Coarse Ground Coffee

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If you want to brew the best-tasting coffee, one of the first steps is to ensure you have the correct grind size for your given brewing method. Today we are going to provide you with the lowdown on coarse ground coffee. What is it? What brewing methods require coarse ground coffee? How do you get it? 

Why Does Grind Size Matter?

If your morning coffee ritual involves opening that bag of pre-ground coffee and dumping a couple of scoops into your coffee maker, you may be wondering why grind size even matters. 

Grind size is essential and will have a significant impact on the taste of your final brew. No matter what brew method you are using, the process is the same. You extract flavor from grinding beans and brewing them. If you use a finer grind, there is more surface area, and the coffee will be extracted quickly. And vice versa, if you are using a coarse grind, there is less surface area, and the coffee will have a longer extraction time. 

If you have the wrong size of ground coffee, you will find it just tastes terrible. If your coffee is too coarse for your brewing method, the final cup will taste under-extracted and sour. On the other hand, if your grind is too fine, the final cup will be over-extracted and taste bitter. Brewing the perfect cup is a fine line that requires the perfect balance between grind size, brew time, and temperature. 

Other Factors That Affect Flavor

Grind size, although important, is but one of the factors that influence the final flavor.

  • Variety of Beans: coffee beans come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The taste of a bean is governed by many factors: origin, type, how it was grown, and processing methods.
  • Roast Level: lighter roasted coffees have more of the origin flavors present with a light, fruity, acidic flavor profile. Medium roasted coffees are well balanced with sweetness. Dark roasted coffees have a more generic taste with dark, bitter, smoky flavors. 
  • Brew Time: the longer the brew time, the more you extract and vice versa
  • Water Temperature: the hotter the water temperature, the more you extract.

What Is Coarse Ground Coffee?

If you have ever seen a grind size chart, you will know that coarse ground coffee lies at the far end of the spectrum. This is the coarsest size used for brewing methods with a long contact time between the beans and water. Coarse ground coffee should look chunky and resemble sea salt.

How To Grind Coffee Beans

What Brewing Methods Require Coarse Ground Coffee?

As mentioned above, coarse ground coffee is used for brewing methods with a long extraction time.

  • French Press: French press is typically brewed by immersing coarsely ground coffee in hot water for three to four minutes before pressing the plunger down slowly to remove all the ground coffee.
  • Cold Brew: Cold brew is brewed by steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold water for 12+ hours. A filter then removes the grinds at the end of brewing resulting in a concentrated and smooth brew. 
  • Percolator: A percolator is a retro method of brewing where hot water is cycled through coarsely ground coffee in a filter basket.
  • Cowboy Coffee: Cowboy coffee involves soaking coarsely ground coffee in a pot of hot water for around 4 minutes before carefully pouring it out into a cup, trying not to get any grounds. It is a simple way of making French press coffee without the press.
  • Cupping: Cupping is the technique used to taste different beans. You put coarsely ground coffee into a cup and steep in hot water for around 3-5 minutes before mixing and removing the foamy head. You then allow it to cool before tasting.

Coarse ground coffee brewing methods

How Do You Get Coarse Ground Coffee?

There are two ways to get coarse-ground coffee; buy pre-ground or grind your own. Some coffee companies offer pre-ground coarse ground coffee. This is a convenient way of getting it, and the grind consistency is excellent, given that the beans are typically ground on a commercial grinder. However, you are sacrificing the freshness and flavor if you decide to purchase coarse ground coffee this way. See our guide to the best ground coffee for some options.

The other way of obtaining it is by grinding it yourself. This will result in the best-tasting coffee as you can buy fresh beans and grind them on demand. It also offers you better precision, so you can tweak your grind size to find the perfect fit. However, it does require you to invest in a burr grinder, which can be expensive. It is essential that you opt for a burr grinder rather than a blade grinder as the grind size needs to be uniform to get a well-extracted coffee. 

What Is the Best Grinder For Coarse Ground Coffee?

If you have decided to take the plunge and invest in a coffee grinder, we would highly recommend investing in the Baratza Encore grinder. This is the go-to grinder for manual brewing methods and is well-loved in the coffee world. It is affordable, durable, and produces a very uniform grind, even at coarse settings.  

To Sum It Up

In summary, coarse ground coffee is the coarsest grind size of coffee and resembles sea salt. Coarse ground coffee is typically used for brewing methods with extended contact time between the beans and water. So French press, cold brew, percolator, cowboy coffee, and cupping are all brewed with coarse ground coffee. Coarse ground coffee can either be brought pre-ground or ground with a burr grinder. 

Happy Brewing!

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