You can usually grind coffee where you buy it. However, it will stay fresher in whole bean form. It is best to grind the coffee right before you brew it.
If you have a blade grinder it’s best to shake the grinder while grinding, and tilt it. The idea here is to get as close to a uniform grind as possible. This is possible to approximate but impossible to actually pull off since blade grinders slice the beans and inevitably will leave you with grounds that are inconsistent, mixed with coarse and fine.
The better grinder is a burr grinder. This allows for a more consistent grind. But how fine should you grind? You will want a slightly coarse medium grind for french press, a medium fine for pouring fresh drip, a fine for auto drip (if you use a filter) and very fine for espresso.
The best way to find if you are getting a proper extraction is to weigh the coffee before, then afterwards dry out the grounds and weigh them again. In a proper extraction, the grounds should weigh 19% less. If its weight loss is more than 19% then it was over extracted and needs a coarser grind; if its weight loss is less than 19% then it was under extracted and needs a finer grind. If you use 2.5 oz of coffee per pot, (.156 pound) then after brewing and drying the grounds they should weigh 2.025 oz (.126 pound), any more and the coffee is over extracted and your grind is too fine, any less and your coffee under extracted and your grind is too coarse. The same can be done for espresso. A Standard Coffee measure is about .33 oz (.02 pound) after drying it should be .27 oz (.016 pound)
If you don’t have a scale that is that accurate you can time your espresso shot. If it takes less than 20 seconds it is likely under extracted and too coarse. If it is over 30 seconds it is over extracted and too fine.
Braun 4540 Cuisinart DBM-8
My experience with grinders has been that the Cuisinart is good for auto-drip but not able to grind fine enough for espresso and turkish/greek coffee. Braun has a burr grinder (model 4045) that can grind fine enough for espresso.
I will add grinders to this list as I test them.
Life took me to Seattle on a rainy day. I know it never really rains in Seattle to a Florida boy, but this day succeeded in being genuinely soggy. Stopped in at Stumptown Coffee Roasters on 12th Avenue to unsog. Walked in and got an Indonesian Gajah ache and enjoyed its tangy aroma, delicate citrusy tastes on the front of the tongue, earthy body and flowery finish. Then went downstairs to watch Adam roast coffee. I must have watched 4 different batches being roasted. The last batch was an Indonesian Sulawesi Toarco AA. I took home about a quarter pound of these large reddish beans and tasted them. The ground coffee has an earthy piquant to it. The reddish amber colour shows up in a white porcelain mug. Sipping an autodrip brew had light peppery tones on the back of the tongue with a pleasant sharp spiciness at the back of the pallet and the tip of the tongue with a medium body. As it cooled, sweeter notes came forward.
Second cup I added Sugar and Cream and noticed the earthy piquant came forward. The body actually increased instead of becoming paler, almost as if it were saying, “come on sugar and cream; you think you’re tough; I’ll show you.”
In a press pot the balance was better all over and the body fuller. Whereas the auto drip had engaged mainly the tip and back of the tongue, the press pot engaged all of the tongue. It had an excellent aroma tickling the soft pallet. The aftertaste was a very pleasant smokey eggplant
Sugar and cream don’t hide that. This coffee is engaging all the tongue in a wonderful play of flavours.
Mahogany Bear – Spectacled Bear Columbian
Visual beans were uniform with slightest tearing of oil, but not overly so. The aroma upon grinding was good with a hint of earthy tang. In a white porcelain cup the colour was brown with a slight hint of amber.
Auto drip: The coffee started with Citrus tones with some tang. The body was medium. Adding half & half suppresses some of the body but not dramatically so.
Espresso shot had very pleasant earthy tones with a slight bittersweet after taste with good creme and a better body than auto drip.
Press Pot: The color upon the water pouring was a good brown purple. The crust broke with a nice looking foam. A slurp brought a good aroma. The body was on the slightly heavy side of medium (better body than most columbians). Sugar and half & half brought out some of the natural sweetness that seems to be a bit shy, and emphasizes the cocoa tones with just a hint of tang. The body held up to the half&half. The predominate aftertaste is of the earthy tang that the aroma of the grinding promised.