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Coffee Grind Size Chart: Variations in Coarseness

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By Daniel Bruce

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Why Freshly Ground Coffee Beans Are Key to a Perfect Cup

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By grinding your coffee just before brewing, you ensure its freshness and unlock the full range of flavors and qualities. Unlike pre-ground coffee, which loses its freshness and flavor over time, freshly ground coffee retains its natural aromas and tastes. When coffee beans are roasted, CO2 is released, enhancing the flavor and aroma.

Oxygen in pre-ground coffee causes it to lose its liveliness and become dull. You are grinding your coffee just before brewing allows you to experience the vibrant flavors, refreshing sweetness, and spicy aromas that coffee should offer. Additionally, grinding your coffee provides more versatility in brewing methods, allowing you to experiment and find your preferred taste.

Coffee Grind Size Chart

Coffee Grind Size Chart – The Impact of Grind Size on Coffee Extraction

The size of your coffee grind plays a crucial role in the extraction process, which is the process of dissolving flavors from coffee grounds in water. Using the correct grind size is just as important as using the proper coffee-to-water ratio, temperature, and brew time. Using a grind that is too coarse can result in under-extracted coffee, which may taste sour, acidic, and salty.

On the other hand, using a task too fine grind leads to over-extraction, resulting in dull, bitter coffee with muted flavors. The goal is to achieve a balanced extraction where all the tasting notes can shine, creating a sweet, well-rounded, and crisp coffee flavor.

Understanding Different Grind Sizes

There are several main types of coffee grinds: coarse, medium-coarse, and extra-coarse. Coarse grinds are larger and have a rough texture, resembling sea salt. They are often used for brewing methods like French press and cold brew. Medium-coarse grinds are consistent with rough sand and are suitable for pour-over and drip coffee makers. Extra coarse efforts are even more significant, resembling breadcrumbs, and are commonly used for cold brew methods.

Choosing the right grind size for your desired brewing method is essential for optimal flavor extraction. Each brewing method requires a specific grind size to ensure a balanced and flavorful cup of coffee. Experimenting with different grind sizes and brewing methods allows you to find your preferred taste and take your morning cup of coffee to the next level.

Coffee grind size

Coffee Grind Size Chart – The Importance of Coffee Grind Size for Different Brewing Methods

Coarse and Extra-Coarse Grounds

When it comes to brewing coffee, the grind size plays a crucial role in determining the flavor and strength of your cup. Coarse grounds, resembling kosher sea salt, are perfect for use in a French press or percolator. These larger particles allow longer steeping time, producing a full-bodied and robust coffee. On the other hand, extra-coarse grounds, slightly larger than coarse grounds, are mainly used for making cold brew coffee. The larger particles extract flavor slowly over an extended period, creating a smooth and refreshing beverage.

Medium-Coarse Grounds

Medium-coarse coffee is the middle ground between coarse and medium grinds. It has a texture similar to rough sand and is ideal for use with devices like the Chemex, Clever dripper, or a flat-bottom filter like the Kalita. This grind size allows for a balanced extraction and produces a clean and flavorful cup of coffee.

Medium Grounds

Coffee shops commonly use medium grounds resembling table salt-sized particles for drip coffee brewing methods. This grind size is versatile and can be used with various brewing devices. It offers a balanced extraction, resulting in a well-rounded and approachable cup of coffee that satisfies the taste buds of many coffee lovers.

Fine, Medium-Fine, or Extra Fine Grounds

If you’re a fan of espresso or stronger brews, then a fine grind is what you need. This grind size resembles powdered sugar and is perfect for espresso machines, Moka pots, or an Aeropress. It allows for a quick extraction, producing a concentrated and bold coffee.

For cone-shaped filters like the Hario v60, a medium-fine grind is the way to go. It offers a balanced extraction and brings out the nuanced flavors of the coffee beans. On the other hand, if you’re making Turkish coffee, you’ll need an extra-fine grind resembling flour. This grind size ensures maximum extraction and results in a rich and intense cup of coffee.

