11/04/2011 11:09 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Grind Coffee

Pouring the beans into a grinder is easy, of course, but chef Jennifer Purcell of the Culinary Institute of America explains that the size of the grind must be calibrated to the type of coffee you're preparing. Automatic drip coffeemakers need a slightly coarse grind, so the water can flow freely through the filter. A French press doesn't use a filter, so you need a slightly finer grind than the automatic drip. An espresso grind is the finest of all -- you're looking for a consistency almost like powder to get the perfect cup.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Jen Purcell from the Culinary Institute of America, and today I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to grind coffee.

When grinding coffee at home, it's important to look at the correct grind size for the application of the coffee you're brewing. If we're doing an automatic drip, versus a press pot, versus an espresso, there is a different grind size required.

The first coffee I'm going to show you is the automatic drip. It's slightly coarser than the rest of the automatic coffee grinds. Once you've used your grinder for quite some time you'll get a sense of sound when your coffee is nearly at the size you want. This will be our automatic drip coffee, slightly coarse so the hot water can flow through without clogging the basket.

Our next coffee brew will be the press pot, the French style press pot, which does not have a paper filter; hence, the natural flavors and extractions of the oil stay in the coffee. I'll grind this slightly finer than the automatic drip. Here we have a slightly finer coffee grind for your press pot.

Our final grind is an espresso grind. It's also the finest grind you'll find for any coffee product. Your espresso has the highest ratio of coffee to water and is also pressurized; the water is being pressed through in nearly a form of steam. We'll grind this the finest of all. We have a near-powder: our espresso grind coffee.

For that great cup of coffee at home, we had today the automatic drip, the press pot, and the espresso grind.