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Characteristics of Coarse Ground Coffee Beans

Dave Carter

April 28, 2021

Coarse grind for coffee means when the coffee beans stay relatively big or chunky, and the grinding is done so little that there are large particles of coffee beans left. It leaves hot water to only bind to the grinds' outer part and allows the water to seep from the outside to the inside slowly, taking it longer to extract the flavors from the grounds. Using coarse ground coffee is excellent for slow extraction.

Any immersion-style brew or where you steep the coffee grounds in water before filtering the coffee out will likely do well with a coarse grind. The most popular methods you can use are the French Press and Cold brew methods, where you immerse the beans for a designated period—allowing the water to absorb all the flavor of your favorite roasts. Uncommon brewing methods that work with coarse grinds are the cowboy coffee and percolator coffee brewing methods, giving you robust brews every time.

With that said, if you are looking to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee using coarse grinds at home, here's everything you need to know about it—from its uses, the best ways to grind coffee to how to enjoy it to the fullest.

What is Coarse Ground Coffee?

Any seasoned coffee addict is aware that getting the right coffee grind size is crucial, just like knowing how long does coffee last? However, out of all the sizes, what is coarse ground coffee, and what makes it different from the rest? Coarse coffee grounds is a 'style' that refers to the grind size. It has a chunky or 'coarser' appearance than your regular coffee grounds. Coarse grind coffee should have the same consistency as chunky sea salt. It's mostly used for brewing methods that require hot water to run over the coffee several times.

With coarse grounds, the water interacts with the coffee gradually, gently extracting the coffee's flavor. The benefits of using coarser coffee grinds enable a slower extraction process with a larger surface area per granule. Moreover, any immersion-style brewing technique coming in contact with the surface is ideal. That's why coarsely ground coffee often gets used with 'slow' brewing, slow extraction, and a long time of contact between coffee and water.

This grind size is best for the French Press, which needs around four minutes of brew time for the perfect extraction, and cold brew, which needs to get steeped for 12 hours or more. Other uncommon methods for brewing coarse grounds are the cowboy coffee and percolator brewing methods—giving you a more potent brew.

What is Coarse Ground Coffee Used For?

Coarse ground coffee is ideal for slow extraction, meaning any immersion-style brew will work well for a coarse grind. That's because it takes longer for the water to extract all flavors from the grounds. So, any brewing method where you steep coffee grounds in water before filtering things out is the best for a coarse coffee grind. It's best for making French press, cold brew, percolator, and cowboy coffee. It is not a surprise that the best starbucks coffee also uses coarse ground coffee. Cafe espresso uses coarse ground coffee, too.

Here are more details about each brewing method.

French Press
The French press brewing technique is the most common use for coarse grinds. You can make French press coffee by placing the grounds in a chamber resembling a carafe and have hot water poured over the ground coffee—then let it steep for 3 to 4 minutes. The user will place a top with the filter plunger and push all the coffee to the bottom, allowing the brew to flow through.

There are several reasons why professional baristas and avid coffee lovers alike suggest using coarse grinds for French press—with the main one being that it requires steeping.

Cold Brew
Another typical coffee drink that people use a coarse grind of coffee for is the cold brew, which is also a form of immersion-style brewing. There are several tools you can use to make cold brew, including your classic French press. However, they need to hold cold or room temperature water in a large chamber with your coffee grounds. That's because it has a longer extraction time, which is why coarse grinds work best for cold brew.

It can take anywhere between 12 to 24 hours to brew, depending on how strong you want the drink to be. You can use different filtration levels for cold brewing, ranging from reusable fabric to metal or single-use paper filters.

Percolator Coffee
A lesser-known brewing method for coarse grounds is percolator coffees. The best coffee for percolators is a medium grind to coarse ground coffee since the water filters through them several times. If the coffee you use is too small, you run the risk of over-extraction, resulting in excessive bitterness.

Cowboy Coffee
Cowboy coffee brewing is another less common method, and you need a coarser grind for this. It's essentially a brewing technique you can use while outdoors without your standard brewing tools. It needs extra-coarse grounds as they need to sink to the bottom of the pot.