Coffee Grind Size Chart

Brewing Methods and the Perfect Grind Sizes

At A Glance

To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a simple chart that outlines the best grind size for each brew method:

Brew Method Grind Size Compare Grind To… Steep Time Notes

Aeropress Any, depending on the desired outcome. A fine grind works well for a quick, smooth brew. Fine sugar texture 30 seconds to 1 minute. The Aeropress offers versatility and efficiency for single-serve espresso.

Chemex Medium-Coarse Seasalt consistency 3.5 to 4.5 minutes The Chemex is famous for its flavorful, aromatic, and grit-free brew.

Cold Brew (Drip) Extra Coarse Peppercorn consistency 4 to 6 hours This method delivers a quicker extraction for cold brew.

Cold Brew (Mason Jar) Extra Coarse Peppercorn consistency Overnight or around 12 hours An easy and effective method for cold brew.

Cowboy Coffee Coarse Kosher salt consistency 4 minutes while boiling A coarse and rugged method accessible on the wallet.

Drip Coffee Maker Medium Beach sand texture About 5 minutes A classic and efficient method for brewing large quantities of coffee.

Understanding the appropriate grind size for each brewing method is essential for achieving the perfect cup of coffee. Whether you prefer a strong espresso or a smooth cold brew, choosing the right grind size will ensure your coffee is flavorful and satisfying. Experiment with different grind sizes to discover your preferred taste profile and enjoy the art of brewing your favorite cup of Joe.

Guide to Coffee Grind Sizes for Different Brewing Methods

Espresso Machine

Espresso is a versatile brew method that coffee enthusiasts love. It can be enjoyed independently or used as a base for various delicious coffee drinks. A fine grind, similar to the consistency of sugar, is recommended for this brewing method. The ideal extraction time for a shot of espresso is typically around 20 to 30 seconds.

French Press

French press coffee is known for its strong and flavorful brew. A coarse grind, slightly finer than extra coarse and resembling Kosher salt, is recommended to achieve the best results. The brewing process typically takes around 4 minutes, allowing the coffee to steep and develop its bold flavor.

Moka Pot

While not technically making authentic espresso, moka pots produce a brew that is similar in intensity. This brewing method is a more affordable alternative for espresso lovers. A fine grind resembling sugar is recommended for moka pots. The brewing process typically takes between 3 to 4 minutes.


Percolator coffee has a classic charm and is a low-cost brewing method. A coarse grind, slightly finer than extra rough and similar to Kosher salt, is recommended for the best results. The brewing process typically takes around 7 to 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to develop slowly.


Pour-over coffee, such as using a Chemex, is known for its delicious, grit-less, and aromatic brew. A medium-fine grind, slightly more powdery than sand, is recommended for this brewing method. The brewing process typically takes 3 to 4 minutes, allowing you to enjoy a full carafe or a single-serve amount.

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is known for its rich and bold flavor. An extra fine grind resembling powdered sugar is recommended to achieve the best results. The brewing process typically takes around 7 to 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to infuse and create a thick brew entirely.


Vacuum siphon brewing is a visually appealing and flavor-retaining method. A medium grind, resembling beach sand, is recommended for this brewing method. The brewing process typically takes 1 to 1 minute and 30 seconds, allowing the coffee’s aroma and flavor to be preserved.

Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese coffee is known for its rich and heavy flavor. A coarse grind, slightly finer than extra rough and similar to Kosher salt, is recommended for the best results. The brewing process typically takes 4 to 6 minutes, resulting in a simple yet flavorful cup of coffee.

Cold Brew

Cold brew is a popular brewing method if you enjoy chilled coffee drinks. Cold brew does not involve hot water but steeping coffee grounds at room temperature, allowing the flavors to develop slowly. For the best results, we recommend using an extra-coarse grind. The steeping time can also affect the grind size, with longer steeping times allowing for a coarser grind. Experimentation is encouraged to find the perfect task for your desired flavor profile.

