An experiment with grind size

February 12th, 2010

My experience with the ExtractMojo has so far resulted in one recurring realisation:  I often wasn’t grinding finely enough.  The purpose of this isn’t to rehash the whole underextracted thing.  More a simple experiment in terms of people’s preferences.

Accurately communicating grind size remains near impossible.  We can say coarse, very coarse or fine or whatever, but it is still a pretty bad communicator when you are stood in front of a grinder that you don’t know.

If people are up for it then I’d like to try an experiment.  Pick a method that you know well.  Record how you are currently setting your grinder for your desired grind size.  Each time you brew it, keep everything the same (brew temp, water volume and steep time if applicable) but go a touch finer.  Keep going until you hit the wall of bitterness.  You’ll know it when you taste it, when the cup falls to pieces in a bitter finish.  Come back a touch coarser, and try a side by side brew of this grind Vs your original grind.  Which is better? Why?

I hope a few people will try this – it would be really interesting.  I am interested because if someone asked me the ideal grind size for the aeropress, for example, then I’d say to keep the steep time the same and bring the grind as fine as you can before it starts tasting noticeably bitter.

(I am quite prepared for you to all come back and tell me I am an idiot)

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