Cold Drip Grind Size - About coarse and fine coffee powder | Coffee Wiki (2023)

Grind size – just like the roasting process – greatly affects the taste of your coffee. Using the same type of coffee, you can prepare different coffee specialities – merely by grinding coffee beans more coarsely or finely. For this reason, choosing the right grinding degree is quite important for maximizing your taste experience. Especially when it comes to cold brew coffee specialties and cold drip grind size.


  1. Definition and Terminology
  2. Different Coffee Grind Sizes
  3. Fine Grind
  4. Medium Grind
  5. Coarse Grind
  6. Over Extraction
  7. Under Extraction
  8. The Perfect Coffee Grinding Degree
  9. Cold Drip and Cold Brew Grind Size
  10. Freshness

Definition and Terminology

Grind size (italian la macinatura) is composed of two components: First, the verb ” to grind”. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary it means “to reduce to powder or small fragments by friction (as in a mill)”. Secondly, the term contains the word “size” which describes the physical dimensions or extent.

Thus, the term “grind size” describes the extent to which an object is reduced. (In our case we are obviously talking about toasted coffee beans.) In other words, it refers to the coarseness or fineness of your coffee powder. Consequently, the grinding degree measures the grain size with which a coffee mill will grind your coffee beans. Synonyms are “grind” and “grinding degree”.

The intended use of the coffee powder differs depending on the grind size. For this reason, it is arguably one of the most important factors when preparing a delicious cup of coffee.

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Different Coffee Grind Sizes

With any good coffee grinder, you can set the grind size to different levels. Usually, the grinding degree for coffee beans ranges from 10 (very coarse) to 1 (very fine). However, some coffee grinders also have varying grind sizes and graduations: either 9, 12 or even 40 different grinds are available. Particularly industrial coffee grinders differ in this respect from grinders for private use.

Ultimately, it is the result that matters: If you chose a very fine grind, your coffee will have more surface area. If you grind the coffee beans at a medium grinding degree, the water will already have less surface area. If, on the other hand, you decide to grind your coffee very coarsely, the powder has a relatively small surface area.

Why is that important? When you brew coffee, it comes into contact with water. The more surface area the coffee powder offers – meaning the finer the coffee powder is ground – the faster its aromas are released.

Cold Drip Grind Size - About coarse and fine coffee powder | Coffee Wiki (1)

Accordingly, the ideal cold drip grind size is particularly important. After all, when making this coffee specialty using a cold dripper, the coffee powder remains in contact with water for hours. It is therefore necessary to dissolve the aroma substances slowly. For this reason, coffee powder that is ground very coarsely is ideal for preparing cold drip coffee.

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Fine Grind (Setting 1-3)

When using a finely ground coffee you only expose the coffee powder to the (usually hot) water for a very short time. This often happens by machine and under high pressure.

  • Setting 1: Mocha (in this case we intentionallyover extract)
  • Setting 2-3: Espresso or portafilter machine
  • Setting 2-4: automatic coffee maker

Medium Grind (Setting 4-6)

If the contact time of water and coffee powder of medium lenght, the grind size should be medium as well. This applies to any kind of pour over coffee as well as standart coffee machines and some other methods.

  • Setting 3-5: AeroPress coffee maker
  • Setting 4-6: Moka pot
  • Setting 4-6: Classic filter coffee machine
  • Setting 4-6: pour over coffee specialities like Kalita Wave or classical filter coffee

Coarse Grind (Setting 7-10)

Coarsely ground coffee is particularly well suited for brewing methods where the coffee powder remains in contact with water for an extended period of time. This applies to any form of full immersion as well as cold brew coffee.

  • Setting 6-7: Vacuum coffee maker
  • Setting 7-8: French Press coffee maker
  • Setting 9-10: Bayreuth or Karlsbad coffee makers
  • Setting 10: Cold Drip Coffee, Cold Brew Coffee

Over Extraction

If too many aromas (more than 22 percent to be precise) are released from the coffee powder as a result of brewing, this results in a so-called over extraction. This means that many bitter substances in particular are released from the coffee powder. Accordingly, over-extracted coffee often tastes very bitter.

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Over-extraction occurs either when the grinding degree is too fine or the extraction time is too long. For example, any type of Cold Brew Coffee would be predestined for over-extraction if you mixed it with finely ground coffee powder. This is because with this method, the coffee powder is exposed to water for a long time. Some cold brew varieties are even immersed in water for hours. Therefore, a coarse cold drip grind size is best for preparing cold brewed coffee.

Under Extraction

However, the opposite can occur as well: if too few aromas are extracted from the coffee powder during the brewing process (less than 18 percent), it is called under extraction. Under extracted coffee tastes bland, thin and aqueous. Often it is even described as acidic. Is the result of too coarsely ground coffee beans combined with a too short extraction time.

