How to Grind Coffee

So, how do you grind coffee? Perhaps you’re tired of standing in line at Starbucks, you want to try something new, or you’re simply curious. Whatever the reason it may be – here’s some vital steps and information on how to grind coffee.

Let’s start with some basic coffee bean information.

An unroasted green coffee bean is the seed of the coffee plant (genus coffea). Although a coffee bean is really a seed, they’re often referred to as a bean because of the resemblance. Then, the coffee beans are roasted in mass and at high temperatures – depending on the different, specific qualities for the beans. Coffee roasters have different roast profiles, just like you’ll see there are different grinds for coffee.

The most common types of roast profiles are Cinnamon Roast, French Roast, and Italian Roast. To begin, coffee roasters typically start with the light-colored and dry bean –or also known as dark roast, which gives a smoother taste. Lighter roasts are not used as much due to the resulting bitter taste and strong flavor from aromatic oils and acids. And lighter roasts, as you would imagine, have more caffeine. To give coffee a more sugary flavor and less fiber content, dark roast is the way to go.

There’s a long journey from the ‘seed to cup’, as you can see. To grind the perfect cup of coffee, you’ll first need to pick the right type of grind.

Pick Your Grind

When grinding coffee, you’ll either start off with a bag of ‘pre-grounded’ coffee beans or you’ll have to grind your own. If you begin without the pre-grounded beans, take these additional steps:

  1. Put beans in a Ziploc bag, freezer bag, or parchment paper
  2. Smash the beans with your fist or a hammer (which could be a lot more effective) until they are fine or coarse particles
  3. Roll your beans – use a rolling pin or additional smashing to crush beans into the desired grind

Now, once you’re at this step – you’ll want to know what type of grind to use. There are 7 types of grinds you’ll need to know. A nickel in each picture is used to visually describe the level of grinds.

How to Grind Coffee: Extra CourseExtra Coarse

How it looks

Crushing the beans into an extra coarse grind will result in rough, chunky particles. This is as large as you can go with coffee grinders.

Use for Cold Brewing


How to Grind Coffee: Medium CourseMedium-Coarse

How it looks

A medium-coarse grind, of course, will also contain chunky particles – but they’re smaller and have a bit more delicate texture. They also look like sea salt.

Use for French Press Pot or Cupping


How it looks

A medium-coarse grind resembles more of coarse sand.

Use for Café Solo Brewers



How it looks

A medium grind is a great starting point if you’re not sure where you are in grinding your coffee. Its consistency matches regular sand.

Use for Drip Brewing Methods


How it looks/feels

This type of grind feels exactly like sugar or salt. It’s finer than sand but not as much as an espresso grind.

Use for Pour-over Cones, Vacuum Pots, and Siphon Brewing



How it looks/feels

Fine grind feels resembles more of grits or table salt.

Use for Espresso


Extra Fine

How it looks/feels

Extra-fine grind is very powdery like flour and also known as the Turkish Grind. In order to have a type of grind like this, you’ll definitely need a specialized grinder. Common specialized grinders include the Turkish Coffee Mill and the Capresso Infinity Burr Grinder.

Use for Turkish Coffee


Grinder Types

After establishing the type of grind you’re using, pick the right grinder. There are three types of grinders – blade, burr and manual.


Blade Grinder

The blade grinder is the most common type and also the cheapest and easiest to use. It includes a motor and blade, and you simply throw in the beans, close the grinder, and power the machine.

When to use this: Blade grinders are mostly great for any type of coffee except Espresso and Turkish.


Burr Grinder

The burrs, separated discs, rotate against each other at a distance that will determine the grind size. The beans are dumped in the machine, while the burrs rotate. The best burr grinder, by far, is the conical grinder – which is a lot more expensive than other grinders. Typically, if you’re desiring a specific grind for your coffee beans – you should go with the burr grinder over the blade grinder. Why? Because the beans are ground in a uniform size and you’ll be able to control it more than a blade.


Manual Grinder

Manual grinders have been around for hundreds of years, unsurprisingly – with the modernization and a bit of tweaking. If you don’t want to spend the money, a modern manual grinder is a great alternative. You’ll be able to stop until you have the exact grind you want. However, it’s a very tedious process. You’ll be doing a forearm morning workout when you wake up.  To use a manual grinder, turn the handle clock-wise continuously.

A Helpful Tip After Grinding:

So after you’ve grounded your coffee, don’t let it just sit there. Drink away! To get the best of your freshly made coffee, drink up because coffee breaks down quickly after left on a heat source.

So, you’ve got your grounded beans. You’ve got your coffee grinder. Now, you know how to grind coffee! Use this information to help you find the right coffee grinder and the right type of grind for your coffee. You have a lot of options set in front of you – so don’t hesitate to try it out. And if it doesn’t work…well, there’s always Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.