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How to grind coffee (or why supermarkets simply don’t cut it)

What’s Your Grind?

How you make your coffee at home should be dictating how your coffee is ground. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach applied by supermarkets simply doesn’t cut it, and means that you’re probably missing out on a truly magical cup.

This is why, when our customers sign up to pactcoffee.com, we ask about the equipment they’re using at home. It’s not complicated, but it matters a lot.

So here’s our definitive guide to how your coffee should be ground. Hope it’s helpful!

1. Cafetiere

Grind : Coarse (7-9)

Why? You should be leaving your coffee to sit for 4 minutes before plunging the cafetiere. That means that the water has a long time to extract the flavour oil, caffeine and complexity from the grounds. If the grind is too fine it won’t be caught in the filter and you could end up with sludge at the bottom of your cup, and a gritty tasting coffee.

2. Drip/Filter

Grind: Medium: (5-7)

Why? With this method, the hot water is not in contact with the coffee for as long - perhaps 2 minutes, so you need to offer a greater surface area to ensure the coffee has enough depth and body. The filters are far finer than the metal gauze in a cafetiere so there is no risk of a puddle of mud at the end of your cup.

3. Stovetop/Aeropress

Grind: Medium-fine (3-4)

Why? The stovetop sits somewhere between a filter and an espresso. Hot water boils through the pressed coffee fairly quickly, so you need a fine grind to ensure that you get all the love out of the beans. It’s important not to go for a full espresso grind as the moka will let the smallest grinds through into the cup.

4. Espresso machine

Grind: Fine (2-3)

Why? When you make an espresso, high pressure water is forced through the coffee grounds very quickly, and is in contact with the fine-ground coffee for less than a minute. You need a very fine grind to ensure that the water can express all of the oils from your coffee. Interestingly, caffeine takes longer to be extracted than many of the other flavour compounds so, contrary to popular belief, espresso typically contains far less caffeine than filter or French press coffees.