One of the most important aspects of pulling an espresso shot is choosing what kind of coffee grounds for espresso. Not only will it characterize the flavor profile of your espresso, but the ground also plays an important role in the brewing process itself. The size of your ground can easily affect and change the outcome of your coffee, so it’s important to know all the necessary details on how to choose and identify what kind of coffee grounds for espresso.
Type of Coffee Beans
The most commonly used coffee bean type is Arabica and Robusta. While there are dozens of coffee bean varieties, these two types are the most commonly processed and cultivated types of coffee meant for drinking.
Between the two types, Arabica beans are characterized by a sweeter and softer taste with a tang of sugar and fruity flavors. It also has a higher level of acidity that leads to a somewhat wine-like taste. On the other hand, Robusta coffee beans feature a notably harder, stronger, and harsher taste that is accompanied by a grain-like texture and peanutty aftertaste. Arabica is generally the most commonly used and preferred coffee bean. However, some prefer the Robusta beans for their particularly strong coffee taste.
Espresso Beans vs. Coffee Beans
The difference between coffee beans and espresso beans lies, particularly in how it is prepared. The term coffee bean serves as an umbrella term, while espresso beans are a type of coffee bean that is prepared and marketed ideal for brewing espresso. Generally, coffee beans are classified based on the roasting method applied to them, which can be a light roast, medium roast, medium-dark roast, and dark roast. Espresso beans commonly belong to the medium-dark to dark roast categories. The difference in the roasting process brings out different flavor profiles from the coffee bean, such as caffeine content and level of acidity.
How to Grind Your Coffee Beans
When it comes to brewing coffee, one of the fundamental rules is to use freshly ground coffee as much as possible. For any coffee enthusiast, it is like a mortal sin to use packed ground coffee simply because the natural oils and flavors from the coffee beans are long released and gone moments after it was ground. This means that commercially available ground coffee no longer features the best characteristics of the coffee bean.
Choosing between Burr and Blade Grinders
When it comes to grinding coffee and grinding devices, users generally have two blade options: burr or blade grinders. Grinders play a huge role in the quality of your grind as they can easily turn a premium quality coffee bean into something beautiful or something of no use at all.
Blade grinders feature rotating blades that are used to slice the beans. Much like a blender, blade grinders can get the job done and produce ground coffee ideal for Drip Makers and French presses. While blade grinders are generally cheaper than burr grinders, one problem common among blade grinders is that it has an inconsistent grinding capability and cannot produce a uniform ground all throughout.
Burr grinders are the better option between the two. In terms of performance, burr grinders offer precision and versatility with their grind and can produce consistent uniform, and quality ground coffee from your beans. Most burr grinders have the ability to grind your coffee bean from coarse to extremely fine ground.
Grinding Coffee Beans Without a Coffee Grinder
While owning a grinder is technically a must for any coffee enthusiast, some people don’t have the resources to buy one instantly. If this is the case, don’t fret as there are several ways for you to grind your coffee without one. Here are some alternative tools and devices that you can easily find in your home and use to grind your coffee beans:
- Mortar and pestle
- Rolling Pin
- Food Processor
Types of Ground Size and Ideal Brew Method
When brewing different ground sizes, there are notable differences in the result in terms of taste, aroma, and consistency. That is why there is a specific coffee ground size that is ideal or best suitable for a particular coffee drink in order to properly utilize its strengths and produce quality tasting coffee.
- Extra coarse ground coffee is the largest size possible for coffee beans and is ideal for making cold brew and cowboy coffee recipes
- A coarse grind about the size of sea salt and is best used on French presses, percolators, and coffee cupping.
- A medium-coarse grind is best suited for Chemex coffee makers, clever drippers, and café solo brewers.
- A medium grind can be likened to the size and consistency of sand, and perfect for cone-shaped pour-over brewers, flat bottom drip coffee machines, Aeropress, and siphon coffee makers.
- Medium-fine ground coffee is best used for pour-over coffee.
- A fine grind is also referred to as espresso grind and is typically the set grind size for commercially-available pre-ground coffee. It has a powdery texture and is best used on espresso, Aeropress, and stovetop espresso.
Paying attention to what kind of coffee grounds for espresso you will use is the first step in making a decent shot of espresso. While there is a prevalent misconception that only espresso beans can be used for espresso, the truth is you can use any coffee bean to brew an espresso. Espresso beans are just produced and marketed as-is for easier identification and convenience for new coffee lovers and beginners. Keep in mind that choosing the type of coffee ground is one thing, but you would also have to understand, learn, and perfect the complexities of the espresso brewing process in order to pull a quite decent shot of espresso. Find out more about the coffee grinder.