When do I need to adjust the grind setting of my coffee grinder?

The best thing you can do for your coffee is to grind it fresh before brewing . But to what degree of grinding? And when do you need to adjust the grinding level? These are very interesting questions and hopefully we have equally interesting answers.

When to adjust the grind – meaning of the grind

The degree of grinding plays a crucial role in the preparation of coffee and has a significant influence on the taste and quality of the final product. It refers to the size of the coffee particles after grinding and is adjusted according to the preparation method.

When to adjust the grind – the extraction

The grind size affects the extraction of the coffee during the brewing process. If the coffee particles are ground too finely, the water cannot pass through them fast enough , which can result in an over-extracted cup that tastes bitter and sour. On the other hand, if the particles are too coarse, the water can pass through them too quickly , which can result in an under-extracted cup that can taste thin and sour.


When to adjust the grind – the taste

The grind size determines the surface area that the water comes into contact with the coffee. Finely ground coffee offers a larger surface area, which can result in a stronger extraction and often results in a bolder taste with richer flavors. Coarsely ground coffee, on the other hand, has less surface area, which can result in a weaker extraction and often results in a lighter taste with more subtle flavors.

When to adjust the grind – the brewing time

The grind size also affects the brewing time. Finely ground coffee usually requires a longer brewing time to achieve sufficient extraction, while coarsely ground coffee requires a shorter brewing time. Precisely adjusting the grind size is therefore crucial to control the brewing time and achieve the desired taste.

When to adjust the grind – the preparation method

The grind size varies depending on the brewing method. For espresso, a fine grind is needed to maintain pressure in the portafilter and ensure optimal extraction. For filter coffee or French press, a medium to coarse grind is used to achieve an even extraction without the water running through too quickly.

When to adjust the grind – the factors

It would be so simple: once you have set the grinding level, you never need to change it . But that's not possible! Unfortunately, a grinding level setting is not permanent. Let's start with the fact that the grinding discs on your grinder wear down a little and the distance between them increases. This changes the grinding level and you have to readjust it. This happens more quickly and clearly at first with fresh grinding discs.


When to adjust the grind – the roasting level

Depending on the roast level, you may need to adjust the grind level on the coffee grinder . Let's say you've had dark roasts and ground them for espresso, but now you want to try espresso with a medium or light roast. The less heat a bean receives during roasting, the harder and denser it is. In this case, you should grind finer to achieve optimal flow and therefore optimal extraction.

When to adjust the grind – the bean size

Even if you buy a new coffee, you should adjust the grind on the coffee grinder. This is because every coffee, i.e. single origin, has different bean sizes, depending on the variety and growing region. With blends, it even goes so far that you can have different bean sizes and densities in one pack. And even if you buy the same coffee over and over again, the size and density of the coffee beans can change. Each new harvest can result in different beans. Coffee is simply a natural product.

When to adjust the grind – the truth

The truth is that even overnight things can change. Factors like temperature and humidity come into play. These differences can affect your beans (and even the grinder) and change them slightly. So you could basically adjust your grind every day. But that's just the extreme theory. In practice it's different. Even if you use a different coffee, it won't immediately taste gross or go through too fast/too slow if you DON'T adjust the grind on the coffee grinder. It might taste better if you do!

When to adjust the grind setting – if you change the preparation method

This is a paragraph that could only live with its title. As we have already learned, the degree of grinding depends on how long the coffee grounds are in contact with water . You can remember this: the longer the contact with water, the coarser you can grind. This means that each preparation method requires its own degree of grinding, as the contact time is different in each case. For espresso, for example, this is around 35 seconds and for the French press it is a good 4 minutes.


When to adjust the grind – the procedure

You have changed something and need/want to adjust the grinding level on the coffee grinder. How do you do this? You need coffee, your grinder, your preparation method and a precision scale . With filter coffee, you can ignore whether you brew with 18.1 or 18.9 grams - even if you can taste the difference. With espresso, it's a different story: 18.1 or 18.9 grams can make a huge difference. The procedure is simple:

  1. Weighing and grinding
  2. Brew and taste
  3. Readjust and repeat all steps

It is important that you only change the grind level. Temperature, filter paper, brewing time, etc. must all remain the same , otherwise a new result could be due to something other than the grind level.

When to adjust the grind level – overview

Here is a brief overview of the preparation methods and which grinding levels they require. Unfortunately, we cannot express this in settings, as every grinder is different and has a different number of levels.

  • Portafilter: fine
  • Stovetop pot: fine (possibly a little coarser than portafilter)
  • Fully automatic: fine
  • Filter coffee: medium to coarse
  • Aeropress: medium to coarse
  • Chemex: medium to coarse
  • French Press: coarse
  • Cold Brew: coarse

You should choose this as a starting point and then experiment a little to find the optimal grind level for you .

When to adjust the grind level – Conclusion

So here we are: the grind level is a constantly changing variable . It depends on the coffee, the roast, the preparation method, the wear and tear on the grinder, and many other factors. However, it is not necessary to check your grind level every morning when you get up. A change in the grind level does not always occur in such a way that you immediately notice the difference. However, it can't hurt to adjust the grind level when you buy new coffee. You should also test the grind level from time to time and adjust it a little . This way you can enjoy your coffee for a long time - no matter which preparation method you choose. #staywild and have fun!