The right coffee grinding coarseness and how to adjust it

Why change the coarseness of the coffee grind

Good coffee lovers who are beginning to delve into the mysteries of coffee extraction often lack information on the importance of proper grinding. Yet one of the main aspects of great coffee is properly roasted and just perfectly ground beans.

Your grinder is an invaluable tool for coffee preparation and one of the most important tools for mastering extraction. A balanced extraction will result in a cup full of flavour. All the flavours that roasted coffee beans hide.

To get a good cup of coffee, you need to set the right grindon your grinder . Not too coarse, not too fine. Just right for the method of coffee brewing you use. At the same time, take into account the origin and roasting style of the beans - filter or espresso, their freshness/age, the type of brewing and the water.

What influences espresso extraction?

If you prepare espresso in a home coffee machine, thegrind is the most frequently changing factor that affects the final taste of the coffee.

Other factors that change the taste (extraction) of espresso:

  • Your coffee machine has a temperature setting (usually about 92°C). You usually don't change this variable.
  • The basket in the lever defines the volume, i.e. the amount of coffee it can hold.
  • Theappropriate time formaking espresso is around 25 to 35 seconds.

What does this imply? You can only significantly change the most important thing: the coarseness of the grind. This will affect the extraction enough to ensure that you are completely satisfied with your espresso.

What is proper extraction and how should the coffee taste?

Your goal when adjusting the coarseness or fineness of the grind is to find the exact percentage of extraction that preserves and develops the flavours and aromas of the coffee.

You are looking for a happy medium. Anextraction that makes the coffee sweet, pleasantly acidic with a subtle bitterness at the end. The very exploration for the right extraction is subject to initial setbacks.

When coffee is under-extracted: insufficient extraction

Under-extracted coffee does not get enough flavour. It is watery, fake, light and sour in a way that makes your face contort. This coffee hasn't been sufficiently extracted. It's been ground too coarsely. Large chunks of coffee beans have not been ground to the fineness needed to bring out their full potential.

When coffee is over-extracted: high extraction

Coffee that has toostrong a flavour. It is so strong that the resulting extract is difficult to drink at all. Overextracted coffees are quite bitter in taste. Burnt. Often after drinking overextracted coffee you can feel yourmouth dry.

This is due to the coffee being too finely ground. Grinding too finely caused the flavours and aromas to be extracted from the tiny particles of coffee faster than they needed to be, and the rest of the time in the brewing process they were "over-baked".

How to grind coffee for espresso

If you've been the proud owner of a coffee machine for a while? So you probably use a certain grind level and just tweak it a notch or two to a finer or coarser grind when you change coffees, for example.

How to set up your first espresso from your home coffee machine

If you're starting out with a new coffee machine, try setting one of the medium grind points on the grinder and make a test coffee. This will tell you which way to turn the adjustment wheel.

You can then see if the final coffee is under-extracted or over-extracted. And therefore whether you pull the grinding stones closer together or loosen them.

What grinding coarseness to make the coffee taste

To fine tune your coffee and get a better idea of the extraction process, check out the infographic below. This should help you in your search for your "golden cup".

As well as a hint on which way tomove the grind(whether coarser or finer) , you'll also find other factors that will help get the extraction right.

Particularly when making coffee using alternative methods, you can choose which of these factors will affect your extraction. Just make sure you only ever change one of them. Otherwise, your journey to great extraction could become endless.

The right grind level for Espresso, Moka, French Press and over-the-counter coffee

This range of grinding coarseness will help you to better navigate when setting up your grinder for making coffee using different techniques.

1. Extra coarse ground coffee

  • Areally coarse grind for Cold Brew, prepared with a Toddy Brewer for example .
  • Distinct chunks of coffee beans. The larger the coffee chunks you have ground the longer it takes to brew.
  • This grind is mostly used to macerate coffee in cold water for several hours.

Grinding pattern: extra coarse

2. Coarsely ground coffee

  • When you hold coarsely ground coffee in your hand, it reminds you of coarse salt in texture.
  • You use coffee ground like this to makeinfused coffees.
  • The ideal grind forFrench Presscoffee .

Grinding pattern: coarse

3. Medium coarse ground coffee

  • Coffee ground to particles the size of coarse sand.
  • Medium coarse ground coffee is poured intoautomatic drip machines, so-called batch brew, such as the stylish Mocca master.
  • It is also the right coarseness for your Chemex.

