The Grind

As a barista, I have access to piles of coffee beans. Family and friends ask me to supply them with their beans, and I am happy to oblige. Recently, my aunt asked if I could get her a pound of the Thanksgiving coffee blend that’s sold at the store I work at, so I did. My aunt, however, does not have a grinder and asked me if I could grind them for her. I asked her what type of coffee maker she owned, which was a paper filter one, and I proceeded to grinding the beans accordingly.

Photo By: robin_ottawa
Photo By: robin_ottawa

Brewing coffee is chemistry, and making it correctly requires a certain amount of water, the correct grind and the correct amount of ground coffee. If any of these three are out of balance, the result is bad coffee. It can taste too strong or too watered down, depending on which of the three major components is not added. Another thing to consider when brewing is how you like to drink it. Some prefer a stronger taste, while others enjoy a cup that is on the weaker side. Online measuring charts provide us with the appropriate measurements to follow if you ever forget. Since I enjoy strong coffee, I always use two tablespoons of freshly ground coffee with six fluid ounces of water. If I am making some for my dad, who prefers a weaker coffee, I only use one tablespoon with six fluid ounces of water.

Photo By: Morning Brew
Photo By: Darin House

I do not own a nice fancy coffee grinder at home since I have access to one where I work. However, I do own a small manual coffee grinder that I can only use to grind a few tablespoons at a time. Once, while I was in the middle of using my little grinder, my mom suggested that I use the blender instead. I almost exploded! Although her suggestion made sense, I could never manage putting precious coffee beans through the torture of being ground improperly. I had to explain to her that the blades in a blender were not made to grind the beans properly. Each method of brewing coffee calls for a different type of grind. If you use a french press type of coffee maker, then the grounds will be more coarse than if you are using a paper filter method. Only a coffee grinder can correctly grind the beans, since it can be adjusted according to the brewing method you are using.

Another component to making great tasting coffee is to know how long you can keep it before it goes bad. Just like any other food, coffee has an expiration date. An unopened bag of coffee beans can last for up to nine months. Once the beans are ground, the shelf life goes down. Ground coffee is most fresh when used within a week of being ground. Any length of time over a week would compromise the taste, so I suggest grinding one pound at a time in order to always have a fresh cup available.

Have fun brewing!


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