Coffee Grind Size

Written by: Matt, Canopy Coffee

   The grind size of your coffee grounds is an essential part of brewing great coffee in your home. If you can learn to dial in the correct grind size to match your brewing method, the difference will be sublime. You don’t have to be a coffee connoisseur to tell the difference. When you finish this article you will be on your way to brewing the best coffee you have had in your home.

   There are several different ways to brew coffee and they each require a unique grind size to best extract the flavor. When you brew coffee, flavor extraction is the primary goal. 

I am sure you have tasted bad coffee before, whether it was under-extracted or over-extracted. 

  • Under-extracted coffee tastes sour, sharp, or acidic. In terms of grind size, this is when your coffee grounds are too coarse for the brew method you are using.
  • Over-extracted coffee tastes bitter, thin, or hollow. In terms of grind size, this is when your coffee grounds are too fine for the brew method you are using.

   Grind size is really quite simple if you think about it. You only have to worry about two extremes, too coarse, or too fine. Too coarse means that your coffee could be under-extracted and will be quite weak. Too fine means that your coffee could be over-extracted and will be quite bitter. If you can remember those two extremes, it will allow you to calibrate your coffee grind size to match your brewing method. 

   Below is a chart for you to get started based on what brewing method you use or want to try. It should be noted, however, that this is going to take some work on your part to achieve that perfect V60 cup of coffee, or that perfect home drip machine cup of coffee. Use the chart below to get started, brew your coffee, and if it doesn’t come out quite right, adjust your grind size.

  • Coarse - french press, percolator, coffee cupping

  • Medium-Coarse - Chemex, clever dripper, cafe solo brewer

  • Medium - Cone-shaped pour-over brewers (V60), flat bottom drip coffee machines, siphon coffee, aeropress (3+ min brew time)

  • Medium-Fine - Cone-shaped pour-over brewers (V60), Aeropress (2-3 minute brew time)

  • Fine - Espresso, Moka Pot (Stovetop Espresso Maker), Aeropress (1 minute brew time)

   Let me tell you a little secret about brewing coffee. There is no set answer when it comes to grind size. The reason for this is because we all use different coffee grinders, brewing methods, and equipment. Water ratio and brewing techniques will also affect your coffee. 

   When talking about coffee grinders and how they affect grind size, a good coffee grinder will give you a nice range of options to modify the grind size and will produce that grind size in a very uniform way. That is what you are looking for in a coffee grinder. We all have different budgets and different levels of commitment when it comes to purchasing something like a coffee grinder. If you want to check out an article that is designed to save you a bit of money while still giving you the option of having a nice coffee grinder, check the article below that compares manual and electric coffee grinders:

Coffee Grinders: Manual vs Electric

   I would recommend that you stay away from blade grinders if possible and look to purchase a conical burr grinder. Conical burr grinders offer much more uniformity in your coffee grinds and it is quite the improvement in flavor extraction. 

   Water Ratio is the other thing to be aware of when brewing your coffee. I really enjoy a stronger coffee, so I use a 1-15 ratio (which means 1 gram of coffee for 15 grams of water). I have been frustrated in the past when trying to dial in the right grind size for the brewing method I was using, and still not achieving that good, strong flavor. For myself, I discovered that I needed to adjust the water ratio with my coffee. We recommend on our coffee bags to use a 1-17 ratio, but you can certainly play around with this and find out what works best for you. 

   If you are still having trouble dialing it in, below is a chart showing what you can do for under or over-extracted coffee for any method you are using.

Flavor Brew Time Water Temp Grind Size
Under-extracted (Sour) Increase Increase Finer
Over-extracted (Bitter) Decrease Decrease Coarser

   If you have any questions at all or just want to let us know how your coffee brewing is going, please send me an email: goodmorning@canopycoffee.com