French Press

French press coffee enthusiasts should opt for coarse coffee grinds. Finer grinds can result in a bitter and over-extracted brew. A helpful tip is to pay attention to the pressure needed to push the plunger down. If it feels too easy, your grind is too coarse; if it’s too complicated, it is too fine. Finding the right balance will produce a flavorful and satisfying cup of French press coffee.

The Perfect Grind: Choosing the Right Coffee Grinder


The type of coffee grinder you use is crucial when making a delicious pour-over coffee. One popular option is the Chemex, which requires medium-coarse grounds. The Chemex’s thick filter ensures that the coffee drains at the right pace, preventing over-extraction. Using medium-coarse coffee beans will result in a perfect brew.

If you prefer the Hario v60, you must use medium grounds. The thinner paper filters and large dripping cone of the Hario v60 make it necessary to adjust your grind settings. If your brew turns sour and under-extracted, it’s a sign that you must use finer grounds.


The Aeropress offers a unique coffee brewing experience. Unlike other methods, it does not require an ideal grind size. Instead, you can adjust the grind size based on your preferred brewing time. Let the coffee brew for three to four minutes for a medium-coarse grind. If you choose a finer grind, one minute will be enough. Medium grind size is a good starting point for Aeropress enthusiasts.



For those who love espresso, the grind size is crucial. The only suitable grind size for espresso is extra fine, similar to powdered sugar. This fine grind allows the hot water to extract the coffee’s flavors in just a few seconds. A coarse grind will result in a watery and under-extracted shot, while a too-fine chore will make the drink bitter with a burnt aftertaste.

Coffee Grinders 101

When it comes to grinding coffee beans, fresh is always best. Pre-ground beans may do the job, but nothing beats freshly ground coffee’s superior flavor and aroma. However, choosing the right coffee grinder goes beyond grind settings. Different types of heroes are available, and not all are created equal.

Blade Grinder

Blade grinders may seem affordable and convenient, but they are not the best choice. These grinders use metallic blades and high speed to chop the coffee beans, resulting in an inconsistent grind. Some parts of the coffee will be too delicate, while others will be too coarse, leading to disastrous over and under-extraction when brewing. It’s best to avoid using a blade grinder if you want to enjoy a truly great cup of coffee.

Investing in a quality coffee grinder is essential for achieving the perfect grind size for your preferred brewing method. Consider the specific requirements of your chosen method, whether it be pour-over, Aeropress, or espresso, and choose a grinder that meets those needs. Selecting the proper hero can elevate your coffee brewing experience, and enjoy a flavorful and satisfying cup every time.

The Downside of Blade Grinders

Plus, blade grinders create unwanted heat and friction as they work, making the coffee taste overcooked and burnt, even if your beans were fresh; because of the possibility of burnt-tasting beans and inconsistently sized grounds, you’re better off buying pre-ground coffee beans instead of a blade grinder.

Why Choose a Burr Grinder?

Burr grinders work differently than their bladed counterparts. Instead of chopping away with a sharp blade, they apply uniform pressure to all the coffee beans at low speed, crushing them and creating a consistent grind size across your beans. Most burr grinders are more expensive than blade grinders but still relatively inexpensive. They’re also convenient, with some being so small and portable you could quickly bring one on your next camping trip.

These grinders have adjustable settings, so you can soon achieve any size from the coffee grind chart above. Whether you need a finer grind size for your beloved espresso or extra-coarse beans for your cold brew, burr grinders have you covered. While it might be easy to fall into the trap of buying a cheap blade grinder (or you might have gotten one as a gift from your not-so-coffee-savvy friends), getting a burr coffee grinder makes such a big difference in the resulting cup that it’s worth the upgrade.

Manual Or Electric Grinders?

While some coffee traditionalists swear by using a manual grinder to get the perfect grounds by hand, plenty of electric grinders on the market can do the same job in a fraction of the time. How do you know which is right for you? The choice between manual and electric depends on why you’re using the grinder; manual grinders are ideal for brewers like the Aeropress or pour-over, even though they take a little more time.

