For many people, coffee is the driving force that helps them kick off a new day. While there is a variety of styles and methods to try, nothing can beat cold brew coffee in the summer days. If you have tried this type before, the smooth texture and sweet taste may leave a lasting effect on your mind.
Cold brewing your own coffee at home is simple. However, the key is to prepare the right ingredients that can ensure the flavour and aroma. Read on to learn how to grind coffee beans for cold brew and upgrade your drinking experience.
How does the grind affect cold brew coffee?
While it is necessary to choose the most suitable type coffee beans, you also need to have them ground into the right size before cold brewing. Otherwise, they cannot be fully extracted, leaving a weaker taste and flavour. The goal is to ensure a perfect extraction of flavour from the beans.
If the grounds are too coarse, it can lead to under extraction. This means that flavours are not fully extracted out of your coffee, resulting in salty, acidic, or sour tastes. If the grounds are too fine, it can lead to over-extraction. This is when too much flavour is extracted and makes the coffee becomes unpleasant and overpowering.
What is the best grind size for cold brew coffee grounds?
Ideally, you want to grind the beans very coarsely for cold brew coffee. They should have about the same size as ground peppercorns. You should feel very gritty like beach sand while rubbing the grounds between the fingers.
This is the optimal size for good reason. Coarse grounds can start dripping quickly and reduce bitterness. As a result, the coffee can extract fully the sweet flavours that most of us enjoy. A fine grind would be too dense, making it more difficult for water to flow. This leads to water being trapped and causes over-extraction.
Should you purchase pre-ground or grind your own beans?
Many coffee shops are now offering a variety of pre-ground coffee beans. But should you purchase them or grind your own ones at home. Each option has its own pros and cons. Let’s take a look before you make a decision.
The most notable advantage of using pre-ground coffee is to save time. It is a good option for those who do not have time to purchase and mess with a grinder. You can purchase a large batch and have it ready whenever you want. However, convenience means less freshness. Compared to freshly ground beans, pre-ground options might lose most of the aroma due to the loss of delicate oils via oxidization. That is not to say that you might sometime not find the right grind size for cold brew coffee.
Grinding at home can allow for greater flexibility. However, it is important to have a suitable grinder that can produce even and consistent grounds. If you are a coffee enthusiast, this option can give you full control on the grind size. Thus, it much simpler to achieve the expected flavour and taste. The expense can be a major drawback because whole beans tend to be more expensive than pre-ground ones.
Burr versus blade grinders
To achieve the desired grind level, it is also important to choose the most suitable grinder. There are two main types to choose from: burr grinder and blade grinder. They are designed for different grind sizes.
For cold brew coffee, avoid using a blade model because the result can be even worse than purchasing pre-ground coffee. In addition to a lack of consistency, this device can heat up your coffee when it spins extremely fast and causes friction. As a result, your coffee would be overcooked and does not achieve the expected freshness.
Burr grinders utilize uniform rotation and pressure to crush coffee beans. This allows for better consistency. Also, the lower speeds mean there will be no added heat, which creates a more consistent ground.
Watch this short clip to learn more about the differences between burr grinders and blade grinders:
How to grind coffee beans with a grinder
Follow these 5 simple steps to grind your coffee beans coarsely with a grinder:
It is better to plan before grinding coffee beans for cold brew. Many people often prepare for the whole week to save time. However, the taste can be better when you use freshly ground beans. If you want a true coffee experience every day, then try to turn on the grinder more often.
Measure around 28 grams or 2 tablespoons of coffee for each cup. This can vary slightly according to personal taste, but it is the general rule. If you want a strong taste, add more beans; and if you are not a fan of bitterness, reduce this amount.
Follow the instructions to put the coffee beans into the grinder. Most models come with a canister with a lid on the top.
Turn on the grinder based on the instructions. If you use a blade model, press the button or push down the top to pulse the coffee beans. For a burr grinder, you only need to set the proper grinding level.
Shape the grinder up between each pulse so that coffee beans can be ground properly. You might need to try a few times to find out the exact grind size.
Alternative ways to grind coffee beans for cold brew
In case your grinder breaks down or do not have one, there are still some other options to grind coffee beans.
You can grind coffee beans in a blender with low settings. It is great for creating a coarse ground. However, it can be harder to get a find and consistent result. Make sure to pulse the coffee in short bursts to avoid the heat effects.
- Food processor
Another mechanical option to grind coffee beans is a food processor. It can create a coarse but uneven ground. Still, the cold brew coffee can be still drinkable. Keep in mind to wash the device after completing to prevent the smell from lingering.
- Pestle and mortar
Put coffee beans into a mortar. Use your hand to cover the top to prevent the grounds from escaping. The other hand holds the pestle to smash the coffee. This method can create a super fine or coarse grind.
- Rolling pin
Put the beans into a thick plastic bag. Seal and place the bag on a flat surface. Spread the inside beans evenly in a single layer. Roll the pin back and forth with gentle force to crack the coffee.
- Hand mincer
This is a manual grinder that is often used to make pasta, mince meat, or grind other ingredients, including coffee. All you need to do is to turn its crank arm in a clockwise direction with your hands. Do it several times until you get the desired grind size.
The bottom line
Cold brew coffee is one of the most popular trends in the coffee world over the past few years. If you want to make a perfect cup full of flavours and tastes, it is important to grind the beans coarsely. Patience and dedication are what you need to have it done.