Coffee Should Be Brewed As Soon As It Is Ground
Coffee grinders are an important part of producing the best coffee. Once a coffee lover discovers the real taste of coffee, as opposed to what the majority of coffee drinkers consume every day, they may realize what they have been missing and decide that they want more from the coffee that has become so much a part of daily life.
Producing excellent brew at home does require more labor and equipment but just as with any project undertaken to improve a food or drink the results more than repay the effort. Home grown vegetables are always superior to anything from the supermarket and so it is with home brewed coffees.
First it is important to understand the basics of coffee brewing. While everyone understands that hot water is distributed through ground coffee beans there are important differences that greatly influence the finished cup of aroma and taste of the finished product.
While the only way to produce a cup of coffee is to add water to coffee grounds, few people realize that the longer water stays in contact with the ground coffee the further the quality is diminished. How long the water stays in contact can be determined by the way the coffee beans have been ground and the way the water is transmitted through the coffee grounds.
Picture two equal sized containers, one filled with gravel and the other filled with sand. Because the course gravel has so much open space between each stone water will very quickly pass through. However the container of sand which has very minimal open space between each particle will hold the water in contact with it for a much longer time.
Why Are Different Grades Of Ground Coffee Necessary?
Once this is understood it becomes apparent why there are different grades of ground coffee. In the old style percolator coffee pots and the newer drip pots such as the familiar, Mr Coffee machines, hot water is passed at a medium rate through the grounds. In an espresso machin
One reason espresso machines produce such rich coffee flavor is because the coffee is ground so fine that it exposes much more surface to the water. Because of this the water must be forced through the coffee grounds at a much faster pace under pressure. If you were to use a standard drip coffee pot with finely grounds, the water would take a very long time to pass through and would destroy the quality of your coffee.
As you began to understand the relationship between the brewing methods and the coffee grounds it becomes clear that the finished grind of coffee must match the brewing method. There is a second important consideration to the production of the best coffee.
While most wines and whiskeys improve over time with aging the opposite is true with coffee beans once they are ground. Ground coffee quality will deteriorate fairly quickly when it is exposed to air. The development of pressurized cans and bags made it possible to keep coffee usable for an extended period of time but bulk coffee will never be able to produce the finest finished cup of coffee.
To take advantage of the full flavor and aroma of coffee it should be brewed as soon as it is ground. This is why the home styles of coffee grinders have become so popular. Coffee is ground and used immediately and not stored. Also coffee grinders are adjustable which make it a simple task to produce different grades of grind.
There are basically three grades of ground coffee but modern coffee grinders are easily adjusted for many grades in between.
Course Grind: Produces fairly large individual grains. This is what is used in the percolators, and drip coffee makers mentioned above.
Medium Grind: This is a general purpose grind that is suitable of all types of coffee makers except the espresso machines. It has the general appearance of table salt.
Fine Grind: This is the coffee used in espresso machines.
There are a number of methods in use to produce the ground or finished coffee. In some parts of the world coffee drinkers still use a mortar and pestle to actually pound the coffee into a fine
Fortunately manufacturers have noticed the interest in grinding of coffee in the home and have developed a wide variety of very successful grinders at very reasonable prices. There are both manual hand grinders and a wide assortment of electric grinders available.
Whether your preference is a hand grinder or an electric model there are a few features that youshould consider. Basically there are three distinct grinding methods used in modern home coffee grinders, blade, burr and flat burr.
You have used a blade grinder if you have ground coffee at the supermarket. These machines use a rapidly spinning, sharp metal blade which in effect chops the coffee beans until they are reduced to the desired size. Some users feel that the chopping blade does not produce consistent sized grains and also has a tendency to burn the coffee grounds because of heat generated by the spinning blade.
Burr grinders while usually a little more expensive are appreciated because of the consistency of the finished grind. The beans are actually crushed between a grinding wheel and a grind surface. The process might be compared to the flour mills used for centuries. You will find burr grinders in three designs, wheel, conical and flat.
How To Find The Best Grinder For Your Situation
Before making a choice from the available coffee grinders you would do well to spend a little time at Amazon reviewing the models, manufacturers descriptions and pay attention to the comments of previous owners. You can learn a lot by reading through these comments and also pick up some helpful hints that these previous customers readily share.
Check these other Infobarrel articles for more tips and suggestions for brewing that perfect cup: