Posted in Kafevend Blog

Treading old ground

Inspired by our topic at the beginning of this week, we thought we'd keep our minds on the more technical aspects of our favourite drinks and consider the importance of grinding coffee. If you've ever wondered what it's all cracked up to be, read on and discover how it's vital to your coffee experience!

How you do it

So how is coffee ground up in the first place? After roasting, there are a few ways this can be done. When it comes to big industry, the most likely method is roller grinding, where the beans are ground between a pair of corrugated rollers. These machines are generally pretty big and costly, thus lending themselves to industrial scale production. For those grinding their own coffee at home or in a coffee house, the more likely methods include chopping, burr grinding and pounding.

Chopping- as you might have guessed- uses blades to grind the coffee. This method isn't perfect however, as it isn't good at producing a uniform grind. Any self respecting coffee afficionado is therefore more likely to use a burr grinder, which uses abrasive wheels or cone shapes to produce a much more uniform grind. Some burr grinders can even be adjusted to affect the fineness. The final method, pounding, is again an obvious one. By using something like a pestle and mortar, an incredibly fine, almost powdery grind can be achieved.

Why you do it

How does the fineness or coarseness of the grind affect your coffee then? It's pretty simple, really: the finer the grind, the quicker it will extract into the water. Therefore, different ways of making coffee need particular grinds in order to get the best taste out of the coffee.

A French press for instance involves a fairly long steep time and so uses a coarse grind. The other reason for its use in this case is that a coarse grind allows the plunger to be depressed more easily as it allows the water to pass through better than a fine grind.

An espresso by contrast uses a finer grind- this allows the coffee to be made quickly, which is necessary to keep up with demand! The mechanically assisted nature of making an espresso means forcing the water through the grounds isn't an issue, and in fact is part of the extraction process. Finally, Turkish coffee uses a grind produced by the pounding method- check out this blog to find out more about it!

So there you have it- an introduction to ground coffee. We've barely scratched the surface here, as there are many variations of coffee grounds to be used in an equally wide range of ways to make coffee- and as we know, there are an awful lot of those! If you'd like to know more, be sure to check out the sites below.


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