It truly does - and in this blog post we are going to break down just why, because all too often we use the same grind size (or purchase pre-ground) and yet brew differently...and in the end we are left with sub-par results that are not nearly as enjoyable as they could be had we taken the time to dial it in.
Why Should I Care About Grind Size?
You might not - and that is okay. Although, if you are here on this website then chances are you are in pursuit of a better cup, and not just a cup of regular ole' k-cup Folgers joe...so read on.
A Note on a Grind Size's Correlation to Extraction
Alright, so let's start unpacking this and try to keep it simple. Smply put, extraction is how much of the grounded coffee ends up in your final cup. So, how do we increase/decrease extraction? Well, science has shown us that the size of coffee grinds directly impacts the extraction rate in our cup of coffee we drink. It looks something like this:
Alright, so we grind our own beans so we can control the extraction in our everyday cup of coffee - something that can't necessarily be controlled if we buy pre-ground at the grocery. At this point there is honestly no avoiding it. You have read this far so you might as well go all in and learn about why coffee extraction matters, otherwise you would not be grinding your own beans to control it (if not, read on).
A Note on the Importance of Extraction
The amount of coffee we extract into our cups directly relates to amount of flavors (both good and bad) we extract from the bean itself. Take for example a Peruvian Cajamarca cup of coffee. This cup, given its region where it grew - the amount of rain, sun, overall temperature, altitude in which it was grown, etc. - creates a cup with Milk Chocolate, Cherry, and Caramel nuances (a Winona Roasting Company favorite). Now, there holds a well proven idea in the coffee community that there is a tipping point, where we can grind more and more fine to extract more and more from this Peruvian Cajamarca. At one point, however, we will have gotten as much Milk Chocolate, Cherry, and Caramel as we can and the coffee will take a turn for the worst. Using our example from below it will begin to look something like this:
Bringing it Back to Why #GrindSizeMatters
When we hit that green zone on the chart above, we have gotten the most of the beans provided to us. Note, that every coffee will have a different scale, and the way in which the coffee was roasted will have a lot to do with how much flavor is even possible or what nuances expose themselves as you slide up the scale (and down). So, grind size matters because it presents the opportunity to control extraction, and in end what our cup tastes like. Hit the yellow zone, and we need more extraction, as our cup will be sour, salty, and have a quick finish. Hit the red zone (there's a fine line), and we will need less extraction, as our cup will be bitter, dry, astringent, hollow or empty. Our goal is not too much, not too little, right in the middle.
The Goal - A Balanced Cup
The goal is to grind our own beans and that the size of that grind to deliver a coffee in the "green" zone - a "balanced" cup of coffee. An ideal, balanced, cup of coffee will be ripe, complex, slightly acidic, and deliver well on the notes/nuances outlined on the bag.
A balanced cup of coffee allows the individual consuming the cup to discover origin, experience nuance, and taste beauty.
Here at Winona Roasting Company, we deliver all of our coffee whole bean. Whole bean stays fresh for longer, and allows you to grind your coffee - controlling the size and dialing in your cup to ensure balance. However, we understand you might not have a grinder (although we highly recommend getting one). So, we present you the opporuntity to have us grind your coffee for you so you dont have too. Let us know when you add a product to the cart and we will grind it for you. Remember, grind size matters!