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#13

Should you use a fine grind for cupping?

Do you cup your coffees with a coarse or fine grind size? This week we dive into the effects of using a coarse vs fine grind for cupping and evaluate which is better.


Normally, we've been taught to cup with a coarse grind size in accordance with the SCA cupping specifications.

But in recent years, we've come across many roasters that practice different cupping protocols than what is recommended by the SCA. One of those differences is in the grind size used.

Do you cup your coffees with a coarse or fine grind size? This week we dive into the effects of using a coarse vs fine grind for cupping and evaluate which is better.

COARSE GRIND SIZE

With the coarser grind size, we found the coffee to show:
- slightly less round aromatics
- more sourness
- milder flavour intensity
- weaker and less structured body
- prolonged extraction tasting pleasant over time

FINE GRIND SIZE

With the finer grind size, we found the coffee to show:
- slightly more round aromatics
- better balance and sweetness in the cup
- stronger flavour intensity
- bitter flavours showing at certain points of the extraction
- heavier and more structured body
- up and down valleys in extractions and fluctuating tastes over time

WHEN TO USE WHICH?

The first thing to understand is the difference that the grind size has on the cupping experience. This way, regardless of the grind size being used, there is a reference point that allows us to compare the current cupping to our past experience. This will allow us to be able to judge the coffees more accurately.

Many times we do not have control over the grind size used. In other situations, I would recommend to use the respective grind sizes for the following uses:

COARSE GRIND SIZE

This grind setting is suitable for:
- public or large cuppings (the prolonged extraction allows more time for proper evaluation)
- evaluating filter coffee (whereby most filters are brewed at a coarser grind size, although there is a trend of using a much finer grind in recent years)


FINE GRIND SIZE

This grind setting is suitable for:
- small and private cuppings (the higher extractions and intensity of all aspects of the coffee allows a better evaluation of the coffee)
- evaluating espresso coffee
- evaluating roast effects more accurately (the finer grind and higher extractions enable access to certain taste aspects (both good and bad) that were not present in the coarser grind.


Want to learn more about coffee roasting? Check out our Ultimate Coffee Roasting Course! You'll get access to all our secrets, knowledge and experience in coffee roasting and even receive personal coaching from roasting champions around the world!

And if you have any coffee questions you'd like us to answer, leave them in the comments section too and we'll make sure to answer them in future posts.
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