Blog Post from Lift Your Game Series by Tom Denton May 29, 2024


Improving your coffee game for most people is as easy as using filtered water, a decent brew method, and grinding your coffee fresh—not necessarily in that order. In this post, we just look at grinders.

So why do both grinding fresh beans and using a decent grinder matter? The former is easy—coffee will lose its pop as oxygen interacts with the coffee beans. If you buy your coffee pre-ground, there is more surface area for oxygen to interact with, hence the overall coffee is flattened. I should point out it's not ruined; it's just that if you're looking for a magical experience, it's going to be hard to get that from coffee that has been sitting ground for a few weeks. The latter, using a decent grinder, is the focus of this blog.

Using the French press method for ease of conceptualization: a good French press is the combination of ground coffee soaked in just-off-boiling water for 3 minutes. Press and pour. Not complex. Ok, imagine then instead of soaking for 3 minutes, you soak only for 30 seconds. The coffee will taste weak and sour. On the other end of that spectrum, the coffee will taste strong and bitter if it's been soaking for too long. The reason for the difference in flavors is quite simple. The hot water hits the coffee and extracts the coffee flavors from the beans. Again, quite straightforward. However, how LONG the water is interacting with the coffee will cause a different outcome—too short (under-extracted) = sour, too long (over-extracted) = bitter. The variables we have are grind size or time soaking.

We addressed the time variable above, now let's address grind size. If you grind super fine, you don't need to soak for as long to achieve the holy grail of French press. Conversely, if you grind super coarse, you will need to soak for longer to achieve French press utopia.

Ok, now imagine you set your timer for 3 minutes and do your French press. If you have used a poor-quality grinder to grind your beans, you will have a variety of different particle sizes in the ground coffee. This means when you soak for 3 minutes, some particles will have soaked too long and others too short. So the resulting cup will be a mixture of perfect grounds soaked for a perfect period combined with bitter and sour tones from under- and over-extracted coffee.

Summary: If you want your French press, Moka Pot, Drip, Pour-over, Aeropress, espresso, cold brew, or however you like your coffee, to be as good as it can be, you need to get a consistent grind. Below are four excellent options to illustrate you don't need to work a third job to arrive at coffee Shangri-La.

So the conclusion is: buy a decent grinder. Its worth it.

  1. Krups GX5000: $50
  2. Baratza Encore: $169
  3. Breville Smart Grinder Pro: $200
  4. The Mahlkonig X54. $650
June 17, 2024 — Tom Denton
Tags: Equipment