Comparing Coarse vs. Fine Coffee

Turning coffee beans into grounds is easy, but achieving the right grind size can be challenging since there are several nuances. When you grind the coffee beans a little, they're chunky and commonly known as coarse ground coffee, while grinding them more gives you medium-fine powdery coffee. Some brews like breve coffee or espressos prefer specific coffee grind sizes. There's a spectrum of ground coffee consistency, and knowing the difference between each one is crucial to the perfect coffee. So, what exactly is the difference between coarse vs. fine coffee?

Fine ground coffee typically has heavy extraction, enabling the robust flavor to come out in your brews. Meanwhile, coarse ground coffee has less extraction time and produces less intense flavor, except when using immersion-style brewing, like the French press or cold brew methods.

Brewing coffee with a French press calls for a coarse grind, looking somewhat chunkier than your standard medium to fine ground coffee. Since the coffee is steeped in boiling water, the contact time between water and coffee is more prolonged, making a coarser grind ideal for the job. However, having extra-coarse grinds can make the drink weak.

Meanwhile, brewing using an espresso machine or traditional Moka pot, you'll need fine grinds. A fine grind is similar in size and feel to sugar but should be slightly coarser than a grind usually used for a regular espresso machine. Fine grinds work best for these methods as they require a shorter extraction time. Pressure builds up in the espresso maker, forcing the water through the fine grinds.

Using coarse grinds for brewing processes with shorter extract time won't help water extract the flavor per coffee bean. Thus, many consider espresso the most sensitive type of coffee to make and mostly accept an extra-fine grind.

How to Ground Coffee for Fresh Tasting Coffee

There's no denying that most things are better fresh, including your daily cup of coffee. The best way to enjoy your morning caffeinated fix is by grinding your coffee beans at home, allowing you to get all the complex aromatics and oils in one cup. So, you may be wondering how to ground coffee? Just like learning how to make coffee without a coffee maker, there are several ways you can grind coffee at home. However, the most common and best option is grinding them through a reliable grinder. Usually, you'd get two options—burr and blade grinders. A blade grinder is a more inexpensive option than your regular burr grinder. However, the grinds it produces are typically uneven, giving you an unbalanced cup. If you're looking to get a uniform grind size, burr grinders are your best choice.

However, if you're in a pinch, there are also a couple of alternatives you can try. The most common ones are using a mortar and pestle or food processor, and these are best for making extra-coarse grind to medium-coarse grounds. You can also use the built-in grinder that may come with an espresso machine, uniformly giving you a medium-fine grind every time. But it's best to invest in a coffee grinder for at-home use. Depending on your specific needs, you can decide if you'd want a more expensive and customizable option like a burr grinder. Once you find the best method for you, don't hesitate to fill up a coffee pot—and enjoy.

Some Popular Coarse Ground Coffee Brands

Although grinding your coffee beans is ideal, whether you're using it for a coffee maker or classic Moka pot, sometimes, you may not have the time to grind yourself a fresh batch every time. The next best thing to do is get pre-ground coffee—and below are some of the most popular coarse ground coffee brands to consider. Plus, some of their pros and cons to help you see which one suits your taste buds the best.

Stone Street
Although stone street advertises their coffee grinds for cold brew extracted coffee, one of its many pros is that you can use it for French press brewing. This dark roast boasts a nice low acidity with a sweet flavor, providing a bold and well-balanced cup.

Stone Cold Jo
Stone Cold Jo is the best for cold brews. It's a dark roast with minimal acidity, with a unique flavor profile of caramel, chocolate, and grapes. Although the brand offers several pros, such as being USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified, a con is that it's not as robust as other blends.

If you're looking for the perfect coffee grinds for your French Press, micro-lot coffees from Primos is a fantastic choice. The blend keeps the low acid and smooth flavor theme of most coarse ground coffee brands. It's a medium roast with a medium body.

Gevalia offers a unique blend crafted following Swedish tradition, providing a rich and smooth flavor. It's a dark roast that produces medium-bodied brews, perfect for French press and drip coffee, coming in a resealable bag designed to keep its flavor intact.

What Coffee Brands are Coarse Ground?

If you're looking to transition from your usual medium-fine grind and give your coffee makers a challenge, try using a coarser grind of coffee. Whether you're using a percolator coffee maker and other kinds of coffee makers, below are some of the best brands offering coarse ground coffees.

Stone Street
Stone Street is a mainstay in the coarse grind size scene, providing an impressive cold brew blend with a full flavor profile. Although it's ideal for cold brews, it's equally suitable for hot brew extraction. It has its fair share of pros, but it also has cons—with the most notable one being that when you brew it hot using coffee makers, it tends to become very bitter.

