The Reason You’re Struggling to Make Delicious Coffee at Home

When you’re brewing coffee at home, it can be tough to achieve that barista-level quality that costs you $5 for every cup. There are a number of factors that impact your coffee’s flavor, but did you know that the coarseness of your coffee grinds is one of them?

It’s true. In fact, depending on how you brew your coffee, the grind size of your coffee beans can really make or break your morning cup o’ joe.

Coffee shops usually have machines that grind coffee to the perfect size for whatever brewing method they use. When you’re making coffee at home, however, you’re pretty much on your own.

The general rule of thumb is, the more time your coffee spends percolating, the coarser the grind. On the flip side, the less time your coffee grinds spend in the water, the finer the grinds need to be.

Using the incorrect grind size for your brewing method can really mess up the taste. Coffee ground too fine, or over-extracted, can be bitter, hollow-tasting and flavorless. Coffee that’s under-extracted, or ground too coarse, can be sour, salty and extremely acidic. Neither of those sound like a great way to wake up.

Here’s a quick guide you can follow to make sure your coffee is always perfect.

Extremely Coarse

Brews well for:

Cold brew coffee.

The lengthy process for cold brew means that the grinds are getting enough exposure to the water to really bring out all the flavors.

Extremely coarse coffee grinds are usually about as thick as you can get on most industrial grinders.

The grinds will be about the size of peppercorns.



Brews well for:

French Presses.

The French press, while much quicker than cold brewing coffee, takes much longer than a standard drip brewer, and therefore gives coarse grinds the perfect extraction.

For a size reference, try to shoot for the size of sea salt.



Brews Well for:

Traditional drip brewers.

This is the one most people are going to be using, as it’s the easiest brewing method for the average coffee lover.

The grinds should be around the same size as quinoa.


Brews well for:

Cone-shaped pour-over brewers.

Pour overs are a favorite method for those in a rush. However, if you’re making pour-over coffee at home, then make sure your grinds aren’t too thick, or the water won’t have time to soak up all the rich flavors of the coffee.

Standard pepper flakes are a good size reference for semi-fine grinds.



Brews well for:


If you’re lucky enough to have an espresso machine, then you should definitely be making sure that your coffee grinds are fine enough, or you’ll get some pretty sour results.

While you’re not trying to make your grinds into the consistency of flour, they should be about as fine as table salt.


There you have it. It’s pretty simple to make a perfect cup of coffee at home once you know the basic rules of coffee grinds. If you’ve been experiencing sour or bitter coffee, then try making the grinds coarser or finer based on the information above, and you’ll be enjoying cup after amazing cup in no time flat.

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