It’s always a great time to learn new things. Even though you’ve been in the coffee world for years there’s a time when you need to go back to the basics. If you’re a coffee lover just starting to explore the infinite options of brewing, this blog will help you recognize some terms you may see repeating over and over again.
Coffee grind and brewing require a lot of craftsmanship. In case you’re not mastering all the terms in the vocabulary, in this blog you’ll get access to a glossary with some of the keywords you should learn related to the process of brewing and grinding coffee. Are you ready? Let’s begin!
A device that grinds whole coffee beans into brew-ready size. Extracting the aroma and taste of coffee beans allows you to brew delicious, high-quality coffee.
Types of coffee grinders
Burr Coffee Grinders
The burrs in the grinder are responsible for crushing the coffee beans into a uniform size, which is essential in producing an awesome cup of espresso/coffee. Burr grinders have a bigger size, and they are also more efficient in grinding bigger amounts of coffee and don’t burn the beans if it is overused. They also include the possibility to adjust the size of the grind which is useful for coffee drinkers who prefer to serve their beverage in a particular way.
Burr grinders come in two different types: conical and flat plate. They both are known for their flexibility and quality, however, the main difference is Conical Burr Grinders have two cone-shaped burrs with ridges that grind the coffee, meanwhile, in Flat Plate Burr Grinders there are two identical and parallel rings serrated on the side that faces the other. Conical or flat, you’ll be able to get your coffee beans crushed into a nice uniform size.
A blade coffee grinder works by cutting coffee beans using small blades, like a blender. Although, making quality coffee drinks is difficult with blade grinders. The fineness of the grind depends on how long you let the grinder operate via a built-in timer. So, the longer it grinds, the finer the coffee becomes.
Blade grinders are mostly used for coffee drinkers who want to buy an appliance that does the grinding job easier and cheaper. This means by using this tool you’ll get your coffee ground but it won’t be the highest quality.
Manual Coffee Grinders
Manual coffee grinders are small machines consisting of a hopper to store beans, a set of burrs to grind the beans, and a container to collect the ground coffee. Every part is connected via a single rod connecting the handle and turning the burrs.
These are a great alternative to electric grinders. There are a variety of benefits to using them, including the fact that they do not require electricity to operate, are portable, and are quieter.
Coffee brewing is the preparation of the coffee beverage. In other words, coffee brewing is when the coffee is extracted from the ground coffee beans into the water. However, extraction it’s a whole term that refers to the other steps involved in the coffee preparation. These steps are roasting, grinding, brewing and filtration. These four steps determine the taste, flavor, strength, and look of the coffee.
There are several coffee brewing methods and they all use different ways of extraction. Some of these methods include boiling, infusion, gravitational feed, vacuum decoction, and pressurized percolation.
Coffee brewing methods
A coffee brewing method is a singular coffee preparation method made using specific parameters and equipment. The most popular coffee brewing methods are the boiling method, pressure-based, gravity brewing, and stepping/immersion. Let’s get to know a bit more about each.
- Boiling: this is the most simple and economic method. The grounds are placed inside a vessel or a cup, and then boiling water will be poured on them. The coffee grounds will steep in the hot water up until the drink is cool enough for drinking.
- Pressure-based: Have you ever tried an espresso? cuz this is the most famous way of brewing coffee by the pressure method. Espresso is obtained by pushing hot water, slightly under boiling temperature with pressure, (8 to 9 atmospheres) through ground coffee. An espresso shot has an extremely strong flavor due to its fine grind size and is also considered one of the most difficult brewing methods.
- Gravity brewing: Also known as drip brewing, is a method used by most coffee makers in their homes. Coffee grounds are placed inside a filter basket, while heated water is dripped inside the basket which blends with the grounds of coffee, and then exhausts through a coffee filter.
- Stepping/Immersion: French press coffee and cold brew are prepared by using this method. Both ways include a long time steeping the coffee and retaining a lot of the aromatic oils, and most of the coffee’s flavor. This is a nice single-cup method, and it is also inexpensive.
Grind size is a crucial factor in coffee preparation. There is a specific range of grind sizes for each coffee brewing method, based on the parameters of the extraction. Finer ground coffee has more surface area, which translates to a higher concentration, and as a result a stronger cup of coffee. If the grind size is too coarse, it will taste sour and weak.
This is one of the essential settings when grinding your coffee. There are two basic ways for adjusting the grind in coffee grinders: the stepped adjustment and the step-less adjustment. By choosing between these two adjustments, you'll be able to decide how fine or coarse your coffee beans will be. For example, Gaggia, Saeco, and Capresso usually use the stepped adjustment, and expresso coffee or Siphon can be done perfectly with the step-less adjustment.
To prepare coffee, there are specific universally accepted standards for grind size. Some of these are:
- Turkish Coffee (Greek Coffee): this is the finest grind size. It’s similar to a powder of flour.
- Espresso: the second finest. It should be just like table salt.
- Drip coffee: this is medium-fine to medium and medium-coarse. Includes pour-over drip, immersion drip, and automatic drip coffee makers.
- French press, percolator, cold brew: these preparations require coarse grind size.
To change the size of the grounds coffee grinds have an adjustment dial. Most grinders have a rotating dial or ring which can be rotated to adjust the distance between the two plates of the burr. You can make the grounds bigger or smaller by rotating the dial or ring clockwise or anti-clockwise.
If you’re a real coffee enthusiast this term might be familiar. This concept is strictly related to coffee brewing. The purpose of grinding coffee is to increase the surface area of the coffee bean. The more surface area is in contact with the water, makes the extraction quicker and more effective, and helps to absorb and dissolve more of the properties of the coffee bean into the water.
Surface area also means the space in a cup of coffee. If the surface area of the cup is larger, the coffee will be more diluted and it will be quicker to cool. That’s why smaller beverages like espresso are served in smaller cups.
Congrats! You’ve just learned some of the most important terms of coffee grinding and brewing. If you want to keep digging deeper on this topic, check our blog for more content about coffee preparation, products and tips. If you’re wondering about the products showcased in this blog, visit our FAQs page and solve your doubts.