Coffee Roasts & Grinds
Coffee beans are actually seeds grown on trees. To brew a full-bodied cup of coffee, the beans are dried, roasted to perfection and ground. Roasts are referred to by color, but ultimately roast levels help describe the flavor profile of a bean. Understanding the characteristics of different roasts can help you select new coffees you'd like to try based on preference.
Light roasted coffee beans develop a tan color and have the highest acidity and brightest taste of the three roasts. The mild, crisp the qualities of the bean and its distinct origins come through clearly in a light roast.
Medium roasts are darker brown and have a smooth balance of acidity and body. The toasty, nutty flavors of roasting start to emerge as the beans are cooked a bit longer.
Dark roast beans are a shiny black color with an oily surface. Also referred to as a French, Italian or espresso roasts, dark beans have rich, robust, smoky flavors that are brought out more by the roasting process and less by the bean's origins.
Find your coffee grind
Grinding fresh, whole beans always yields the most flavorful cup of coffee, so if possible, grind your beans at home. Burr grinders have fine, medium and coarse settings and provide the most consistent results, but if using a blade grinder, grind in short bursts and give the grinder a few firm shakes between grinds.
To maximize flavor, grind just enough coffee for what you will brew. Different brewing methods require different grinds of coffee, so choose the right grind to brew your favorite cup.
Start with a very coarse grind. The particles should appear somewhere between coarse salt and steelcut oats.
Chemex uses a thick paper filter and medium coarse ground coffee to brew an aromatic, sediment free cup in a glass decanter.
Flat bottom filtered auto drip coffee makers work best with a medium grind close to the texture of sand. Cone shaped filter auto drip systems work well with a medium fine grind
Grind coffee at medium fine for your manual Aeropress system to extract maximum flavor as the plunger separates the grind from the brew.
Use a medium coarse grind (think of raw sugar or sea salt) to brew one cup at a time with your favorite pour over method (V60, Cone Filter, Kalita Wave)
Use a fine grind, often referred to as an espresso grind, when making espresso to extract a thicker, more concentrated brew.