I am a huge advocate of always buying whole coffee beans and grinding them as late as possible in the coffee brewing process, which provoked a question to be emailed to me. “How long to grind coffee beans for the best tasting coffee?”
This article is in response to the question posed.
The correct and best answer is “it depends”, as there are a number of variables, namely the type of coffee you are brewing and, importantly, the grind size that you need for that brewing method.
Obviously, finer grinds and coarser grind do not take the same amount of time to grind.
By the time you have finished reading this article, you will a better knowledge of grinding, grinders, common coffee drinks and their grind size as well as how long it should take to grind them.
Grab a quick cup of coffee and keep reading while I kick this article off by talking a little about a type of grinder I mention a lot on this blog, the ceramic conical burr coffee grinder.
Let’s start with…
Blade vs Burr Grinders
- 1 Blade vs Burr Grinders
- 2 Common Coffee Grind Sizes Chart
- 3 How Long To Grind Coffee Beans For An Espresso
- 4 How Long To Grind Coffee Beans For French Press Coffee
- 5 How Long To Grind Coffee Beans For Pour Over Coffee
- 6 How Long To Grind Coffee Beans For Coarse Grind
- 7 Coffee Grind Size Numbers – Popular Burr Grinder Settings You Can Use
- 8 How Long Can Coffee Beans Sit In A Grinder?
- 9 Frappé-Ing It All Up! – How Long To Grind Coffee Beans?
I am not at all a fan of blade grinders when it comes to coffee grinders. In my opinion, and vast coffee making experience, you are much better off buying pre-ground coffee beans than using a blade grinder.
And that is quite a statement, as fresh coffee and getting the freshest possible taste is my religion! For that you really need to grind your own beans.
The problem with blade grinders is a lack of consistency in the quality of the grind. This means that some your grounds will extract their flavors at different rates and different time which will lead to a less than perfect cup of coffee as one of the core and key variable in coffee brewing has been messed around with!
For a great cup of coffee you need a consistency in your grind size, you need them all to be the same.
Also, metal blade grinders have an issue with heat, which leads to a faster degradation of your beans. This is also the case for metal burr grinders. You get much more heat from a fast spinning flat blade grinder, and thus it is a big issue with them the slightly cooking your coffee grounds as you are grinding them.
You also want to keep your coffee grinder as clean as possible for that great tasting fresh coffee with no old rancid coffee particles stuck or old ghastly coffee oil in your grinder. Blade grinders are more difficult to clean than a conical ceramic burr grinder.
A conical burr grinder uses a brushing action and even uniform pressure and distance between the burrs, which can be changed depending on the grind size. The ceramic material is highly heat-resistant and, thus heat is not an issue at all.
Heat is further reduced due the fact they can operate at low speeds.
Being of a conical shape they are much easier and straight forward to keep clean after every use by simply brushing them out, giving it a good wipe down with a sponge dipped in distilled white vinegar and blown clean to remove all particles.
And just for the record, when it comes to manual hand grinders I still insist on a manual ceramic conical burr.
Common Coffee Grind Sizes Chart
I have identified common grind sizes for the most common coffee brewing methods. Coffee brewing is not a “one size fits all” and a different grind for espresso is needed than what you would use of drip coffee, French press, pour over and cold brew to get the perfect and enjoyable coffee experience.
To be clear, if you use an espresso grind instead of a Turkish grind for a Turkish coffee, you will not get as good as result as a Turkish coffee needs the finest of grind, even finer than the powder like grind you use for a shot of espresso.
As a rule, the finer the grind, the shorter the brewing time and vice versa. If you use the wrong grind size, you can end up with a coffee extraction problem where it is over extracted or under extracted.
A coffee grind size is not unique to a particular coffee drink. For example, a coarse coffee grind is good for a number of coffee brewing methods, including French press coffee makers, cold brew coffee, percolators to name just a few.
|Brewing Method||Grind Size||Looks Like||Particle Size (mm)|
|Turkish Coffee.||Extra Fine||Flour.||0.1|
|Espresso, Ristretto.||Fine||Like table salt.||0.3|
|Aeropress, Pour over coffee, Siphon coffee||Medium Fine.||Regular sand.||0.5|
|Cafe Solo, Chemex Coffee Maker.||Medium Coarse.||Like rough sand.||0.75|
|French press, Coffee Cupping, Percolator,||Coarse.||Sea salt.||1|
|Cold Brew Coffee, Cowboy Coffee.||Extra Coarse||similar to pepper corn||1.5|
Read: Coffee cup size chart
How Long To Grind Coffee Beans For An Espresso
For a manual or automatic ceramic burr grinder somewhere in the 15 to 20 seconds range for the fine grind that is required for a good shot of espresso.
