind matters.
Grinding your coffee may be a concept that lives in the back of your head. You know that, obviously, coffee has to be ground before you can enjoy it, but perhaps you’re used to pods, pre-ground coffees, or brewers with built in blade grinders. While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these options, they definitely aren’t allowing you to indulge in everything a coffee has to offer. Sure, if it’s a Monday and you’re already running late for work, pre-ground options are temptingly convenient, but if you’re willing to factor in a few extra minutes to your morning routine, you can start enjoying coffee the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
First of all, what makes buying a bag of ground coffee at the store any different from grinding it at home? It all comes down to freshness. Coffee, much like bread and apples, falls victim to oxidation quickly, and once that process begins, your coffee is as good as stale. The smaller the particle, the faster oxidation hits—so much so, that we would only recommend using coffee a maximum of thirty minutes after it is ground. By brewing it within this window, you’re ensuring that all of the desirable flavors are still intact.
The good news is, a grinder doesn’t have to break the bank. We offer two options for reliable hand grinders, both coming in under $35. Manufactured by Hario, the Mini Mill Slim Coffee Grinder and the Skerton+ Ceramic Coffee Mill are both made with ceramic burrs. The best coffee comes from a uniform particle size among the grounds, which is the exact result produced by a grinder with ceramic burrs. Blade grinders, the type you’ll typically find in the aisles of your local grocery store, chop coffee beans up, resulting in particles of all sizes, an uneven extraction, and inconsistent quality in your cup. The consistency offered by a ceramic grinder will put your coffee leaps and bounds ahead of the low-quality grind blades will produce.
Another advantage to grinding your own coffee is the control you have over it. Whether you prefer Turkish coffee, a French press, or to make your own cold brew at home, a different grind is required. This is because the finer a coffee is ground, the more rapidly extraction happens. For methods like cold brew, where coffee is steeped for hours, using a finely ground coffee will cause it to become over-extracted, turning it bitter and suppressing the very flavors you are going after. And just try pulling an espresso shot with coarsely ground coffee—that under extraction certainly won’t do your beverage any favors. Grinding at home gives you total control over particle size, so you can tweak and adjust based on which brewing method you most prefer.
If you're ready to take your home coffee game to the next level, a grinder is essential. If you've become used to pre-packaged, stale coffees, the first cup of freshly ground, freshly brewed coffee will renew your appreciation for the drink we all know and love.