Certain under extraction will happen when, for example, you combine coarsely ground coffee with a portafilter machine. As the machine works quickly and at high pressure, the extraction time is really short. However, finely ground coffee powder is the ideal choice for using with a portafilter machine. Because the finer the grind size, the faster the coffee powder releases its flavors. This means that you can also enjoy your espresso with a lovely crema.

The Perfect Coffee Grinding Degree

Selecting a grind size is closely related to how many aromatic substances you want to extract from the coffee. With over 1000 flavors, coffee has the greatest variety of aromas of all beverages. On the other hand, not all of these aromas can and should be dissolved. Certainly not all at the same time.


The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has long been making a rule of thumb for this: About 18 to 22 percent of the aromas are ideally released in coffee. Where possible, these should only be the desired aromas. Since we already know that we want to avoid both over extraction and under extraction, the question arises: What is the perfect coffee grind? And what is the optimal cold drip grind size?

You can use the following rule of thumb:

The finer your coffee powder, the shorter you should brew it. The coarser your ground coffee, the longer the contact time.

As with any rule, there are of course always exceptions to it. Nonetheless, in our opinion, it is a good point of reference.

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Cold Brew and Cold Drip Grind Size

A coarse cold drip grind size is ideal for making cold drip coffee. Therefore, we recommend a grinding level of 9-10 out of 10 for any cold brew method. With cold brew coffee specialties, especially full immersion coffee, the coffee powder is immersed in water for hours. Thereby, the aromas dissolve particularly thoroughly and mildly. This is ideal for coarsely ground coffee. By the way, in addition to the grind size, choosing the right coffee filter is also important.

Cold Drip Grind Size - About coarse and fine coffee powder | Coffee Wiki (2)


Freshly ground coffee is the best. And we don’t just say that. Grinding coffee fresh is always a good idea. This allows you to adjust the grinding degree to your desired coffee specialty. Besides, freshly ground coffee simply tastes great. After all, the longer ground coffee powder is stored, the more flavourings get lost through the air.


Is drip coffee coarse or fine? ›

Medium Grind

Medium grind is the most common grind size for pre-ground beans, with a texture like smoother sand. This grind is great for drip coffee makers and siphon brewers. It will also work in an AeroPress if you let it brew for over three minutes.

What size is drip grind coffee? ›

The best grind size for automatic drip coffee is a medium-coarse grind. Grinds that are more coarse will be under-extracted, leaving you with a disappointingly weak cup of coffee, while grinds that are too fine will be over-extracted and bitter.

How coarse Should I grind my coffee for cold brew? ›

Stick with a coarse grind. Using a coarser grind will make the filtration process easier and your coffee taste far less bitter. Grinding too fine can heat up the grounds, which can negatively affect your cup. Stir the grinds in the water making sure they are fully saturated.

What is fine drip grind coffee? ›

Drip Grind coffee is basically coffee that is fine ground for use in filter coffee makers, in which the brewed coffee drips through filter into a serving pot. This type of grind works best in an auto-drip coffee maker.

How do you grind coarse or fine coffee? ›

Start with a medium-fine grind, and adjust it based on your preferences. For example, if your brew turns out sour (under extracted), use a finer grind next time, and/or increase your brew time slightly. If your brew ends up bitter (over extracted), use a coarser grind next time and/or decrease your brew time.

What is fine and coarse coffee? ›

Coffee is affected by how quickly water can extract flavor compounds from your grounds and by the duration of the brewing. Coarser, larger coffee grounds have less surface area than those that are finely ground. They allow water to flow more freely and they do not give up their flavor as quickly.

What number is fine grind coffee? ›

6. Fine Grind (espresso grind) The most common grind size you'll come across.

What kind of grind is drip? ›

Drip coffee is what you typically get from a cafe or coffee shop. It's made in large batches and contact time is dictated by a small hole in the bottom of the brewing basket, so recommended grind size varies between medium-coarse to medium.

What is grind size? ›

Grind size is important mostly because it's one of the main variables that determines how fast your water will dissolve those particles that turn your water brown and make coffee taste like coffee. Usually, instead of “big” and “small” we use the words “coarse” and “fine” to describe the size of grind particles.

What is the best grind size for cold brew? ›

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most coarse), we recommend a 7 or so. One of the toughest things about making cold brew sweet and balanced is pulling out enough of the sugars to avoid sourness. Using a slightly finer grind than is traditionally recommended for this method should help you get there!

Can I use coarse ground coffee in drip? ›

Too fine a grind will plug up your coffee machine and leave you with sludge in your final cup. Too coarse a grind will mean less extraction (so your coffee will taste weak). A nice, medium grind is usually perfect for a drip coffee pot.