If you choose the manual route, you must ensure it’s a burr grinder so your coffee particles are consistent and unaffected by unwanted heat or friction. However, if you’re making large quantities of coffee, an automatic grinder might be worth the investment, especially if you’re mainly brewing espresso. A mechanical hero makes getting a consistently pleasing and powdery grind easier, which you need if you hope to enjoy good espresso.

Dialing In Your Grinder for Espresso

If you know what “dialing in your grinder for espresso” means, you’re probably serious about your Joe. After all, this is what differentiates a good cup of coffee from an excellent one. Since espresso extraction happens quickly (in around 30 seconds), each brewing step must be done perfectly. Minor adjustments in water temperature, the precise weight of coffee going in, the time, and the yield all make a massive difference, but of course, the coffee grind is a crucial part of the process, too.

The method of dialing in your grinder for espresso refers to balancing the dose, the yield, the grind, and the extraction time to achieve a perfect cup of coffee. An unsuccessful balance of these aspects results in an over or under-extracted espresso and affects other factors such as crema or aroma. Getting it right requires a lot of practice and needs regular adjustments. While automatic grinders are consistent, the settings still need to be adjusted according to the temperature of the coffee machine or the kind of coffee beans used. When brewing, taste, experiment, and adjust the grind regularly to ensure that your coffee tastes perfect.

Coffee Grind Size FAQs

Can I grind my coffee in a blender?

If you want to grind coffee without a grinder and use a blender instead, we’ll save you some time and tell you not to bother. A blender works by using metallic blades at high speed. While this makes a pretty delicious smoothie, it makes a mess of grinding your coffee. The grind size is inconsistent, and the appliance creates unwanted heat and friction that will primarily affect the taste of your brew. It’s similar to a blade grinder but worse. You’re better off buying pre-ground coffee.

How do I know I’m using the right grind size?

Start with our coffee grind chart.

Before you break down your beans, using our coffee grind chart as a starting point is always a good idea. Different coffee brewing methods require different-sized coffee particles, so it’s essential to determine the right grind size for your chosen method.

Taste the resulting brew.

The best way to know if you’ve used the correct grind size is to taste the resulting brew. With practice and experimentation, you’ll become a master at grinding coffee in no time.

What can happen to your coffee if you use the wrong grind size?

A cup of undrinkable coffee

Using the wrong grind size can lead to disastrous results. If your grinds are too coarse for your brewing method, you’ll have under-extracted coffee that tastes sour. On the other hand, if your efforts are too delicate, your coffee will be over-extracted and lacking in flavor.

Should I grind coffee beans daily?

The freshness factor

While it’s commonly believed that ground coffee can maintain freshness for about a week, coffee experts think otherwise. As soon as coffee comes in contact with air, it oxidizes, affecting its taste. Grinding your coffee beans daily can avoid this inconsistency and unbalanced cup.

Does a finer grind make more robust coffee?

The myth of more robust coffee

Contrary to popular belief, a finer grind does not make more robust coffee. While finer grounds extract more quickly and make your coffee taste stronger, over-extraction can lead to a gritty and bitter cup. The term “strong” in coffee is relative and depends on various factors. It’s best to stay within the recommended grind size range and adjust as needed.

Is coffee better if you grind your beans?

The benefits of grinding at home

We highly recommend grinding your beans for several reasons. First, it gives you control over the coarseness of your coffee particles, which is crucial in the brewing process. Additionally, grinding at home retains more flavor-filled oils in your cup by slowing down carbon dioxide escape. This results in a more flavorful and enjoyable coffee experience.

The Take-Home Message

Relying on pre-ground coffee is a common mistake when brewing at home. To truly enjoy the full flavors of your beans, it’s best to grind them yourself right before brewing. This ensures a flavorful cup with crisp acidity and a balanced mouthfeel. Remember to consider your brewing method when determining the grind size. Elevate your coffee experience by taking control of the grinding process and enjoy superior-tasting coffee every time. Happy Caffeinating!

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