Personally, and for my own taste preference, I like to use the finest possible setting on my grinder for an espresso. I keep a record, a chart of the grind size numbers that get me the best taste for my grinder and keep a record of the grind setting used for my regular house guests, so I can make the best possible coffee for them.
Starbucks, whom I know due to previous employment and many friends and managers I know from various outlets I have visited, use a blade grinder. They recommend grinding for 30 to 35 seconds for an espresso shot.
As I said earlier, you need consistent grinds so please avoid using a blade grinder. Regardless of which grinder you are using the grind size for espresso is a fine grind of 0.3 mm is ideal.
Espresso drinkers can be very fussy about their shot and an espresso is one of the most important coffee drinks to get right as it is the base for many other coffee drinks. Always use the correct grind for espresso machines.
How Long To Grind Coffee Beans For French Press Coffee
I have seen it written on a few blogs that a medium grind is used for French press coffee. To get a good, well brewed French press, a coarse grind of 1 mm is required.
With a good quality burr grinder, the grinding process should take you 10-15 seconds of grinding to get the amount of grinds and correct grind size that you need for this very pleasurable cup of coffee.
How Long To Grind Coffee Beans For Pour Over Coffee
10-15 seconds is also a good indication of how long it should take you to grind coffee beans for pour over coffee. A medium fine grind size of 0.5 mm is a good grind size to aim for to get the best flavored coffee using the pour over technique.
How Long To Grind Coffee Beans For Coarse Grind
Coarsely ground coffee is what you are shooting for with a 1 mm grind size. This should take you about 8 to 10 seconds to achieve. Getting a good, consistent coarse grind size is important for avoiding over extraction and due to the longer brew times associated with coffee brewed with this grind size.
Coffee lovers and coffee nerds like to brew cold brew, and French press with coarse grounds.
Coffee Grind Size Numbers – Popular Burr Grinder Settings You Can Use
To give you a much better indication of grind size numbers and popular burr grinder settings, I have put together a coffee grinder size chart below with the setting and number of popular grinders and coffee brewing methods.
|Brewing Method||Grind Size||Looks Like||Particle Size (mm)||Baratza Encore||Baratza Virtuoso||Cuisinart
|Mr Coffee Burr Grinder|
|Turkish Coffee.||Extra Fine||Flour.||0.1||1||1||Not Ideal for this grind size||Not Ideal for this grind size||Not Ideal for this grind size|
|Espresso, Ristretto.||Fine||Like table salt.||0.3||5||5||5||5-7||1|
|Aeropress, Pour over coffee, Siphon coffee||Medium Fine.||Regular sand.||0.5||5-20||5-20||3-15||Any From Espresso to Drip||1-13|
|Café Solo, Chemex Coffee Maker.||Medium Coarse.||Like rough sand.||0.75||21||20||8-10||Chemex Icon +1||5-10|
|French press, Coffee Cupping, Percolator,||Coarse.||Sea salt.||1||22-40||22-40||18||Coarse 1 to 4||18|
|Cold Brew Coffee, Cowboy Coffee.||Extra Coarse||similar to pepper corn||1.5||30-40||30-40||20||Coarse 2 to 4||20|
How Long Can Coffee Beans Sit In A Grinder?
Your coffee grinder and its hopper, the part where you store the beans, is not an ideal place to store your coffee beans and really nobody, not even a coffee shop should store their beans in the hopper.
There are a number of reasons not to. The hopper does not keep your beans in a place that is away from bright lights. It does not keep them in an airtight container and does not have a one way valve.
It is completely fine to store your coffee beans at room temperature. Better, much better is to store them in the fridge or, better still, the freezer.
(your beans don’t actually freeze, they are just a lot colder and being colder aids in keeping them fresher and helping to truly eliminate the heat issue when grinding).
For me I absolutely do not advise that you store your beans at all in the hopper and only use them as you need them and are about to grind them.
Store them in a vacuum airtight coffee cannister that has a one way valve on it and store your cannister in the fridge or, preferably, the freezer.
If you absolutely must store your beans in your grinder, you can do so for a maximum of about 2 weeks and still be able to serve fresh coffee. Your coffee just won’t be as sharp and fresh tasting had you stored them in the fridge.
Frappé-Ing It All Up! – How Long To Grind Coffee Beans?
How long to grind coffee beans is something that varies and depends on the methods of coffee brewing, something the average household coffee drinker is not aware of. Other variables include which type of grinder you are using as an electric coffee grinder has shorter grind times than blade coffee grinders.
A manual coffee grinder may have a slightly different grinding time also, depending on your own physical input.
I provided a general amount of time for different coffee drinks in this article and a coffee grinding chart.