Bean culture

A guide to grinding coffee beans

Grinding is a crucial step in making the perfect cup of coffee at home. It transforms roasted coffee beans into a flavorful powder. For the best espresso, use freshly ground beans, as 50% of the aromas disappear within fifteen minutes of grinding. Achieving the ideal grind level depends on the roast and even the coffee bean’s characteristics.

How does roasting effect grinding & pairing?

The grind level should be coarse, medium, or fine based on the roast:

  • Lightly roasted beans prefer a fine grind, resulting in a light brown hue and pronounced acidity.
  • Medium-roasted beans require a medium grind for a fuller body and balanced flavor.
  • Dark roasted beans should be ground coarsely, giving a dark color and smoky flavor.
  • Extra dark beans need a coarse grind, creating a strong coffee with substantial crema, a pastry-like aroma, extra bitterness, and an intense aftertaste.

The roast level also affects acidity and bitterness, influencing the compatibility with milk. Darker roasts with lower acidity and stronger bitterness go well with milk, enhancing sweetness. Lighter roasts with more acidity and less bitterness may not pair as well with milk.

Bear in mind the botany

The coffee’s botany, like cultivation altitude, is influential. High-altitude varieties like specialty and lightly roasted 100% Arabica beans are denser and better suited for finer grinding. Blends with dark-roasted Robusta beans from lower-altitude regions benefit from coarser grinds.

De’Longhi offers solutions for grinding beans at home. Fully automatic machines, like the PrimaDonna Soul, feature Bean Adapt Technology. It sets the grind size and brewing parameters based on the bean type, roast, and user feedback. This ensures a perfect extraction that preserves and enhances all the coffee aromas. In addition, the Adaptive Grinding Technology on machines like Maestosa and PrimaDonna Soul controls the grinding for your preferred coffee blends to optimise flavour extraction.

Manual machine options, such as La Specialista Maestro, have Sensor Grinding Technology. It brews coffee perfectly with the right dose of ground coffee. The unique grinding sensor adjusts the coffee dose when the grinder setting changes, ensuring consistency and delivering the same dose of coffee. With up to eight grind settings, users can personalize their choice based on the type of beans used.

Tips for an Ideal Grind:

  • Find the right balance to avoid bitterness from over-extraction or weakness from under-extraction.
  • Gradually adjust the grinder while it’s operating for a uniform grind.
  • Give yourself time to appreciate the impact of a new grind, as it can take a few tries for the taste to improve.
  • Check the in-cup result to ensure the grind and dosage are correct.

Grinding coffee beans is the first step in the art of creating perfect espresso at home. The next step? Tamping.