Unlocking the perfect cup of pour-over coffee begins with one crucial element: the grind size.
Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or a brewing beginner, understanding how grind size affects your brew is the first step towards achieving coffee nirvana.
In this article, we dive into the art of grinding and reveal the optimal grind sizes for various pour-over methods, accompanied by expert tips to elevate your brewing game.
So, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get into it!
- Grind size is crucial for achieving the perfect pour over.
- Smaller grind sizes result in slower water flow, while coarser sizes lead to a faster flow.
- Choosing a grinder that produces consistent particle sizes is essential, with burr grinders being preferred over blade grinders.
- Recommend coffee grind sizes: a medium-fine grind for V60s and cone-shaped brewers, a medium-coarse grind for Chemex, and a medium grind for flat-bottom brewers.
The Importance of Grind Size in Pour Over Coffee
Coffee grind size plays a crucial role in determining the quality and flavor extraction of pour overs.
The size of the coffee particles directly impacts the rate of extraction during brewing. The smaller the grind size, the slower the water flows through the coffee bed.
Using a coarse French Press grind for pour over results in under-extraction, as water flows through the grounds too quickly, yielding a weak and watery brew. On the other hand, using a fine espresso grind for pour-over leads to over-extraction. The water takes longer to pass through the tightly packed coffee grounds, extracting excessive bitterness and astringency from the coffee.
Finding the optimal coffee grind size for pour over is essential to strike the right balance in your cup.
Recommended Grind Sizes for Different Pour Over Coffee Makers
Depending on the coffee maker or brewing method that you have, we recommend different grind sizes to start with. These recommendations are based on making a cup of joe for 1-2 people. If you want to brew more coffee for additional people, make sure to use a slightly coarser grind size to get a proper extraction.
Hario V60 or Other Cone-Shape Brewers
For cone-shaped brewers like the Hario V60, a medium-fine grind is generally recommended. Think of something like table salt or sugar. This grind size allows for a balanced extraction, where the hot water flows through the grounds at an optimal rate, resulting in a clean and vibrant cup of coffee.
The V60 is my method of choice. When I make coffee with it, I shoot for an extraction time between 2:15-2:45, depending on the type of coffee I am brewing.
If the brew time is too fast, I switch to a finer grind. If it’s too long, I grind a little coarser.
The Chemex, with its thick paper filters, benefits from a slightly coarse grind size. This lets the water flow through more easily.
We recommend a medium-coarse grind for the Chemex, as it helps maintain the ideal brewing time and prevents over-extraction. This grind size yields a bright and flavorful cup with clarity. For size reference, think of a beach with coarse sand. That’s what you want your particle size to be close to.
Kalita Wave or Other Flat-Bottom Brewers
Flat-bottom brewers like the Kalita Wave typically perform well with a medium grind size. This allows for a controlled and even extraction, ensuring a well-rounded and balanced cup of coffee. The medium grind strikes the right balance between the surface area and flow rate, resulting in a delicious brew.
How to Adjust the Taste with Grind Size
Did you follow the recommendations above and still feel like your pour over could taste even better? Micro adjustments go a long way in the world of pour over coffee.
A finer grind size increases the surface area of the coffee particles, leading to increased extraction and a stronger, more intense coffee flavor profile. If your coffee has a weak body and is very acidic, try using a finer grid size to increase mouthfeel and sweetness.
On the other hand, a coarser grind size reduces the surface area, resulting in a milder, less pronounced taste. If your coffee tastes overly bitter or harsh, grinding coarser can help reduce the extraction and balance the flavors. Try using a coarser grind if your coffee’s body is too strong and there is little-to-no pleasant acidity. Make sure you don’t grind too coarse, like for a French Press!
Tip: Keep in mind that going too far in either direction can ruin your coffee. Try small adjustments with the grind size then brew, taste, and test again until you get it right. Make sure you are keeping all the other variables constant, such as the water temperature and quantity of coffee and water.
Choosing a Coffee Grinder for Pour Overs
The most important factor in selecting the best grinder for pour overs is grind consistency. A consistent grind size ensures even extraction during brewing, resulting in a balanced cup of coffee.
Look for a grinder that offers a wide range of grind settings and has a reputation for producing uniform particle sizes. Don’t skimp out here. It’s one of the most important investments you can make when it comes to brewing coffee.
Burr coffee grinders are generally preferred over blade grinders because they produce a more consistent grind size. Electric burr grinders offer convenience and precise control, allowing you to achieve the desired coffee grind size with ease.
Manual burr grinders, on the other hand, provide a more hands-on experience and are often favored by coffee purists for their simplicity and portability. The Comandante is the holy grail of this type of grinder, but it comes with a hefty price tag. I personally own two 1Zpresso grinders, and they are much more affordable and grind very evenly.
Other factors you should take into account are the:
- Size of the container: How much coffee can fit in the loading cup?
- Ease of grinding: How smoothly can you grind coffee? Some handles are easy to turn, while others make you complete a bicep workout.
- Quality materials: Stay away from plastic, and stick with ceramic and metal burrs. A wooden handgrip is a nice touch for comfort, too.
- Finest grind size: Do you also like to use an espresso machine? Make sure you get a grinder that can grind fine enough for that.
Can sifting the grinds enhance the pour over flavor?
Another way to achieve a more even brew is to sift the coffee grounds.
Using tools like the Kruve Sifter can improve the flavor of your pour overs, especially if your grinder doesn’t produce the most even-sized particles. Sifting helps to achieve a more uniform particle size distribution, eliminating large boulders and fine dust that negatively impact the extraction process.
By removing these uneven particles, you can better control the extraction and enjoy a cleaner and more flavorful cup of coffee. Sifting the coffee grounds can lead to improved clarity, reduced bitterness, and a heightened appreciation of the coffee’s nuanced flavors.
Other Things to Consider for a Perfect Pour Over Coffee
Of course, grind size isn’t the only thing you have to think about when perfecting your pour over. These additional factors also play an important role in the quality of your cup.
- Brew Ratio: The ratio of coffee-to-water plays a significant role in the flavor and strength of the brew. Finding the ideal brew ratio for your coffee grounds and water that suits your taste preferences is crucial.
- Brew Temperature: The temperature of the water used for brewing impacts the extraction process. Maintaining an appropriate brew temperature ensures optimal flavor extraction without scorching or under-extracting the coffee. I recommend using 93°C (199.5°F) as a starting point.
- Brew Time: The duration of the brewing process influences the strength, body, acidity, and sweetness of the coffee. Controlling the brew time allows you to achieve the desired level of extraction and correct balance for your cup.
One of the most important factors in achieving the perfect pour over involves selecting the right grind size. A consistent grind size is key to a tasty cup of joe, so choose a grinder that prioritizes uniformity.
Once you dial in the correct grind size for your brew method, you will be much closer to mastering your pour over experience.
Enjoy a cleaner cup and better flavors from your favorite coffee beans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Using a blade grinder for pour overs is possible, but it will probably result in inconsistent grind sizes. The blade’s chopping action tends to create uneven particles, producing fines and large particles for an uneven extraction. However, if a consistent grind size is achieved by pulsing the grinder carefully, it can still produce an acceptable cup of pour over coffee. We recommend always using a burr grinder to avoid these problems.
While it is technically possible to use pre ground coffee for pour overs, it is not ideal. Preground coffee tends to lose its freshness and flavor faster than whole beans. Additionally, the grind size may not be optimized for pour over methods, affecting the extraction process. Usually preground coffee is ground very fine. For the best results, grinding coffee beans just before brewing is recommended to achieve the desired flavor profile in your pour over.