Grinding pattern: semi-coarse

4. Medium ground coffee

  • A coarsegrind of fine sand will suit you for Aeropressbrewing as well as for its travel version.
  • Also for the preparation of Twist Press and or so-called siphon, e.g. Vacuum pot by Haria.

Grinding pattern: medium coarse

5. Medium-fine ground coffee

  • Now we come to the grind grades we refer to as finely ground coffee.
  • If you grind your coffee fine, you will also prepare a great Aeropress, but unlike the medium coarse grind, use shorter times (about 2 minutes) to prepare.
  • This grind level is also suitable for popular manual drippers like the Kalita or the Hario V60 dripper .

Grinding pattern: medium fine


  • A coffee finer than for a manual dripper, but not "espresso fine" is suitable for popular Moka kettles (resembles the texture of coarse flour).
  • If you like to brew your Aeropress using a quick recipe based on theoriginal intent of Alan Adler (inventor of this coffee brewing aid) you're looking at abrew time ofunder 1 minute.
  • A fine grind is suitable for this technique.
  • Finely ground coffee (resembles semi-coarse flour) is mainly used for espresso.

Grinding pattern: fine


  • Coffee that is finer than your lever coffee machine is used to makeTurkish coffee.
  • Well, certainly not "Czech Turkish", but traditional Arabic coffee prepared in a jazwa or ibrik.

Grinding pattern: extra fine

Choosing the right grinder for the perfect coffee

You can't make coffee without a grinder and if you do, you won't enjoy it. There's no doubt about it. So the first steps to tasty coffee lead to our shelf of coffee grinders.

Choosing a coffee grinder is a very responsible thing to do. Decide the type of grinder according to the drive or electric or manual coffeegrinder. Personally, I recommend having both at home. One for the kitchen and one for travel.

Then narrow down your choice depending on what kind of coffee you intend to make with it. Will it be filter coffee from French Press or espresso?

When you buy an espresso grinder

Anelectric grinder is very handy to have with your coffee machine. A fine grind means a more demanding crank, which you may get tired of after a few espressos in a row.

However,you can grind your morning and afternoon coffee for yourself and your coffee companion with agood quality hand grinder even with your left hand. Check out the Comandante and Timemore grinders in particular. Or the new products that are taking customers from the previously mentioned kings of hand grinding day by day: 1Zpresso and Kinu.

If you throw in some coin (i.e. paper) to buy an electric espresso grinder, it will come back to ease, efficiency and fun to make during every coffee. An electric coffee machine just wants an electric grinder too. Those for espresso and in perfect build quality are primarily Eureka Mignon, but also MDH Nuova Simonelli.

When you buy a filter grinder

You're not after espresso, you want to make home filter coffee? So you are looking for a quality filter grinder. It differs from an espresso grinder in that the grind setting scale on an espresso grinder, while it has a lot of grind settings, is only geared towards the fine grind range.

The range of the grind scale for filter coffee is wider than for espresso, but the individual grades are further apart. Such a grinder is coarse for French Press, medium for overflow and fine for AeroPress.

Choose both in the manual grinder department like Barista Space, but I also again recommend considering a precision Comandante or Timemore. Among the electrics, there are great filter grinders from Baratza, Wilf and Fellow ORO.

Oh, and then there's the possibility that you want to keep all your options open for good coffee. Whether from an espresso machine or drip coffee maker. Such universal grinders are the electric Wilfa Uniform, Baratza Sette and Forte, also the already mentioned Eureka Mignon and or the manual Kinu, Timemore with E&B grinding stones and of course the king of hand grinding Comandante.

Coffee grinder setup tips

With electric grinders, the grind coarseness setting is usually clearer than with manual ones. You usually change the coarseness by turning the adjustment knob or the whole hopper (Wilfa, Baratza). In both cases, you can see the grades - the points or numbers you are working on.

In the case of manual grinders, the grind adjustment knob is usually located below the grinding stones. A point or number scale wouldn't fit very well there, soyou orient yourself by the number of clicks from the starting point. That is, from the position where the stones are closest together.

For an initial orientation, you may find the attached table below with grind settings for the most commonly used hand grinders useful. After trying it yourself, you will find the ideal setting for your particular coffee preparation.