Coffee Grind Size ChartLast updated on 5/02/2022
The perfect cup of coffee starts with the perfect grind. Just like there are multiple types of coffee roasts, there are multiple grind consistencies and methods. Our comprehensive coffee grinding guide outlines everything you need to know about grinding coffee beans.
Types of Coffee Grinds
Discover the types of coffee grinds baristas prepare and how how they brew each one. After learning about the different coffee grinds and their extraction rate, use our coffee maker guide to pick the best brewing equipment for your business.
1. Extra Coarse Ground Coffee
Extra coarse ground coffee has the consistency of peppercorns and takes a long time to release its flavor. Slow brewing methods such as cold brewing work best for extra-coarse ground coffee.
Extra Coarse Ground Coffee Uses:
- Cold Brew
- Cowboy Coffee
- Extremely Slow
2. Coarse Ground Coffee
Coarse ground coffee has the consistency of sea salt and requires extended brew times. Grinding coarse coffee keeps a lot of the bean intact, preserving its flavor/aroma. Q Graders prefer coarse ground coffee for coffee cupping. Coffee cupping is the professional process of observing the flavors and aromas in brewed coffee. The Coffee Quality Institute licenses Q Graders to weigh coffee against the Specialty Coffee Association's methods and practices. Coarse coffee grounds supply the richness coffee cupping requires.
Coarse Ground Coffee Uses:
- French Press
- Very Slow
3. Medium-Coarse Ground Coffee
Medium-coarse ground coffee has the consistency of rough sand. Slow immersion ensures full saturation when using medium-coarse ground coffee.
Medium-Coarse Ground Coffee Uses:
- Immersion Brewers
- Batch Brewers
4. Medium Ground Coffee
Medium coffee grounds resemble regular sand. Their middle-of-the-road consistency rarely leads to either over or under extraction. Grinding medium-ground coffee beans is the least involved way to achieve a delicious cup of coffee.
While its flavor payoff is lower than other grind consistencies, medium ground coffee is a good option for restaurants that do not specialize in coffee but want to offer delicious coffee that enhances their menu.
Medium Ground Coffee Uses:
- Drip Brewers with Flat Bottom Filters
- Single-Serve Brewers
- Vacuum Brewers
- Stovetop Brewers
5. Medium-Fine Ground Coffee
Between the sand consistency of medium ground coffee and the sugar consistency of fine ground coffee lies medium-fine ground coffee. This coffee grind consistency is ideal for pour-over coffee brewing. Once you master the pour-over method, medium-fine grounds produce perfectly extracted cups of coffee.
Medium-Fine Ground Coffee Uses:
- Pour Over Brewers
- Drip Brewers with Cone Shaped Filters
- Slightly Faster Than Medium
6. Fine Ground Coffee
Your fine ground coffee should look and feel like sugar. Fine coffee grounds work best with brewing methods where the grounds briefly contact water. Otherwise, you end up with an over-extracted final product.
The best grind consistency for espresso is fine grinding. Espresso machines build up pressure that forces water through finely-ground coffee.
Fine Ground Coffee Uses:
7. Extra Fine Ground Coffee
Extra fine ground coffee should be the consistency of powdered sugar. Few types of coffee require extra-fine coffee grounds, so the extra-fine grind isn’t usually achievable with commercial coffee grinders. If you know you’ll need this coffee grind consistency, make sure you choose a grinder that produces extra-fine coffee grounds.
Extra Fine Ground Coffee Uses:
- Turkish Coffee
- Arabic Coffee
- Very Fast
Coffee Grind Chart
Knowing the different grind sizes helps you brew rich and smooth coffee drinks. It also helps entrepreneurs choose equipment when they're starting a coffee shop. Use this coffee grind chart to find the right grind size for your brewing method.Coffee Grind Size Chart PDF
Types of Coffee Grinders
Coffee grinders and espresso grinders are essential items on any coffee shop equipment checklist. There are four main types of coffee grinders: burr, blade, roller, and pounding. We explain how each type of coffee grinder works below.
- Burr Coffee Grinders - Burr coffee grinders crush coffee beans between two wheels or conical grinding elements without adding frictional heat (which cooks the coffee beans). This releases the coffee bean oils, so they are easy to extract during the brewing process. The coffee ground in a burr coffee grinder is uniform which leads to even extraction. Most units allow you to move the abrasive wheels/cones closer or further apart to adjust your grind size. Conical burr models produce even less friction heat and preserve more coffee bean aroma than disc grinders, but they are more expensive.
