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Learn how to grind your coffee properly

April 21, 2022 2 min read

Learn how to grind your coffee properly

The way you grind your coffee is an often overlooked, but very important part of the brewing process which has a huge impact on the end cup of coffee. It can be one of the more tedious aspects of making coffee – especially if you're toiling away with a hand-grinder – but doing it properly makes for a much more delicious drink.

When we talk about grinding the coffee beans and how this is done in the best possible way, it is mainly about the degree of grinding, i.e. how coarse or fine the pieces of coffee become.

To ensure even and good grinding in exactly the degree of grinding you want, you will need to invest in a good grinder that gives you the opportunity to adjust the coarseness of your coffee from fine-grained espresso grind to coarse-grained coffee to steep.

Why is grind size important?

To get an understanding of how the degree of grinding relates to the end result, we must first and foremost understand the concept of extraction.

Extraction is the process by which all the goodness and flavours within the roasted coffee bean are pulled out, into the water. Under-extract your coffee and you'll suffer a weak, acidic cup. Over-extract your coffee and it will taste bitter and unpleasant. A perfectly extracted coffee achieves the correct pressure and contact time between the coffee grounds and the water to develop balanced, nuanced flavours without tipping over into bitterness. Grind size plays such an important part of this as it affects the surface area of the coffee that the water is in contact with.

Wilfa Coffee Grinder Coffee Grind Size

What grind size is best?

The degree of grinding is usally divided into five different levels. See the table below which also provides guidelines for the contact time.



Contact time

Espresso grind

Automatic dispensers, espresso machines

<1 minute

Fine grind

One-cup machines, fully automatic machines and Turkish coffee

1-4 minutes

Medium/fine grind

Manual filter coffee and aeropress

2-5 minutes

Medium filter grind

Coffee makers and some fully automatic machines

4-6 minutes


Immersion brewing such as French press.

4-7 minutes


In other words, the relationship between the degree of grinding and the contact time is decisive for the extraction and thus also the taste of you cup of coffee. If you find that your coffee tastes unpleasant, or even just not quite right, the first thing to check is your grinder. Adjust your settings and you will find it makes a very big difference!