If you're looking for organic coffee, Bizzi is an excellent choice, creating unique blends that can make any taste buds happy. Although its extracted coffee result varies on how long you steep your coffee grounds, it's one of the best blends you can use at home.

Primos coffee provides a mild flavor with low acidity, sweet and smooth notes. It's a great beginner coarse grind coffee as its softer flavor profile isn't too overwhelming for most people. However, one of its cons is that it isn't suitable for hot brews like the French press, giving you limited options.

Stone Cold Jo
Stone cold Jo is a staple among coarse grind size coffee enthusiasts, and you don't need to add any other flavor to get the perfect cup. It provides a punchy and well-rounded taste, making it the ideal morning coffee blend for everyone. However, like most cold brew blends, its coffee is coarse with a fine grind mix. It's made from natural ingredients across the world, using 100% Arabica coffee beans.

Is Folgers Coffee Coarse Ground?

Folgers is a coffee brand produced in the United States and loved across the world. It has become a part of every coffee lover's home, making it one of the largest-selling ground coffee manufacturers in the United States—and it's also one of the most popular coffee creamer brands out there. Folgers classic roast consists of robusta and arabica beans, providing a balanced out blend that caters to all tastes. However, the brand doesn't offer exclusively coarse coffees, but their ground coffee is medium-fine, making it versatile enough to use for most coffee makers. Folgers is a great all-around brand that provides several coffee products for the convenience and pleasure of all.

The Folders medium roast coffee has become a modern morning essential, adding a silver lining to most hectic days, providing a finely roasted and rich-tasting brew. You can use Folgers for cold brews or drip coffee. Folgers also offer decaf versions for those sensitive to caffeine, giving you a chance to enjoy decent and convenient coffees at home. Although the coffee brand has a notorious reputation among avid coffee enthusiasts, it's one of the best options you have for fast and convenient brewing, providing your morning fixes without any issues.

Where to Buy Coarse Ground Coffee

Now that we've established there's more to coffee than perfecting the brew ratio or following the ideal brewing temperature and grind size does matter—and you're eager to try a robust cup of French press or cold brew coffee, where to buy coarse ground coffee? Coarse refers to the size of coffee particles, and most people would recommend using manual grinders and grinding whole beans yourself at home for the freshest brews. Although it yields quality coffee, it's not always a practical choice, especially for busy and working individuals. The next best thing is to buy pre-ground coffees. You can buy coarse grinds at your local roasters or a grocery store.

Several online and offline stores offer coarse grinds, with their main differences being their quality and accessibility. It's nearly impossible to know the quality of coffee available at the offline stores. There are no other product perspectives, whereas buying one online lets you see past reviews from former consumers for the exact product—giving you better insight. So, if you're going for the online route, make sure to read the reviews for each blend you may like or look up each one's coffee facts. Amazon is an excellent start for online shopping.

Meanwhile, if you're considering buying your coffee at the local grocery store or supermarket, look for grounds with "coarse ground" on their label. There are several coffee brands available in these options, and someone who likes to try out new brands or doesn't' know much about different brands can get lost. So, before heading to buy your coffee, do research and avoid settling for less-than-ideal brews.

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Conclusion: How to Enjoy Coarse Ground Coffee

To enjoy coarse grind coffee to the fullest, brew them the right way. Coarse grinds are generally best for French press, cold brew, percolator, and cowboy coffee. Although your choices are limited, you can still use your coarse ground coffee to make some tasty and robust brews following any of these methods. Once you get the coarseness right, you'll be enjoying home-brewed and barista-quality coffees at home in no time. You have two ways of getting coarse ground coffee, buying pre-ground coffee, or buying fresh coffee beans to grind at home.

Although pre-ground coffee can be convenient if you want to enjoy your brews to the fullest, grind the coffee beans fresh. That way, your cup will provide the coffee's robust flavor, retain crisp acidity, and a balanced mouthfeel. When grinding your coffee beans, make sure to use quality grinders to get more consistent results, giving you fresh coffee every time.

Hopefully, this article helps you understand why you should be using coarse grounds for some brewing techniques and how you can get that grind at home. If you haven't tried brewing using this specialty coffee, consider buying or making it at home to create a robust and energizing brew at home—perking up your mornings like never before.


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