- Blade Coffee Grinders - Blade coffee grinders chop coffee beans with a high-speed blade/propeller whirling between 20,000 to 30,000 RPM. This method often produces uneven coffee grounds which makes proper extraction challenging. A blade coffee grinder adds friction heat to coffee beans, reducing their flavor quality before brewing. In general, blade coffee grinders aren’t your best option for producing high-quality cups of coffee.
- Roller Coffee Grinders - Roller coffee grinders pass coffee beans through two corrugated rollers which produce inconsistent coffee grounds. Varied coffee grind sizes tend to create acidic and bitter cups of coffee. Roller coffee grinders expose the coffee beans to a lot of frictional heat, stripping them of their aroma.
- Pounding Coffee Grinders - Pounding coffee grinders create a fine coffee powder by pounding the beans with a mortar and pestle. Very few coffee beverages require a pounding coffee grinder, but it is necessary for making Turkish and Arabic coffee.
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How to Store Ground Coffee
For optimum freshness, store ground coffee in a nontransparent, airtight container. Place the container of ground coffee on a pantry shelf away from heat, light, and moisture.
Storing Coffee in the Freezer
- Storing Future-Use Coffee Beans in the Freezer - You can store whole coffee beans in the freezer for up to a month if you do not use/disturb them within that period. Before freezing your coffee beans, divide them into small portions in airtight bags. Defrost frozen coffee beans on a shelf away from heat, light, and moisture. Grind and brew your coffee beans within two weeks of thawing them.
- Storing Daily-Use Coffee Beans in the Freezer - Never store the coffee you use daily in the freezer. When you store daily-use coffee in the freezer, you expose it to fluctuating temperatures, which produce moisture. Moisture changes the cell structure of coffee and damages its aroma and flavor.
How Long Does Coffee Last?
Whole coffee beans stay fresh for two to three weeks before their quality and flavor reduce. Pre-ground coffee holds its peak freshness for approximately 30 minutes.
Coffee beans are the seeds of small cherries that grow on coffee plants, so you should approach coffee bean freshness with the same mindset you would any other plant product. Just like you wouldn’t cut pineapple and serve it to guests three months later, you shouldn’t grind coffee and serve it to guests months later either.Back to Top
What Is Coffee Extraction?
Coffee extraction occurs during the brewing process. It is the art of diffusing coffee beans' natural coffee solubles into water. Desirable coffee solubles include lipids, carbohydrates, melanoidins, caffeine, and acids. If too few coffee solubles permeate the water, the brew’s flavor is weak. However, if the solubles over-saturate the water, the brewed coffee will taste bitter. The ideal coffee bean extraction percentage lies between 18-22%.
How to achieve ideal extraction varies by the size of your coffee grounds. The more intact your coffee beans are, the slower their extraction rate is. This is neither good nor bad, you just need to match your brewing method with your grind size.
Choosing the wrong grind size for your coffee brewing method will ruin your beans and yield either under or over extracted cups of coffee. Here are the coffee extraction terms you need to know:
- Balanced Extraction tastes rich with balanced acidity and offers a velvety palatal sensation. It is easy to achieve a balanced extraction when your coffee grounds are uniform.
- Under-Extracted Coffee tastes sour and tangy because it doesn’t have enough coffee solubles.
- Over-Extracted Coffee tastes bitter because it has an overpowering amount of coffee solubles.
What Makes Coffee Bitter?
Over-extraction makes coffee bitter. When coffee beans are ground too fine for their brewing method, brewed too long, or are steeped in scalding water, the coffee grounds over-extract, lose their flavor, and yield bitter cups of coffee. In contrast, under-extracted coffee is sour, salty, and acidic tasting.
How to Make Coffee Taste Good
The secret to making coffee taste good is having symmetrical coffee grounds, water between 195- and 205-degrees Fahrenheit, and the appropriate brew time for your brewing method. Check out our troubleshooting advice and transform your bitter or sour-tasting coffee into delicious beverages.
How to Fix Bitter Coffee
- Use coarser coffee grounds
- Raise the water temperature
- Reduce the brew time
How to Fix Sour Coffee
- Use finer coffee grounds
- Lower the water temperature
- Extend the brew time
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You don't need an expensive coffee maker to serve a delicious cup of coffee. Grinding your coffee beans is the least expensive way to achieve balanced extraction and delight guests with smooth and rich cups of coffee. Reference back to our coffee grind chart to achieve the right coffee grind consistency for your brewing method.