in Africa
in Wales
in History
the Beans
the Grind

Grinding the Beans ...

Get the Grind right and you're on your way to a great cup of coffee...

The size of the Grind depends on how long the hot water is in contact with the Grind.
This chart should help, but it is not set in stone...treat it as a guide to get you started then fine tune the Grind to you own liking.

 Coarse  A tad coarser than ground black pepper

 Cafetieres, Vacuum Coffee Pots and Percolators
 Medium  A tad finer than ground black pepper

 Filter and Flat Plate type Drip Brewers
 Fine  The texture of table salt  Espresso Machines and Stove Top Espresso Pots
and also Conical Drip Feeder type Coffee Brewers
 Extra Fine  Like baking flour

 Middle Eastern Ibrik

There are two mechanical methods available and one or the other is used in most grinders today ... the Burr Type and the Blade Type.
The Burr Grinder actually crushes the beans into a uniform grind and therefore helps towards a better cup.
The Blade type tends to chop and slice the bean and you end up with an irregular grind, this devise in my opinion, is best left to prepping veg and making humus and pesto, mmm pesto...!

We will only look at Burr Grinders.
The type of grinder depends on how deep your pockets are and range from a couple of quid to hundreds. Before you select your grinder you must consider if it can be adjusted sufficiently for the types and styles of coffee you will be drinking. For example if you have an espresso machine and you also use a Cafetiere, the grinder must be able to adjust between a Coarse Grind and a Fine Grind.
The one above is a Hand Mill/Grinder and sell for £15 to £50 (Christmas 2010 prices), it doesn't need electric so it doesn't leave a carbon footprint and there is also the keeping-fit element to consider.
The quick and convenient domestic electric grinder on the right is around £70 (Christmas 2010 prices)

This one on the left is a commercial grinder, similar to the one we use at our Fairtrade Coffee Stall, it will set you back a few hundred pounds.
Now if you've ended up with a bag of Preseli Coffee Beans (or a similar high quality coffee bean) in your Christmas stocking and you haven't got one of these grinders tucked away somewhere, all is not lost, you can always go back to basics and use a Pestle & Mortar, just like they do in Africa.