Grounded: Know Your Coffee Grind

Christopher C.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Updated June 21, 2021

It’s undeniable that brewing with freshly ground coffee makes the best cup. And by “freshly ground,” we mean within minutes of brewing it. This will ensure you get the best cup possible, as coffee rapidly loses its flavor once it is ground, so it’s best to strike while the bean is hot. Well, figuratively speaking.

So let’s get right into dialing in the right grind level for your particular grinder.

Coarse Ground Coffee


Coarse-ground coffee is the go-to grind for French Press (use also for iced coffee), cold brew makers, Timolino Ingeni, and percolator, as well as coffee cupping and tasting. Shoutout to Roastmaster Dave, whose cupping lab is always buzzing with the latest, greatest coffee. Coarse grind is great for immersion brewing, where the grounds directly mingle with the water right up until the brew is done, at which point they are separated. Au revoir. Since the grind is coarser, reminiscent of sea salt, there are fewer coffee particles making contact with the water, so the brew time needs to go little longer to keep the flavor, which is why we recommend this for French Press and cold brew. Coarse grinds are also not typically brewed using paper filters, so you’ll get more of the natural oils in your cup. Brewing coarse grounds will give you all the flavor of the coffee as nature intended, but be aware that the oils and tasting notes are two separate things. Oil can affect your final cup, so keep your eyes peeled while brewing.

Medium Coarse Ground Coffee


Medium-coarse grounds are the lifeblood of Chemex. Medium-coarse is where we start getting into filtered territory and the realm of technique. This is a great grind for those looking to brew cleaner, brighter filtered cups with more control over the final product.

Medium-coarse grounds should resemble kosher salt or cracked pepper. Filtered coffee produces coffee you can physically see through. Depending on the filter you use, there should be little to no natural oil, leaving you with impeccably clean coffee, in which you should be able to taste more of the subtler origin notes that immersion brewing tends to mask. The big difference, though, is these few degrees finer opens your coffee up more, unlocking those floral, fruity notes. The filter keeps these flavors intact by keeping the oils from passing through.

Medium Ground Coffee


Drip-ground coffee is perfect for standard drip coffeemakers that use either a flat-bottom or cone filter, as well as for some pour over drippers. Many households and office break rooms and kitchens have one, including ours at FRC. They are the easiest way to make up to 12 cups of coffee with little to no work. Pre-ground drip is typically an option wherever coffee is sold. Drip grounds resemble the consistency of sand or granulated sugar. Drip’s middle-of-the-road grind level makes for coffee that is slightly bitter yet retains its primary notes, even the lighter, more fruity and floral flavors. Grinding your drip coffee fresh keeps your beans’ flavors from getting masked by that nasty stale flavor.

Medium Fine Grind Coffee


You’ll want a medium-fine grind for most pour over drippers, such as the Hario V60, Kalita Wave, Bonmac, Bee House, Origami, etc., as well as the AeroPress and AeroPress Go.

Medium-fine-ground coffee has a similar consistency to fine sand or onion powder. Because we’re getting into finer grinds, where more grounds are coming in contact with the water, brew times will be significantly shorter, which means we need to pay more attention to the brew in terms of pour technique and timing. And while this can seem a little more cumbersome, the coffee you can get out of a pour over is divine, not to mention award-winning and good enough to be the go-to method for coffeeshops all over the world.

Grinding medium-fine is the turning point where coffee really proves itself an artform. Here, you can dig deep into perfecting your cup by experimenting with different coffee:water ratios, timing, pour styles and frequency, and filters. That all being said, a tried-and-true, simple method can still make a delicious cup.

Fine Ground Coffee


We’ve finally reached the last setting on your grinder (unless you can go as fine as Turkish): fine grind, also called espresso grind. Besides drip grind, this is often the only other grind level you’ll find in grocery stores, sold both in canisters and vacuum-packed bricks.

Because this grind is so fine, it is not very versatile, used only for espresso, AeroPress and AeroPress Go (with a minute or two brew time), and moka pot. But if you’ve ever taken an espresso shot straight, you know what’s up. Fine-ground coffee tends to be incredibly rich and is oftentimes thick and savory, as weird as that sounds. It also brews for the shortest amount of time, and uses pressurized water to extract the flavor from a compacted coffee “puck.”

And there you have it. All the grinds you’ll need to brew all the kinds of coffee you want. Coffee is a journey, and no good journey keeps to the same path the whole way. If you have a grinder and the means, go a few grind steps coarser, and then a few finer. You won’t truly know until you try. Everyone at Fresh Roasted Coffee wants you to enjoy the best coffee on Earth, that’s why we do what we do. Once your order arrives on your doorstep, you may think our work is done, but it has only just begun.

We’re going to get to your perfect cup of coffee together, and the right grind is the perfect place to start.


  • T

    I too use a keurig style maker. I find that a coarse grind gives me barely any flavor. I use a fine grind for best flavor.

  • MF
    Michael Fitzhugh

    I am using a Keurig with an adapter and a basket so that I don’t have to use pre-packaged pods but can use my own coffee. The recommended grind would seem to be coarse because it’s what is recommended for a French press, and the Keurig would seem closest to that, but is that the case. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

  • FP
    fred perry

    The ’grinds described in the 1/29/20 blog post do not correspond to the grinds that I can buy when purchasing. What grind should I use for paper filter cone type Melitta?

Leave a comment