Why And How To Grind Your Own Coffee

Find out why ground coffee tastes better and what types of grinders are available.

Coffee is the most popular drink consumed worldwide. Americans drink over 400 million cups of coffee per day. Coffee beans are second only to oil in world commerce. Coffee comes in various strengths, varieties, and roasts. Most coffee purchased comes in three forms. You can buy your coffee instant, already ground, or in whole bean form.

If you are looking for a truly great cup of coffee, you may want to grind your own coffee beans at home. A little known fact about coffee is that as soon as the beans are ground, they begin to lose their flavor. Whole beans maintain their flavor until they are ground, making the already-ground coffee you buy in stores stale by comparison.

When coffee is ground, the oils contained in the beans are released. These oils are what give your coffee its great taste. These oils immediately begin to disperse into the air, leaving your ground coffee stale. Though many containers used to sell pre-ground coffee make claims about its freshness, you may find after grinding your own beans that you have no desire to purchase pre-ground coffee again.



Though there are many types of personal coffee grinders, the hand-held type is most commonly used. There are two methods from which to choose. Some grinders have blades that twirl in a circular motion, essentially slicing and dicing the bean. The other type uses burrs to chip away at the bean. The burr type of grinder is considered the very best way to grind your beans. The burr method produces less heat and a more even grind.

Before grinding, you should decide what size grind you need for your particular coffeemaker. For espresso you will need a very finely-ground coffee bean. For the filtered automatic-drip coffeemakers or French press coffeemakers, you will want a medium grind. If you use a percolator for coffee-brewing, aim for a coarser grind. Turkish or Greek coffee requires a very finely-ground bean.

A key tip to remember when using your grinder is to grind in very short bursts lasting no longer than four or five seconds at a time. Any grinder produces a small amount of heat, and this can damage the taste of your coffee. For finely ground coffee, you will want to grind the beans for 20 to 25 seconds, remembering to do so in short bursts. Shake the grinder between bursts to be sure the coffee is ground evenly. For a moderately-ground coffee, grind between 10 and 15 seconds. If you require a coarse coffee texture, grind for no longer than 10 seconds. Each grinder will work differently, so you can adjust these times as needed.

For the very best results, only grind the amount you need for one pot of coffee at a time. If this is just too inconvenient, do enough for a few days at a time. Store the ground coffee in an airtight container. Moisture will hurt the quality of your coffee. Try to avoid storing coffee in a sunlit area. The beans themselves can be stored in the same manner for up to a week for optimal freshness.

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