What Grind of Coffee for French Press: Understanding Coffee Grinds and More

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A French press is a must-try for any avid fan of coffee who wants to experience varying levels of coffee goodness.  If you have just stepped into the coffee arena, then you may have asked the number one question every newbie asked.

“What grind of coffee for French press should I use?” You may have heard that using different grinds of coffee leads to varying tastes and experiences.

This statement is true. You have to know what grind to go for so you can make the best French press coffee for your mornings

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    Why French Press?

    You may be wondering why a lot of people are getting into the French press coffee wagon. For starters, this is because this method of brewing coffee is inexpensive and simple. It requires no electricity and can give you a bold, pleasant-tasting coffee with less hassle.

    Several factors can impact the quality of coffee you make from a French press. We know that the kind of coffee grind matters, but we should also understand the importance of extraction.

    What Is Coffee Extraction and Why Does It Matter?

    The reason there are suitable grind sizes for different coffee makers is their impact on coffee extraction. The key to getting the perfect coffee flavor is extracting just the right amount. Under extraction and over-extraction will leave you unhappy with the outcome.

    Depending on the kind of coffee brewer you use, you have to avoid both circumstances. If your grounds are too coarse, it may cause under extraction. This means the flavor extracted from your coffee grounds is not enough.

    On the other hand, if your grounds are too fine, you may end up having too much flavor. Most of the time, this leaves the coffee unpleasant and overpowering.

    We’ll describe the taste you get to give you an idea of how poor extractions taste. An under-extracted coffee will have a salty, sour, and acidic taste. Meanwhile, over-extracted coffee will taste hollow and bitter.

    Since you are to use a French press, we will help you understand how it extracts coffee grounds. It will provide you with a better visual of the kind of grind needed to make sure they are correctly extracted.

    Grinding Dilemma: Burr or Blade Grinder?

    As we have mentioned, the grind has a lot to do with the flavor and taste of your coffee. This all goes back to how it is ground. 

    A lot of people have questions on whether a blade or a burr grinder gives the same grind quality. The truth is, grinding coffee using a blade grinder is not recommended.

    Since consistency is crucial in extraction, you will need a grinder that gives you the same-sized coffee grounds. Having inconsistent sizes will leave some over-extracted and under-extracted.

    Blade grinders are not going to give you consistent-sized coffee grounds. Apart from that, the process of spinning it rapidly can generate friction and heat. These two will already start the cooking process and will leave your coffee grounds overcooked.

    As you guessed it right, the better grinder to use is a burr grinder because it utilizes uniform rotation and pressure to grind the coffee. That means it meets the consistency requirement without a process involving rapid speeds. This eliminates the friction and heat from the equation, leaving you with perfectly ground coffee.

    Are All Beans the Same?

    After tackling the grinding process, we can now go to the beans. Some people ask if it’s okay to use different kinds of beans for their French press.

    The answer is yes, and you can brew any type of coffee in your French press. The only guideline is always to use freshly roasted, high-quality beans.

    Types of Coffee Grinds

    Before you can understand what a coarse grind is, learning about all the other types and their uses is helpful. It can also help you understand their differences and have an idea of how they look.

    Knowing your coffee grounds on a deeper level will also help you understand their significance. If you opt to use a French press, you can decipher why a particular setting works and why the others don’t.

    Here are some of the different coffee grind settings you will see as you go and learn more about coffee.

    Extra Coarse Grind

    This setting usually produces the largest grind when using conical burr grinders. They somehow resemble peppercorns and are mostly used for cowboy and cold brew coffee brewing.

    Coarse Grind

    This setting is ideal for a French press. In terms of appearance, the grounds will look like sea salt. Coffee enthusiasts use this type for percolators, coffee cupping, and French presses.

    what grind of coffee for french press

    Medium-Coarse Grind

    This falls between the coarse and medium settings. If we were to describe this, it looks like rough or coarse sand. It’s usually used for café solo brewer, Chemex, and Clever Dripper.

    Medium Grind

    This setting makes a good testing point for coffee grounds and resembles the regular sand’s consistency. You can use this for cone-shaped pour-over coffee makers, Siphon brewers, flat-bottomed drip coffee makers, and Aeropress.

    Medium-Fine Grind

    Any pour-over coffee fanatic would know what this is. It is a medium-fine coffee grind size that looks finer than sand but is still far from an espresso grind. Use this for Aeropress and cone-shaped pour-over brewers.

    Fine Grind

    If you have seen espresso brews, then you have seen a fine grind setting.  It is among the most popular types of coffee grind in the market, including pre-ground coffee.  Descriptively, we can say that it is a bit finer than sea salt. This is usually perfect for stovetop espresso, espresso brewing, and Aeropress.

    Extra Fine

    This type of setting will require a Turkish coffee grinder. A grinder that produces an extra-fine, consistent grind. The grind resembles powder or flour texture.

    As the name implies, you use this to make “Ibrik” or Turkish coffee.

    What Grind of Coffee for French Press?

    By now, you should know the answer to “What grind of coffee for French press to use?”, which is coarse because of two reasons.

    One is that finer grounds have the tendency to get stuck in the machine’s mesh or may directly fall into your coffee. This not only makes your coffee taste unpleasant, but it also makes the process of pressing the plunger harder.

    The second reason is that when you brew your coffee longer, there is a tendency to extract more flavor into it. Since brewing coffee using a French press takes time, the flavor of the finer grounds will put more into your coffee, an excellent example of over-extraction. Thus, it will leave your coffee tasting bitter and unpleasant on your tongue.

    If we compare both outcomes, the coarse grounds will definitely be the most ideal. Since French press brewing uses an immersion method, they will be extracting the beans longer than other brewing techniques.

    When brewing coarse ground coffee in a French press, you can expect to have a slow extraction. That means they will extract only the right amount of flavor from your coffee.  This lessens the likelihood of over extracting them and drinking muddy and bitter coffee.

    Now that you know which setting to use, you can always learn how to grind coffee or where to get them. We have discussed a common dilemma on which grinder to use, so make sure to consider it before trying it on your own.

    The Takeaway

    With the numerous methods of brewing coffee, anyone can just settle with any outcome they get. However, a real coffee enthusiast would understand the significance of factors affecting their coffee’s taste and quality.

    Utilizing a French press to brew coffee is common. That said, getting the most flavorful and pleasant-tasting coffee from it requires knowledge and skill. 

    Starting to learn about the ideal grind setting for your beans can get you a step closer to the perfect coffee. Make sure to understand and digest the information we shared above to avoid mishaps on your coffee brewing venture.

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