You need two key ingredients for a great cup of joe – water and coffee. You can conveniently buy coffee beans already ground and bagged, or enclosed in perfectly-portioned single-serve packs. But for the freshest, best-tasting cup, buy whole beans and grind them yourself at home using a coffee grinder.
Grinding beans every time you brew can preserve the freshness, fragrance, natural oils, and flavor of the coffee. It’s is one of the most important and beneficial things you can do when making coffee at home. Here is a guide to help you determine what size grind is best for your coffee maker and ultimately, your perfect cup.
Coarsely ground coffee works well when using a French press, a percolator, or when making cold brew coffee. Coarse, larger-sized grounds need more time in contact with the water in order to extract the optimal flavor.Therefore, a coarse grind is best for these slower brewing methods. When brewing coffee in a French press, we recommend letting the coffee steep for at least 4 minutes before serving. When using a 12-cup percolator, we recommend allotting 1 minute per cup for brewing time. For cold brew, some suggest letting the coffee steep for at least 12 hours.
Use medium-sized coffee grounds when using an automatic drip coffee maker or when making pour-over coffee. For both of these brewing methods, coffee grounds are placed into a filter, then water is poured (either automatically with an automatic drip or manually with pour-over) over the grounds. The brewed coffee drips into a carafe for serving or directly into a mug. When using a 12-Cup Coffee Maker, we recommend using 1 level tablespoon of grounds per cup of coffee.
Fine (and sometimes extra-fine) grounds are used for specialty coffees, like Turkish coffee, or for quick, high-pressure brewing methods, like espresso machines. The finer the ground, the less contact it needs to have with water in order to extract the ideal flavor. When using an espresso machine, water is quickly pushed through these fine, tightly packed coffee grounds in order to produce a concentrated shot of espresso.
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