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Why Grind Coffee?

Grinding is a vital part of brewing coffee. You could brew coffee with whole beans but your resulting brew will not be a delightful treat, instead you will, in the best case, get a slightly coffee flavored water.

The way that we get flavors into our brewed coffee is by extracting (or taking out) the flavors locked away in the coffee bean though the use of water. When water comes into contact with flavors, the flavors dissolve into the water and can be taken out of the coffee bean and put into our cup for us to drink and enjoy. Grinding the coffee before brewing is essential to allow more of the flavors in the coffee bean to contacted by water.

Water is big in comparison to the pores and channels that are in the roasted coffee bean. It takes time for water to travel through the pores and channels to get into the center of the coffee bean. By grinding the coffee, we are reducing the distance that the water needs to travel into the center of the bean. We are also exposing more surface area of the coffee so that water can easier contact and take out more flavors. But our understanding of the importance of grinding coffee should not end here.

It is not only necessary to just grind the coffee, but instead we need to grind it to the correct grind size. If we grind too big, we would still have a similar problem as we do when we try to brew with whole beans. (Even though we may have made a significant improvement.) On the other hand if we grind too small we can easily extract too much flavor.

What?! But isn't flavor good and having more would be better, you may ask. The fact is that not all flavors in coffee are good. Especially, flavors extracted later into our brew can be bitter and dry. So what we need is balance. We need to take enough good flavors out of the coffee without getting too much of the bad flavors. Our grind size plays a crucial role in helping us get closer to our desired level of extraction.

Better extraction = Better cup of coffee!

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