Why and How to Grind Your Own Coffee Beans

Without a doubt, the freshest way to enjoy your coffee at home is to buy whole beans and grind them yourself. As soon as air interacts with ground coffee, it begins to lose its flavor. Coffee beans are incredibly delicate! The sooner you use your ground coffee, the better your coffee will taste. Making the brave choice to buy whole beans, is the first step in guaranteeing yourself the best tasting coffee.

Properly stored whole beans will last for a long time. If you buy your coffee beans in larger quantities it is recommended to transfer the beans into an air-tight plastic or ceramic container and store them in a dark, dry place. Whenever you can buy your beans from a local roaster, or a roaster who will made to order, you will be extending the life of the beans on your shelf.

Coffee grinders are readily available online or in any kitchen store. They will come in a variety of sizes and prices. Do your research and explore the market. Think about what you need. How much coffee do you grind at one time? How do you make your coffee? What is the best grind for your machine? Do you ever grind flavored beans? If you alternate between regular beans and flavored beans, consider buying two, as the flavored grounds will inevitably mix with the regular ones.

For the best tasting coffee, know what your coffee machine needs. Each different method of making coffee calls for a different grind. Not all coffee bean grinders are able to give you all the options.

There are two common electric grinders on the market

Blade Grinders
Blade Grinders are at the lower end of the prices range, and will be the easiest to find. As the name suggests, it uses a spinning blade to cut up the beans. These are typically recommended for general purpose coffee making. However, the blade method makes it difficult to get uniform grounds. You will have course grounds mixed with fine grounds no matter what setting you choose.

Burr Grinders
Burr Grinders are higher in quality, but also in price. Instead of spinning blades, they use spinning discs to grind the coffee. This is the only grinder that will give you a fine enough ground for espresso. There are some grinders even higher on the market, but you will typically only see them in coffee shops.

The three typical ground types are coarse, medium and fine

  1. Coarse Grounds
    If you use a percolator, or a French Press, or any plunger method to make coffee, you are aiming for a coarse ground. The plunger method works by moving the coffee through the water, unlike an espresso machine, where the water moves through the coffee. In most cases, the water and the grounds will mix together and sit for a few minutes, allowing the water take on the coffee flavor. After this you will push the grounds through the water with the plunger, or press, to filter them out of your drink. Coarser grounds are easier to filter. Check your beans constantly as you grind them. It won’t take long to achieve a coarse grind.
  2. Medium Grounds
    Medium grounds are typical of what you get when you purchase already ground coffee. This is for your everyday drip coffee makers. Essentially, it can be used for almost any method of coffee brewing, but not espresso. This is the finest level that most blade coffee grinders will achieve.
  3. Fine Grounds
    Fine grounds are achievable only with a burr grinder. This fine, powder ground is what you want for your espresso machine. Hot water will be shot through the coffee, and it needs to move slowly enough to capture a strong flavor.

Whatever coffee grinder you choose, play around with the options. Get to know each of the settings and the different results it gives with your coffee machine. Follow the recommendations of your coffee maker, and of the grinder, but remember, it’s your coffee, so only you can decide what the best tasting coffee is for you! Learning to grind your own coffee beans is the best way to get the freshest, best tasting coffee at home, every day.