The most important step in making the perfect cup of coffee is the grinding process, yet this is something that’s also often overlooked even by coffee enthusiasts.
With the right knowledge and proper application of methods, grinding coffee beans can be enjoyable– especially when you think about the delicious and sensually aromatic cup you’ll enjoy afterwards. It’s worth the effort, and the difference is striking.
The grounding of coffee beans is also called “milling” and it facilitates the brewing process, making it the strongest factor that affects the quality of the coffee. A very fine grind is highly desirable because it allows the most efficient extraction, but careful not to overdo it because coffee that’s too finely ground will end up slowing down the filtration and screening process.
There are different types of coffee grinders with different modes of how they work. The different types are burr mills, blade grinders, and roller grinders. For certain types of coffee such as Arabic and Turkish, you’ll need to make use of mortar and pestle to pulverize the coffee beans finely enough that it becomes powdery. Again, it takes quite a bit of effort but when you’ve achieved that fine quality of powder, you’ll enjoy a rich, spicy, and aromatic coffee that’s nothing short of breathtaking.
A burr mill coffee grinder has two revolving abrasive elements where the beans are crushed in between with little frictional heating. This is how the coffee oils are released, which are then extracted with hot water during the infusion process. The result is that the coffee ends up tasting smoother and more flavorful.
You’ll find that there are manual and electrical mills available too. What happens is that they grind the beans to consistent and uniform size which is regulated by the two abrasive surfaces mentioned earlier. This, in turn, produces a more even brew extraction and avoids clogging in the filters by excessively fine particles.
Coffee beans may also be chopped using blenders or blade grinders that are specially made for coffee or spices. These types of devices typically have blades that rotate at a high speed of about 20,000 to 30,000 rpm, and are relatively cheaper compared to regular burr mills. You won’t get a very uniform grind though and the particles will vary in size. Ideally, all of the particles should have a uniform size appropriate for the brewing method desired. Consistency is a common challenge because the sizes will differ from batch to batch, depending on the duration of the grinding and the size of the coffee beans used. What’s natural though is that the longer it stays in the grinder, the smaller and smaller the particles get.
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The roller grinder works by using a pair of corrugated rollers for grounding the beans. It’s not the most affordable and kitchen-friendly way to grind coffee beans because of its size and cost, which make it a commercial or industrial scale coffee maker. There are water-cooled roller grinders that are used for high volumes of production, as well as for fine grinds such as espresso or Turkish coffee. So, as you can see, there are really different ideal grinders for different types of coffee. The tricky part is to ground it specifically to your preferred method of brewing.