Which coffee grind is coarse? ›

Coarse: A coarse grind is slightly finer than extra coarse and has a consistency resembling kosher salt. The grounds still appear quite chunky and are used for French press, percolators and coffee cupping brewing methods.

What is the ratio for drip coffee? ›

Drip coffee (normal, strong)

For your home brewer, we recommend a water to coffee ratio of 17:1. This translates to about 10 grams of coffee for every 6oz cup of coffee. For a stronger pot of coffee, use a water to coffee ratio of 15:1.

Why is it called drip coffee? ›

Drip Coffee vs.

In a nutshell, pour over brewing involves pouring hot water over ground coffee that drains through a filter and into a carafe. While that may sound like drip coffee, it's actually quite different. As mentioned above, drip coffee is the product of a coffee maker automatically dripping water.

What is meant by drip coffee? ›

noun. : coffee made by letting boiling water drip slowly through finely ground coffee.

What is fine grinding? ›

What is Fine Grinding? Fine Grinding is a batch-mode abrasive machining process that combines the speed and aggressiveness of super abrasive wheels with accuracy of lapping kinematics to produce flat and parallel work piece surfaces.

How do you grind coffee for finer? ›

Using a mortar and pestle can create finer grounds for drip coffee or chemex coffee as well as coarser grounds used in french press coffee. It all depends on how long and how firmly you grind your beans. Be sure to grind your beans in small amounts to achieve a more consistent blend!

How do you adjust grind size? ›

Adjusting the Grind

Only move the dial in very small increments of about three millimetres. If you've been monitoring your grind setting regularly, you'll only ever need small adjustments. A three millimetre movement should change your shot time by three to five seconds, using the same dose and tamp technique.

What number is coarse coffee? ›

Coffee Grind Size Chart
GrindParticle size in millimetersBest for
Coarse1French press, percolators
Medium0.75Pour-over, Chemex, drip coffee maker
Medium fine0.5Moka pot (stovetop espresso), Aeropress, siphon brewer, pour-over cone
2 more rows
7 Jun 2021

What are the different coffee grind sizes? ›

There are two different types of grind size: fine and coarse. You can extract the flavor faster from finer grounds, since there's more surface area to extract from. If your grind is too fine, you face the danger of over-extraction and a longer brew time, as the water has a hard time filtering through the fine grounds.

What is coarse grinding? ›


Coarse grinding operations span a range of industries and applications, from rough chopping whole fruits and vegetables ahead of separation or cooking, to granulating compacted, or densified materials into a target particle size distribution.

What type of coffee is drip? ›

Drip coffee refers to a coffee preparation method where hot water is added to the coffee grounds and allowed to drip through, resulting in a cup of coffee and water mixed together.

What does fine grind coffee look like? ›

To give you an idea of size, the coffee grinds should resemble powdered sugar, making it even finer than what's used espresso. The grinds need to be so fine that some grinders can't even accommodate Turkish coffee.

Why is grind size important? ›

Grind size is important because the size of coffee has to be compatible with the conditions inside each brew method or it will not taste or look right. These conditions include time, temperature and filter size.

What is the product size in fine grinding? ›

In this paper, fine grinding is used to describe the size reduction to an 80% passing size between 45 and 25 μm and ultra-fine grinding is considered for sizes below 25 μm.

What is coffee grind? ›

Coffee beans are ground to allow the flavour to be extracted from the bean in water to provide a cup of coffee. The freshness, size and quality of grind have a significant effect on how a coffee will taste.

Can you use fine grind for cold brew? ›

You can make cold brew with fine ground coffee. In fact, that's the way most people make it because it's less messy and faster to steep. However, if you use a finer grind, you'll need to use more coffee to get the same strength as with a coarser grind.

Can you use drip grind for cold brew? ›

Yes. Although the best coffee to brew cold brew is coarse ground coffee, you can use regular pre ground coffee for specific cold brewing methods. If you want to use regular ground coffee (or that's all you have on hand) you can use the drip method to make cold brew.

What grind size should I use? ›

Start with a medium-fine grind, and adjust it based on your preferences. For example, if your brew turns out sour (under extracted), use a finer grind next time, and/or increase your brew time slightly. If your brew ends up bitter (over extracted), use a coarser grind next time and/or decrease your brew time.

What coffee is best for cold drip? ›

Because of the extended contact time, a coarse grind is best for cold brew. As always, we recommend grinding fresh for each brew, however you can use preground coffee too. Similarly to cold brew, either filter roast or espresso roast coffee can be used depending on the desired result.

How many seconds grind coffee for drip? ›

Medium Grind for electric drip or most Pour-Over methods is 10-15 seconds. Fine Grind for espresso machines grinds approximately 30 seconds.

How long do you grind coffee for coarse? ›

For a coarse grind, 8-10 seconds, a few seconds at a time should do nicely. For a medium grind, try short bursts that add to 10-15 seconds, and a fine grind would be a few seconds or more longer.

