A Beginner’s Guide to Ground Coffee

by Editorial Team | February 24th, 2021 | Cooking Basics

Are you new to the world of coffee? There are several terminologies that can be daunting for beginners. One of them is “ground coffee.” You may have seen enough brewed drinks and less of the grounds. Or you may have seen it and probably didn’t know what it was.

So, if you love to brew your own cup at home, this guide will show you how to ground coffee. We will discuss the grind sizes and how long they can last. The information will help you to choose the ideal ground.

What’s Ground Coffee?

It is simply the content in a brewed coffee. This implies that it’s the commonest form of caffeine beverage you will find in shops (excluding the beans). Coffee is obtained from a tree, Coffea. Farmers pick and process its cherries so they can collect the small seeds they contain.

These seeds are green beans. They are roasted before consumption and at that stage, they are referred to as whole beans. However, before brewing, the whole beans must be broken down into smaller bits. This is to extract the flavor as much as possible.

Different tools can be used in the extraction process. They include food processors, pestles and mortars, blenders, and grinders. After grinding the coffee beans in any of the devices, they become grounds.

Grind Sizes for Coffee

The longer the beans are processed, the finer their particles will become. As a result, there are different grind sizes. They are:

  1. Coarse – chunky particles that are almost like kosher salt grain size.
  2. Medium – gritty particles, almost like coarse sand size.
  3. Fine – smooth particles like the size of sugar or table salt granules.
  4. Extra fine – these are extremely fine particles, smaller than sugar or table salt granules.
  5. Turkish – fine powdery particles that resemble flour.

When brewing grounds, you must consider the brewing technique you plan to use. This is because some equipment and brewing techniques require finer or coarser particles. You may want to check out https://www.homegrounds.co/the-complete-guide-to-coffee-brewing-methods/ to see the different brewing techniques.

Below is a summary of the techniques and compatible equipment for brewing.

  1. French-press and plunger pot requires coarse size.
  2. A percolator requires coarse size.
  3. Vacuum coffee pot requires coarse size.
  4. A drip coffee maker with a flat borrowed filter required medium size.
  5. A drip coffee maker with a cone borrowed filter requires a fine size.
  6. An espresso mocha pot requires a fine size.
  7. An espresso machine requires an extra fine size.
  8. Ibrik requires a Turkish ground (extremely fine size).

In situations where there is no grinder, you could go for pre-packaged products. This means you won’t need to grind anything, and the product is already ground to your specific coarseness.

How Long Can Ground Coffee Last?

When coffee is roasted, it starts oxidizing really fast. Oxidation takes place when molecules of oxygen meet the grounds, thereby, changing their structure. The oils, acids, and aromatics in the ground will be affected. This will, in turn, change the smell and taste of the drink.

Grounds offer a more exposed surface area for oxidation. And finer sizes usually experience a faster oxidation rate. Coarse or medium grind sizes stay fresh for 1 or 2 days. But you can keep them away from oxygen in tightly sealed containers to preserve them for 7 to 10 days.

Furthermore, a fine grind size can stay fresh for some hours. As a result, most baristas opine that if you want to use it for expresso, you must brew it within 2 minutes because of its fast rate of oxidation. You may want to visit this website to get more information on storing grounds.

It will interest you to know that whole beans last for three to four weeks when stored in vacuum-sealed containers or one week in paper bags. This explains why most coffee drinkers prefer to buy the beans and grind when they want to brew.


We discussed the types of grind sizes as well as the equipment that is compatible with each type. We also discussed how you can store the grounds – in a paper bag or vacuum-sealed container. However, you can opt for the whole beans so you can grind whenever you need a caffeinated beverage.

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