The cat’s out of the bag and the coffee beans have been officially spilled – my husband and I recently launched our new business, Texas Coffee Roasters, to the local public.
As y’all can imagine, it’s been pretty hard for me to keep it quiet… I’ve let hints of our coffee-fascination bubble up here and there, while it’s been percolating in our minds. Okay, enough of the corny coffee jokes.
Almost one year to the day of acquiring our fantastic 1960s Otto Swadlo coffee roaster, made in Vienna and found in Marathon, Texas, we have made our hobby into a business. We started out at the Alpine Farmers Market a couple months ago. With our Farmers Market success, we decided to have pop-up sales twice a week in Fort Davis at our downtown brick and mortar location, The Sleeping Lion.
If you buy a bag of freshly roasted whole bean coffee from us, one question I will always ask is if I can grind your coffee for you. More than half of the time, the answer is yes. My second question will be along the lines of, “How do you prepare your coffee,” or “What kind of coffeemaker do you use?”
Folks sometimes look at me funny as if I’m being nosy, but it’s because I need to know so that I can grind your coffee to the appropriate size for how you prepare it. You won’t end up with an optimal cup of coffee if you have course ground coffee in your Mr. Coffee drip machine, or finely ground coffee in your French press. Too fine a grind is going to clog up your Bunn home coffee maker. Not all coffee grounds are created equal.
In our home, we actually have two Cuisinart burr grinders on the kitchen counter. I know that might seem silly to some, but a this very moment, one has a delicious decaf from Chiapas, Mexico and the other has a wonderfully robust bean from Peru.
It makes it easy when I want to change the grind setting for a single cup of pour over decaf for him and a small French press cappuccino with full-caffeine for me – our latest afternoon habit.
Speaking of home grinders, a burr grinder should be on your next kitchen appliance list if your don’t already have one. Burr grinders crush your beans consistently and are adjustable for any type of grind you want, while blade grinders cut your beans and often produce bits of powder and bean together. We’ve had our same burr grinders in the kitchen for over ten years, so I feel they are very much worth every penny you’ll spend on them.
You might be wondering, “Why does it matter? When I buy ground coffee at the store, it’s a bag of ground…” Nowadays, people are more adventurous with their coffee preparation and many folks have ventured out of drip coffee making. Different processes at home include French press, percolator (stovetop and electric), pour over for one cup at a time, Aeropress, Espresso makers and then some.
The key to making the best tasting cup or pot of coffee possible is understanding extraction in relation to your grind size. When you combine your coffee grounds and your brew water, the different flavor compounds of coffee are extracted.
If your grounds are too coarse, you’ll have under extraction. This means you haven’t extracted enough flavor out of your grounds. Under extracted coffee usually tastes sour, acidic and salty.
If the grounds are too fine, then you’ll have over-extraction, meaning you’ve extracted too much flavor from your grounds and it becomes an unpleasant, overpowering cup of brown stuff. Over extracted coffee will taste bitter, and hollow (without any notable coffee bean flavors).
Here’s a handy reference chart that will help you determine the best grind size for whatever coffee you’re going to make. Enjoy your best cup!
Grind Size Brewing Method
Extra Coarse Cold Brew Coffee, Cowboy Coffee
Coarse French Press, Percolater, Coffee Cupping
Medium Coarse Chemex coffee maker, Clever Dripper, Cafe Solo Brewer
Medium Cone-shaped Pour over Brewers, Flat Bottom Drip Coffee Machines,
Siphon Coffee, Aeropress (with 3+ minute brew time),
Keurig refillable cups, Bunn home coffee maker
Medium-Fine Cone-shaped Pour-over Brewers, Aeropress (with 2-3 minute brew
Fine Espresso, Moka Pot (Stovetop Espresso Maker), Aeropress (with 1
minute brew time)
Extra fine Turkish coffee