There’s two popular ways of creating your own coffee mix – Mills or Grinders. The mills are cheaper, as they slice the beans, but they can leave the beans in a less even grind, and can also leave the coffee with a slightly burnt taste, if they’re being ground for too long. Grinders are more like a pestle and mortar, in the way that they are very simple, and grind things evenly. There’s Wheel grinders, which are cheaper but spin very fast but noisy. The Conical burrs spin slower, are quieter and offer a lower likelihood of clogging, but are more expensive compared to the Wheel Grinders.
However, at the end of the day, you’ll be able to work out which will suit your needs best over a short period of time, depending on what type of coffee machine you have and what you like to drink.
Getting the right beans at the right size and texture can make the difference between a memorable cup of coffee (for the right reasons) and a memorable cup of coffee (for the wrong reasons!)
The choice of grinds will depend greatly on what you are drinking – for a percolator or cafetiere use a coarse grind so that the oils in the beans will be released, but not too fine that they will burn quite easily.
When you’re using a filter machine, it can vary depending on the type of filter that is on the machine. For example, a cone-bottomed machine will use a fine grind, compared to a medium one for flat-bottomed machines. This is because the way that the water will flow over the beans and the type of filter device used can change the flavours and brewing strength that is achieved.
For an Espresso, you want the grind to be as fine as possible. The small quantity of water that is poured through the amount of beans needs as high as possible surface area to absorb as many of the oils (which contain the flavours) as possible, and having the grind very fine means that there’s a lot more area that the water will pass through.
Photo Courtesy of Ray Larabie