13 Aug How to Brew the Perfect Kopi Luwak Coffee: Grind & Grinder Basics
Brewing the perfect cup of coffee involves attention to detail at every point of the process. Today, we’ll focus on how to properly grind your coffee, what to avoid, and how to select the best grinder for your luxury Kopi Luwak coffee.
The job of a coffee grinder is to granulize the beans into exact and (hopefully) same-sized particles. Although there are many who believe that a range in particle sizes actually provides a variety of tastes, this is not the case.
Depending on how you prefer to brew your coffee, there are different sized particles that will work best. The size of the particles is determined by how long the water will be in contact with the grounds. The longer the brew time, the larger the particles should be. If the particles are smaller than they should be, it will cause bitterness in your coffee due to over-extraction. On the other hand, if they’re larger than they should be, it will under-extract, which causes the flavor to weaken, and result in waste.
Choosing the Right Grind for your Brew
Before delving into which grinder is best for you, let’s first explore the right grind for your particular brew type.
With this grind, the coffee is as fine as flour. Turkish coffee is a pulverized grind. If you dip your finger into the grounds, your finger will be coated with its dust. Although blade grinders can produce this grind, you’ll end up losing flavor and aroma due to overheating. It’s rare to find a burr grinder that has a calibration able to grind this finely.
To produce the pulverized grind, look for a Mortar and Pestle grinder. The average particle size is 100 microns.
This grind is almost the consistency of a powder, but not quite. By placing your finger in, and pulling it out of the grounds the coffee should not cling to your skin. This grind type is designed for vacuum coffee brewers that generally have tree-minute extraction times. It ca also be used for manual one-cup Melitta-style V-shaped cone filters that feature a three-four minute contact time.
The average partial size is 500 microns.
Drip/Pour Over Grind
Most pre-ground coffees use this grind, which is more course than the vacuum grind. There is no powder in this grind, and is designed for contact times of four to six minutes. It is more course than table salt, but should be similar to table salt’s pouring ability. The grounds shouldn’t cling together. Any type of brewing that uses gravity, as is the case with drip or pour over brewing, should use grounds course enough to allow the water to pass through easily under its own weight.
The average particle size is 500 microns or larger.
Automatic Drip Grind
These grounds are courser than drip grind, and begin to resemble kosher salt in their consistency. These grounds are designed for use in metal filter baskets typically found in electric percolators. However, this grind will stand up to six to eight minute contact times, so it works well with any brewing method that takes longer than six minutes to brew, or any method in which a metal filter containing holes allows small particles through and into your cup, such as a press pot or flip drip maker.
The average particle size is 800 microns.
This grind is a catchall for any brewing method that takes longer than eight minutes and/or features filters likely to leak tiny grind particles into the final batch. This grind is designed for giant commercial coffee brewers that steep coffee in cloth sacks called urns, as well as novelty brews such as cowboy or campfire coffee, where grounds are tossed into an open vessel with boiling water.
The average particle size is 1000 microns.
Choosing a Grinder
Although it may seem obvious, the best grinder is one that consistently produces even-sized particles. With that in mind, determining which grinder produces the most consistent results can be a challenge. Here we’ll look at some of the most common choices.
Blade grinders are the most inexpensive grinders on the market, which have spinning blades, hence the name blade grinder. These are notoriously bad for grinding coffee. Not only does this grinder produce uneven grounds, the heat from the motor can significantly affect the taste and aroma of the grounds it produces. Moreover, these grinders are completely unpredictable in terms of how finely they grind. One grind may produce coffee fine for a drip coffee maker. The next grind may be too course or too fine. For espresso, the exact 200 to 250 micron size for 30-second extraction is so critical that you can’t really consider using a blade grinder.
Burr grinders, otherwise known as disc or mill grinders, are the best type of grinders to use with our luxury Kopi Luwak. With these grinders, you set the grinder’s range, which then limits size by the distance between the two grinding pieces. You set the gap between the two discs or cones by click stops, so you can dial in your required fineness, and assure batch-to-batch consistency.
There are two types of burr grinders. Conical and Flat. Each of these has its advantages. Typically, conical burrs work better for course grinding, whereas disc burrs are preferred for finer grinding.
In selecting your burr grinder be sure to select one that uses hardened steel discs. These are of much higher quality, as they will last longer without the grind becoming inconsistent over time. Coated burrs also last longer and maintain grind calibration. Depending on the machine, you should expect to pay $100 to $1,100 for a good grinder, although cost is not the lone decider factor in quality. For the best entry level grinder, we recommend the Baratza Encore. Step it up a notch to the Baratza Virtuoso for the best home grinder on the market (unless you want something a bit more fancy).
Whatever option you prefer, invest in a quality grinder to enjoy the best coffee possible. Always be sure to grind just before brewing, as doing so will result in a more luxurious aroma and fresher tasting coffee.