How do you calculate coffee ratio? ›

To weigh your coffee, we recommend using basic kitchen scales or for those who want to be extra precise, high-tech scales like the Acaia Pearl. For those without a scale, using tablespoons and ounces to measure coffee or water, follow the ratio of 1:4. 1 tablespoon of coffee for every 4 ounces of water.

How much coffee do you use for a 12 cup drip? ›

So how does that break down in your coffeemaker? To fill a standard 12-cup coffeemaker, you will need 12-24 tablespoons (or between 3/4 and 1 1/2 cups) of ground coffee. This will yield 12 6-ounce servings, or about 6 standard 12-ounce mugs of coffee. For a smaller pot, simply scale the ratio down.

How much coffee do you use for 8 cups of drip? ›

Based on the amount of water you use, weigh out your coffee. We recommend 2 grams of coffee per ounce of finished product. Coffee pots are typically measured in 5oz cups, so for an 8 cup (40oz) coffee maker, you would need to use 80 grams (about 3oz) of coffee.

What is another name for drip coffee? ›

You can try a pour-over method, an automatic drip coffee machine, a slow drip cold brewer etc. Often times folks use drip coffee as a synonym for the pour-over process. Drip coffee can mean pour-over but pour-over doesn't necessarily mean drip coffee.

What does drip stand for? ›

The word DRIP is an acronym for "dividend reinvestment plan", but DRIP also happens to describe the way the plan works. With DRIPs, the cash dividends that an investor receives from a company are reinvested to purchase more stock, making the investment in the company grow little by little.

What is special about drip coffee? ›

Drip coffee: Drip coffee machines control all of the variables like pour speed, water temperature or brew time for you. It may appear the power of making the coffee is taken from you, but the drip coffee maker leaves little room for human error and gives you consistency every time.

How is cold drip coffee different? ›

Cold brew coffee is made by steeping ground coffee in water – a method known as immersion. However, cold drip is a percolation brewing method; this means that the water passes through a bed of coffee grounds, rather than the grounds being submerged in it – not unlike standard drip coffee.

What temperature is drip coffee? ›

According to the National Coffee Association, the ideal water temperature for extraction is between 195°F and 205°F, which is a little below the boiling point of water — 212°F. What's handy about this temperature range is that it works across all brewing methods.

What is the difference of drip coffee? ›

Drip coffee is made by dripping boiling water over ground coffee, which is ground more coarsely than espresso coffee. The water filters through the coffee and falls into a pot. This process is slower than the espresso process, and hot water is in contact with the ground coffee for much longer.

What course is drip coffee? ›

While extra coarse and coarse grinds are needed for the longer steeping of a cold brew or French press, the medium coarse caters to cafe solo or clever drippers that require less extraction time. Medium: A medium grind setting is what many coffee shops will use for a regular cup of drip coffee.

How would you describe drip coffee? ›

Drip coffee is made by pouring boiling water over ground coffee (the grind of which being much coarser than espresso). A filter that is typically made from paper separates the grounds from the brewed liquid which allows the water to pass through and fall into a pot or jug.

What kind of coffee is coarse? ›

popular coffee grind sizes, and what they are used for
Extra coarseCold Brew Coffee, Cowboy Coffee
CoarseFrench Press, Percolator, Coffee Cupping
Medium-coarseChemex coffee maker, Clever Dripper, Cafe Solo Brewer
4 more rows

What is the finest grind of coffee? ›

The Best Coffee Grind
  • #1 (finest) – Turkish.
  • #2 – Fine Espresso.
  • #3 – Standard Espresso.
  • #4 – Cone Filter Drip.
  • #5 (middle grind) – Universal Drip.
  • #6 – Flat/Basket Filter Drip.
  • #7 – Percolator.
  • #8 – Stovetop Percolator.
19 Dec 2011

What grind size is best for cold brew? ›

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most coarse), we recommend a 7 or so. One of the toughest things about making cold brew sweet and balanced is pulling out enough of the sugars to avoid sourness. Using a slightly finer grind than is traditionally recommended for this method should help you get there!

How do you make the best drip coffee? ›

Drip Coffee Maker

For better coffee, start with freshly roasted beans and filtered water and use a scale to measure a coffee-to-water ratio of 1-to-16, or 16 grams of water for every gram of coffee. Note: This is a great starting ratio, but you can (and should!) adjust according to your preference.

What are the 4 types of coffee? ›

There are 4 types of coffee bean. Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa and Liberica. All four have radically different taste profiles.

Can you use fine ground coffee in a drip coffee maker? ›

Too fine a grind will plug up your coffee machine and leave you with sludge in your final cup. Too coarse a grind will mean less extraction (so your coffee will taste weak). A nice, medium grind is usually perfect for a drip coffee pot.


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