How To Grind Coffee For Percolator Like A Pro!

How To Grind Coffee For Percolator Like A Pro!

A regular reader e-mailed me and asked for information about how to grind coffee for percolator and wanted to know the best way to do it and all sorts of details like when, why and what size, as well as what kind of grinder he should use.

This article is inspired both by the questions asked and my response to the questions.

Keep reading to find out the best way of grinding your coffee to make a truly great cup of percolator coffee.

What Type Of Grinder Should You Use?

I’ve seen a lot of advice given in the coffee community from well established individuals and well respected coffee bloggers suggesting the use of a burr grinder.

I absolutely agree – there is no better type for getting a good quality, even and consistent coffee grind. While a blade grinder is good, there is no question nor doubt about it.

Unfortunately, you just won’t get as good a quality or an even or consistent a grind as you would with a burr grinder.

By far the best coffee grinder for resistance to heat and less heat dissipation is a ceramic conical burr grinder. Heat is something you want to keep to a minimum as, even in the early stages, it leads to the degradation of your coffee grounds.

When I am grinding for the purpose of cold brew coffee, French press and percolator coffee, less heat dissipated in my coffee is more important than a consistent grind as a coarser grind is what I will be using.

If a finer grind such as that I would need of an espresso I’d be much more focused and concerned with consistency in such a fine powder like grind. Thus, you can, if you so desire, also use a manual grinder for percolator coffee grinding.

What Type Of Grinder Should You Use
There are many different coffee grinders

Read: Ceramic Vs Steel burr grinder

What Grind Of Coffee Is Best For A Percolator?

For a coffee percolator, the ideal size of grind is a coarse grind approximately the size of kosher salt to give you a reference.

With a grind this size, you should be able to obtain a good contact time between the hot water and your coffee grounds to make a rather tasty coffee.

What Grind Of Coffee Is Best For A Percolator
Coarse ground coffee. Image credits Death Wish Coffee

How To Grind Coffee For A Percolator

Percolator brewing, be it a traditional stovetop percolator or a more modern electric percolator functions by brewing coffee by first boiling water up and through a basket of coffee grounds. The longer the brewing time and the longer brewing process when we compare it to other brewing techniques means we need a coarser grind size.

This is because the water is in contact with the coffee grounds for a prolonged period of time. A smaller grind, such as a medium grind size would result in over brewed bitter tasting coffee.

If you accidentally use a smaller grind size like a medium grind, you might just be able to save yourself from overly bitter coffee by keeping a sharp eye on your brew and focusing on a shorter brew time.

Due to the extraction rate and brewing method, please do ensure that you have coarse grounds in your coffee basket.

Step 1: Clean Your Grinder.

Now is as good a time as any for a reminder that a clean coffee grinder is a great coffee grinder. A coffee grinder can become clogged up with old grinds that get stuck when you grind coffee beans.

Also, they can become rather messy with the coffee oil from old beans. All of which are detrimental to the quality and taste of the coffee you brew.

I repeat this often on this site – coffee is a food product. Treat it as such and keep your equipment clean and your beans stored perfectly for maximum freshness.

Step 2: Weigh Your Beans

The only way of ensuring your coffee has the maximum freshness possible is to take the maximum care of them. With freshly roasted beans that you have either roasted yourself or bought freshly roasted (check the roasted on date) weigh the exact amount of beans you will be using.

Only grind what you are about to use. And keep your coffee beans stored in an airtight coffee cannister with a one way valve. Store this cannister in the fridge.

When you are grinding only what you are about to use, you keep your beans fresher and better stored, your hopper is empty, and your grinder is easier to brush out and keep clean!

Step 3: Fill The Hopper

Remove the lid of the coffee bean hopper and put your beans in. Replace the lid.

Step 4: Select The Grind Size

On your coffee grinder, select the largest grinding size that it will permit.

Step 5: Grind Your Beans

Press the on button and start grinding your coffee beans.

Why Is Coffee Grind Size Important?

Your coffee beans are ground to extract the flavor from the beans with water, which will result in a cup of coffee. How fresh your beans are as well as the quality of the beans and the size of the grind have an impact on the flavor and aroma of your coffee.

As soon as you grind your coffee beans, the flavor is starting to deteriorate due to the coffee particles and compounds starting to oxidize due to contact with the air.

As a side note, your beans are at their freshest 3 days after roasting and will remain so for about a week. This is why, at Latte Love Brew we encourage you to join the home roasting revolution and roast your own beans.

The size of your grind will dramatically affect the flavor of your brew. You absolutely must use the correct grind size for your brewing method.

As your coffee grounds come into contact with the hot or cold water the different flavor compounds are released at different times, with the bitter flavors being the last to get extracted and the sharp acidic flavors last.

Somewhere in between the two, the acidic and bitter flavors is the sweet spot, where all the lovely typical coffee flavors and notes and oils come through.

The extraction, the correct and perfect extraction, is a result of the contact time between the water and the coffee grounds. This, for each brewing technique, is determined by the size of the grounds.

The slower brewing methods need a larger grind due to the longer contact time, the longer duration of the water being in contact with the water.

There is a “sweet spot” between the coffee grounds and the water being in contact. Too long and your coffee will taste bitter, too short, and it tastes watery and slightly salty.

The correct grind size helps to make your cup of coffee taste amazing as you dial in the right grind size calculated to the amount of time it is in contact with the water.

If you are going to drip brew, make filter coffee or cold brew with a fine powder espresso like grind you will end up with a horrid, very overly bitter coffee. A finer grind has a greater surface area and thus a much stronger bitter result.

This is why, and how you can use a very short brewing time with an espresso.

Why Is Coffee Grind Size Important
Grind Size is important for a great cup of coffee

What Is The Best Setting On My Grinder For Percolator Coffee?

With percolator coffee, a coarse grind is best. This is usually the biggest and highest setting on your grinder. A coarse grind is good for percolator coffee, French press and cold brew to name only a few.

Medium grind size is good for your every day cup of coffee and drip coffee.

Frappé-Ing It All Up – How To Grind Coffee For Percolator

If you have read this far, you have learned how to grind coffee for percolator coffee, what grind size to use and, more importantly, why you should keep your hopper empty and clean to maximise the freshness of your coffee.

I hope you paid attention to the short section on the role that grind size plays in coffee brewing as it is crucial and critical to getting the best tasting coffee.

Coffee is love, it's more than love — it's a passion of mine. I've had the luck to have travelled and enjoyed the most exotic of coffee's and unique flavors, brewing methods and techniques of making the perfect coffee from Thai hill tribe coffee to Indonesian volcanic coffee, Malaysian coffee that comes in a tea bag and the array of flavors in Vietnam, from Vanilla to Orange to Coconut to Avocado to even salt coffee and the famous egg coffee. The best part of my coffee adventures is getting to mix with the locals over a nice brew and learning how they make it! I'm cited and referenced on Google Scholar for the topic of coffee.

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