How To Grind Coffee Beans for Espresso (Explained)
If you are an avid coffee fan, there may come a time when you are interested in learning to brew your own coffee rather than going to a shop. Grinding your own coffee beans and learning the skills of your local barista is a rewarding experience.
One of the first steps to grinding coffee beans is figuring out how to grind coffee beans for different preparation styles, including espresso.
When grinding coffee beans for espresso, use a good coffee grinder, the right grind size, and the correct type of bean. For optimal results, use a burr grinder, dark roast beans, and finely ground coffee. These options will undoubtedly give you a delicious shot of espresso every time.
Keep reading to learn why these options are the best for espresso and how to use a grinder. Then, read on to learn more about grinding beans for the perfect shot of espresso, as well as the best type of grinder to use.
How To Grind Espresso Beans
When grinding your own coffee beans, it’s essential to know the appropriate grind size for each preparation of coffee. Grind sizes range anywhere from extra coarse to extra fine and have several consistencies in between.
For espresso, you will want to focus on grinding your coffee beans to a fine consistency. You can tell it is the right texture when it is a little more fine than salt but not as refined as powder.
On the other hand, if your espresso beans are too coarse, you risk under-extracting your coffee, which leads to a sour taste.
The best coffee grinder to use is a burr grinder. With a burr grinder, the beans fall onto toothed disks that rotate and crush them into smaller pieces. A blade grinder is similar to a blender, in which it has a large blade that rotates quickly to break the beans.
However, this grinder style tends to produce inconsistent results and is not recommended for the best results.
What Is Espresso Grind?
Espresso grind is one of the finest grinds for coffee possible, beaten only by the Turkish grind, in which beans are ground to a flour-like consistency. This grind type is the most common for pre-ground coffee, so you can use that as a reference when learning how to grind your own coffee beans.
Espresso grind should feature finer grounds than table salt but not quite as fine as a powder. If it reaches powder consistency, it is too fine and falls into the Turkish grind category.
How Fine Should You Grind Coffee Beans for Espresso?
You will want extremely fine espresso grounds, no matter what kind of bean you use. As opposed to beans explicitly made for espresso, regular coffee beans should still be ground to the same consistency for espresso.
What Grind Should I Use for Espresso?
As stated above, espresso beans must be ground to a fine consistency. If they are too coarse, you run the risk of under-extracting your coffee.
Under-extracting is the term for when you have not extracted enough flavor from the coffee bean. This can happen when coffee grounds are too coarse or when the brew time is too short.
Under-extracted coffee has a sour or acidic taste. On the other hand, if you use a grind that is too fine for espresso, it will over-extract your coffee, leading to a bitter coffee.
A fine grind is best used for espresso. Fine grind helps you achieve the right consistency for making espresso.
Does Finer Grind Make Stronger Coffee?
If you use too fine coffee grounds for your chosen preparation method, it is much easier to over-extract your coffee. Over-extracted coffee tastes more bitter and can taste as if it were brewed stronger.
Technically, you can make the bean’s flavors taste more robust, but it must be brewed properly. If your grind is too fine for the preparation method, it is likely to affect the flavor of the coffee.
In terms of caffeine, a finer grind actually does make more robust coffee. When coffee is ground very finely, it releases more caffeine from the bean. Therefore, if you want a very caffeinated cup of coffee, a finer grind may be a good choice, but you will need to brew it carefully.
Do You Need a Special Coffee Grinder for Espresso?
You can use any coffee grinder for espresso. However, it is strongly recommended to invest in a high-quality burr grinder if you want to produce optimal results.
There are two types of coffee grinders, as mentioned briefly above. A burr grinder is a choice used by most coffee shops and hobbyist baristas. This is because it produces a more consistent grind.
A burr grinder consists of two or more toothed plates, which rotate and crush the beans as they fall onto them. Meanwhile, a blade grinder has a large blade that rotates and pulverizes the beans.
They both are similar in concept, but the blade grinder tends to produce grounds of different sizes all at once due to the high-speed blade.
Another aspect to consider when choosing between a burr grinder and a blade grinder is the head produced during the grinding process. Blade grinders have more heat because the blade must spin at high speed.
More heat during grinding affects the flavor of the beans as it essentially continues to roast the bean.
If you are on a budget, you can use a blade grinder. However, investing in a good quality coffee grinder is strongly recommended if you want the best espresso possible.
How Do You Grind Espresso Beans With a Grinder?
You should grind espresso beans the same way you would grind any other coffee bean. The specifics will depend on the model of your burr grinder, but it is crucial to keep the grind size in mind.
Each specific model will have different settings, which do not correlate to other brands of coffee grinders. Therefore, when using a burr grinder, it is essential to experiment with your grind settings and remember what works best for you.
Blade grinders have no settings, so they vary less between brands. If you decide to use a blade grinder, the basic steps are as follows:
- Measure the beans and pour them into the reservoir.
- Either press the button or push the top of the grinder down to activate the blade.
- Use the blade in short bursts rather than all at once.
Blade grinders are not ideal, but you can use them if needed. It helps to operate the blade in short bursts rather than turning it on and leaving it. This helps keep the grinder from heating up too much and affecting the flavor of your coffee.
It also can be helpful to shake the grinder while grinding, as this makes the grounds more consistently sized.
Espresso beans must be ground to a fine consistency. If they are too coarse, you run the risk of under-extracting your coffee; too fine, however, may cause you to over-extract your coffee, hence a bitter coffee.
When grinding coffee beans for espresso, it’s essential to keep in mind the grind size and the type of grinder used. The best option to use for espresso is a high-quality burr grinder.
Choose the right grind size and a good quality grinder. Then, you can have the best cup of espresso possible, rivaling even your favorite coffee shop.