How to grind coffee beans at home
How to grind coffee beans at home
- Coffee history: how people used to grind beans
- How to grind coffee beans at home
- The benefits of grinding your own beans
- Should I choose a blade or a burr coffee grinder?
- How to choose the right grind
- The importance of precision grinding
- Why different coffee brews need different brew times
- Grinding for the best flavour
- Tamping for the perfect espresso
Coffee history: how people used to grind beans
Are you wondering how long coffee grinders have been around? Of course, coffee was originally ground by hand, in the primitive style of a mortar and pestle. It’s still crushed by hand in a bowl in certain places around the world — especially in traditional coffee ceremonies.
Grain mills were later developed and in the 15th Century, manual spice grinders were used to grind the beans. The first dedicated coffee grinder was invented in the late 17th Century, with a handy drawer to catch the ground beans underneath the blade.
Coffee grinders later became electric and have evolved to become more and more precise and efficient, matching the various brew methods that people know and love today.
How to grind coffee beans at home
Grinding your own coffee beans is so satisfying that once you've tried it, you'll be hooked. It's definitely one of life's little pleasures. This is the way to grind your beans with our KitchenAid coffee grinder at home:
Place the top hopper on to the machine with the ‘Lock icon’ facing front. Rotate the top hopper until it clicks into place. Add whole coffee beans and place the lid back on.
For grinding into the bottom hopper: open the rubber stopper and slide the bottom hopper into position.
For grinding into a portafilter: remove the grounds catcher tray and then remove the portafilter holder from its storage location. Insert the portafilter holder into portafilter holder guide. Replace the grounds catcher tray.
Selecting the grind size: rotate the grind size knob to select a grind size within the brew method range you are using. The selected grind size will be shown on the display. As the grind size number increases, the actual grind size decreases (1 is coarse and 70 is fine).
Selecting the dose: rotate the dose selection knob for the number of cups or shots. French press, Percolation, Drip coffee: Select between 1 - 12 cups. Espresso: Select between 1 - 2 shots.
Press Start/Stop to begin grinding. The grinder will stop automatically when the time reaches 0 on the display.
To change the coffee amount for a dose: rotate the time adjustment knob to customise the desired amount of coffee for a particular selected dose. Increase the grinding time to increase the amount of coffee, or decrease the grinding time to decrease the amount.
The benefits of grinding your own beans
The smell of freshly ground coffee is famously irresistible. But that’s not the only benefit to finding out how to grind coffee beans. Here’s why you should give it a go:
you can select the precise grind size and consistency for your type of brew
fresh coffee beans are packed with antioxidants that may improve health and reduce the risk of certain diseases
grinding just before brewing means the precious oils stay intact inside the bean for as long as possible, so the taste is at its fullest
you can experiment with tiny changes to the grind size to affect your coffee’s flavour
Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back…
Should I choose a blade or a burr coffee grinder?
Blade grinders use rotating blades to chop the beans. While they’re OK for basic use, you can’t control the grind size and the beans split unevenly. The blades can even heat up the beans, so they start to lose oils and flavour.
That’s why coffee experts recommend a burr grinder. They work differently, grinding the beans between two burrs. The grind is even and you can choose the exact size that best suits the coffee you’re brewing. It's far superior.
How to choose the right grind
Getting the right grind depends on the type of coffee you’d like to make. Here’s a rough guide to how it works:
Coarse grind – looks like coarsely cracked pepper, good for a cold brew coffee maker
Medium coarse grind – about the size of sea salt, perfect for French press or percolator coffee
Medium grind – the most common grind setting, ideal for filter coffee machines
Fine grind — the consistency of ground cinnamon, best for espresso machines.
The importance of precision grinding
Is precision really that important? Yes! When coffee is brewed, all the amazing flavours and essential compounds are released from the grounds as they come into contact with hot water. This is called extraction. The coffee grind size determines the speed at which that process can happen. And the speed that process happens affects the taste, aroma, texture and the end result… so it must be a perfect match for your chosen brew method.
Why different coffee brews need different brew times
It's all science. Coarse grinds let water through quickly, and have less surface area to extract flavours from. This means the water needs longer to bring the goodness out. A fine grind is packed tighter and has a larger surface area, so needs less time in contact with the water.
This is why brew methods with a short brew time, like espresso, need a fine grind – and longer brews, such as French press, need a coarser one. Experiment to find your favourite.
Discover the different types of coffee
Grinding for the best flavour
Does your coffee taste bitter or empty? If your grind size is too fine for the brewing method, you get an over-extracted brew that tastes bitter. If the grind size is too big, then the coffee will taste weak. Coffee break is too important to let this happen!
With 70 grind sizes to choose from, our burr coffee grinder gives you the precision you need. And it doesn’t just look great alongside our espresso machine – they partner up, so you can grind directly into the portafilter, for ultimate bean-to-cup freshness.
Look at the Espresso machine – Artisan
Tamping for the perfect espresso
We’ve talked about how to grind coffee beans for espresso, but the way that the grounds are pressed (tamped) into the espresso machine’s portafilter is also key. If the tamp is uneven, you get a mixture of over- and under-extracted coffee.
Don't worry. The portafilter for our Artisan Espresso machine has been designed with a unique flat base. This makes it easier to achieve a beautifully level and even tamp every time – so your espresso is rich and delicious.
Patience is the time between drinking a cup of coffee and the motivation to begin your day.
— Food lover based in UK
Hello, I'm a Brighton-based writer and mum of 2. An avid baker – albeit with more enthusiasm than skill – I love to share food ideas, trends and tips I pick up along the way.