Grinding your freshly roasted Companie Coffee beans is an early important step in achieving the most delicious and enjoyable cup of coffee. Don’t take this step lightly, though. The method, timing, and technique of your grind can have just as much impact on your coffee as immersion time, water temperature, and brewing method. And, since a quality cup of coffee can be brewed with an inexpensive french press or pour over, the grinder and quality of the grind can have the greatest impact on your cup’s flavor.
Whole Beans are only Half the Story
We only sell whole beans here at Companie & Co. Some of our regular and most loyal customers have asked us why that is. Well, its simple. Quality.
When you get your beans two to five days after they’ve been roasted to the perfect level by our master roasting team, the carbon dioxide releasing from within the whole beans is nearing completion. This is called degassing. At this point, the oils and flavors inside the bean are true and uncontaminated. As soon as the bean is ground, however, the rest of the degassing process is initiated. These carbon dioxide molecules help release the oils into the water during brewing. If there’s no carbon dioxide left, or the coffee is stale, the flavor is severely muted.
Once the bean is ground, it also immediately begins to lose its aroma. Within 15 minutes, even, of grinding coffee, it will lose almost 60% of its aroma if left in open air. Flavors from around the coffee will attach themselves to the oils on the coffee and release into your cup. Now who really wants a pizza and golden retriever flavored coffee?
Having a grinder and grinding your coffee to each cup is the Companie Suggestion. Grind too early and you might not like the results.
Grinding in a Nutshell
Having a good grind is important to the finished cup because as the grind comes into contact with water, it releases the flavor. If the grind is inconsistent, then the extraction from the different sized pieces of coffee becomes over-extracted on the smaller bits and under-extracted on the larger bits. This can lead to uneven, bitter, and downright unseemly flavors that can be avoided with a good grind.
There are two basic types of grinders and one is definitely superior to the other.
Blade grinders are the lawn mowers of the coffee grinding world. Yes, they do make larger things into lots of smaller things, but they don’t do it well. Blade grinders are usually found on the lower price end coffee grinders and this is why they are so prevalent in society. The truth is, blade grinders are cheap and produce an inferior product.
MAIN ISSUES WITH BLADE GRINDERS
- Grind size is always inconsistent – there is never a process to ensure all beans equally come into contact with the blades.
- The blade speed creates heat which in turn releases flavor.
- No control over final grind size, the size is determined by time of grinding.
- Can create coffee dust from over grinding.
There are some good techniques to using a blade grinder such as pulsing instead of holding, shaking the grinder as its grinding, etc. but these are workarounds at best to an inferior grinding technique.
Burr grinders are superior, plain and simple. They work by letting the coffee fall between two burrs, one rotating and one stationary, set at a specific distance apart. Once the coffee enters the chamber, it is ground until it falls between the space allowing it to escape the burrs, thus preventing over grinding. This process doesn’t need to take place rapidly therefore no heat is produced and the result is a much more consistent grind of your coffee.
As much as I love the burr, there are some drawbacks that can put a damper on your desire to have the perfect cup at every sitting.
MAIN ISSUES WITH BURR GRINDERS
- Large footprint for electric burr grinders
- Typically a bit more expensive
Hand Held Burr Grinders
If the drawbacks of the electric grinders are too hard to deal with, and we won’t blame you if they are, then look at using a little elbow grease to make up the difference. A handheld burr grinder can produce a very nice grind at half the cost of an electric grinder with the trade off that you have to do a little manual grinding work. Usually designed with a much smaller footprint, a handheld can be great to travel with or for budget households with good taste. With nearly all the benefits of an electric grinder, the largest drawback is that getting a truly fine grind of coffee may be elusive.
The Final Word
Space and cost are big factors for anybody, but instead of buying that inexpensive short lived grinder two or three times over, invest in a grinder that will make each cup noticeably richer of the flavors of your fresh roasted beans. Buy yourself a burr grinder and be happy all day long knowing that you made good choices with your coffee.