Achieving a great result in the preparation of your espresso or filtered coffee will depend on a correct and uniform granulometry.
Most of us start by buying traditional coffee, then we move to gourmet coffee, followed by specialty coffee. All of them already ground! Until a time comes when we realize that to continue the evolution of our knowledge it is necessary to grind our coffee at the time of preparation.
The principle is as follows: imagine that you are going to cook potatoes. If you cut some of them in large pieces and other in smaller ones and put everything in the same pot, after cooking the for a while you will notice that the small pieces are so soft that they have changed into a puree consistence while the large pieces are still hard. For that reason, most cooks recommend cutting everything to the same size, so that the parts are cooked evenly.
This happens with coffee powder as well. Entry-level grinders provide a non-uniform grind, causing the coffee bean to be ground into larger and smaller pieces. An advanced grinder makes grinding more homogeneous. The powder is almost the same size after grinding and this makes the extraction balanced.
However, the truth is that not every grinder has the power to provide uniform grinding of the grains and fine adjustment between each grinding level. Therefore, the choice of the grinder is one of the most important for the preparation of your coffee, whether in the Aram coffee maker, in any other espresso coffee maker or in filtered coffee methods.
Drip coffee, French press and Aeropress
Aram’s drip coffee method, Arame, was designed to take the V60 method to higher levels
Methods such as filtered coffee, the French Press or Aeropress require medium to coarse grinding. But, because it has a longer contact time between water and coffee powder (from 2 to 4 minutes), they allow a greater variable with the grinding, since the grinding level can be easily corrected by the contact time between them.
Most basic grinders can work well in these cases, like Hario, Bialetti, Porlex and even propeller grinders – similar to a blender. It is not ideal, but it is a good start.
For espresso, only with the correct grind you will be able to create pressure and thus achieve the real espresso. Within the grinding for espresso there are several levels suitable for each bean, coffee maker and for each quantity of coffee used (see our grinding guide for espresso here).
Because the time for preparing an espresso is very short, between 25 and 40 seconds, the contact time of the coffee powder with the water is very short and the fine grinding is responsible for the pressure inside the coffee makers. Therefore, advanced grinders are more suitable for this type of preparation. They grind evenly and have a more sensitive setting, in addition to features that are ideal for espresso.
If you get your beans at a coffee shop, you may need to ask them to grind it a little bit finer than their standard way. But, don’t panic! I know it looks complicated, but it really isn’t. It takes 2 to 3 espressos for you to get the grinding right, either at home or by buying ground coffee from a cafe.
It is possible to make a good espresso using basic manual grinders, however, you get better results of homogeneity and fine adjustment if you use advanced grinders, such as Bravo, Timemore, Kinu, Comandante, Breville and Baratza.
Previously ground coffee from a supermarket or coffeeshop
As we have said before, the best way to have the ideal coffee is to preserve the substances in the coffee by keeping it in beans until the time of preparation. We know that this is not always possible, but that is no reason for you not to get your coffee, right? If you are buying ground coffee from the market, keep an eye on its date of manufacture. The shorter the date, the fresher it will be. Try to opt for 100% Arabica coffees or special micro batches.
Important detail: previously ground traditional coffee from a supermarket is ground to be used for filter methods, it is not possible to make espresso with them. Even packages sold as an espresso grind are not indicated.
If you are going to buy specialty coffee at your favorite cafe, choose a coffee as fresh as possible and suitable for the method you are going to use. If you are ordering ground coffee, order a small amount to test on your Aram coffee maker or other conventional coffee makers. Do the test and if you find that the grind met the result you were looking for, order more coffee with that same grind. If you are going to buy specialty coffee at your favorite cafe, choose a coffee as fresh as possible and suitable for the method you are going to use. If you are ordering ground coffee, order a small amount to test on your Aram coffee maker or other conventional coffee makers. Do the test and if you find that the grind met the result you were looking for, order more coffee with that same grind.
In short, there isn’t much secret! It is only with the continuous use and application of different recipes that you can find your best results. It is question of trial, error and success!
You can learn a lot more about how to have an amazing result on your Aram by carefully reading our Preparation Guide.
Now, check out the grinders we recommend::
Entry-level grinders: Manual Hario, Bialetti and similar
Great for beginners who don’t want to invest a lot of money. With them you can grind for espresso and filtered coffees, but it will not be a uniform high quality grind, in addition they don’t offer fine adjustment (which can make things harder to adjust the grind for espresso). For espresso, the time they take to grind the coffee is very high, from 2 to 3 minutes for 20gr of coffee beans.
Electric intermediate grinders: Express Breville and Baratza
Made for those who like agility and want to invest more. These brands make good grinders, with a very good grind. You can also grind for espresso and filter with them, good uniformity, fine adjustment, and short times of around 30 seconds for 20gr of coffee.
Advanced manual grinders: Bravo Mini, Kinu, Comandante, Helor, Timemore, 1zpresso and similar
These grinders are the favorites of specialty coffee lovers. The quality is superior to the electric grinders mentioned above, however, the investment cost may be higher. You can also grind for espresso or filtered with them and the grinding is excellent and of great uniformity, and the adjustment is fine. The manual grinding time is around 1 minute for 20gr of coffee beans in espresso granulometry.
For espresso coffee we do not recommend propeller grinders because they are not able to provide a fine and uniform grind for this method. Some that we do not recommend for espresso are:
• Cuisinart DCG20 / DBM8 Electric Grinders;
• Bialetti Eletricity;
• Hamilton Beach;
• Cadence Di grano MDR302 and similar.
For drip coffee, these may do the job, offering a good cost x benefit ratio for those just starting out.