Is This The Best Cold Brew Grind Size? All You Need To Know

Are you struggling with your homemade cold brew coffee? 

You’re doing your best and it’s still not perfect? 

Maybe the problem is the size of your coffee ground. 

The best cold brew grind size is extra coarse or coarse.  

In this article, I will explain to you how coffee grind size affects coffee brew, and which coffee grinder to use. 

So, let’s begin!

What’s The Best Cold Brew Grind Size? 

Unfortunately, even if you have premium quality coffee beans and the best equipment that doesn’t mean you will make a great coffee. 

Why is that, I hear you ask?

Well, one of the most common reasons is that you don’t have proper grind size. 

Coffee grind is one of the most overlooked factors, but essential for good-tasting coffee, including cold brew. 

Now, let’s see which coffee grind sizes are there, and which one you need for cold brew coffee.

Coffee Grind Sizes

First things first.

If you are a coffee lover, you should definitely know all grind sizes. This will help you elevate your coffee game, no matter how are you brewing coffee. 

The main reason why grind size matters is the process of extraction. When the water moves through the grounds, it extracts coffee’s distinctive flavors and caffeine. 

Imagine ground coffee beans. 

Fine grounds have a lot more surface exposed which will get in contact with water. So, water will extract more coffee from the fine ground, and less from the coarser grind.

To enjoy a perfectly balanced taste of extracted coffee, you want to avoid over-extraction and under-extraction. 

Basically, you’re aiming for the Goldilocks zone of the coffee grind – not too coarse, not too fine.

To manage that, you will need the right grind size for a particular brewing method. If the ground you’re using is too coarse for the method you’re using, it will be under-extracted, and vice versa. 

So, what’s the best grind setting for each brewing method? 

Here is the coffee grind size chart that can help you:  

GRIND SIZEFEELS LIKEBREWING METHOD
Extra coarse Pepper cornsCold Brew Coffee Cowboy Coffee
Coarse Sea salt Cold Brew CoffeeFrench Press
Medium-coarseRough sandChemex Clever Dripper 
Medium Regular sandCone-shaped Pour-over Flat Bottom Drip Coffee Machines Siphon Aeropress (with 3+ minute brew time)
Medium-fineTable saltCone-shaped Pour-over  Aeropress (with 2-3 minute brew time)
Fine SugarEspresso Moka Pot 
Extra-fine FlourTurkish coffee

The Best Grind Size for Cold Brew 

coffee beans and grind coffee in a coffee spoon

Cold brew requires long, cold immersion brew process. This means coffee sits soaked in cold water for 12 to 24 hours. 

In a nutshell, in order for these grounds to steep slowly and avoid over-extraction and bitterness, it is best to use an extra coarse coffee grind. Coarse will also do the work, but don’t use a finer grind than that. 

The reason is that the extra coarse grind has a smaller surface area that will come into the contact with water during the brewing process. 

So they are safe to leave it soaked in the water for a longer period of time.  

Extra coarse grind will make the filtration process easier. It allows water to spread through easily and absorb all the taste and goodness evenly.  

But, have in mind that the finer the grind is, the less time it will need to brew. 

Technically, you can use medium grind or fine grind sizes for cold brewing. 

But, you will end up with a bitter coffee you won’t enjoy. 

The reason for this is the larger surface area that gets in contact with water. 

Also, a fine or extra fine grind will clump together, become too dense, and won’t allow easy water flow. The water will be trapped on top of the coffee grinds which will also increase the contact time. 

So what do you get when you combine all of this?

That’s right – you get over-extracted, oily, and bitter cold brewed coffee. 

How to Grind Coffee for a Cold Brew? 

Now that you know which size of coffee grind you need, let’s talk about grinders.

The way coffee is ground can make a huge difference in coffee taste.

But, you can get the perfect grind only with the right type and quality grinder. 

Your first choice should definitely be burr grinder. Especially when it comes to cold brew.

Let me explain to you why.

Choosing the Grinder 

coffee grinder

There are two main types of coffee grinders

  • burr grinders and 
  • blade grinders.  

A burr grinder uses two revolving abrasive surfaces, known as “the burrs”. They apply uniform pressure and crush the beans evenly into same-size particles. 

Here’s the thing:

You definitely want the consistent grind size. Otherwise, some of your grinds will be over-extracted, while others will be under-extracted. 

The final result will be a dreadful mess that won’t taste nearly as tasty – trust me.

Blade grinders actually don’t grind the coffee bean – they randomly chop it. And the result is a mix of unevenly chopped coffee beans. This can seriously mess up the coffee extraction process. 

Also – blade grinders work only if blades are spinning really fast. That means the blades are heating up when grinding coffee and additionally heating up the beans.  

On the plus side, blade grinders do cost less than burr grinders. However, if you want perfect results, a burr grinder is definitely a better choice.  

Note: If you’re overwhelmed with all the different choices of coffee grinders out there, here are some of the best grinders for cold brew

Pre-ground Coffee 

You probably heard that it is much better to use freshly ground than pre ground coffee for making a cold brew. 

One of the main reasons for that is freshness – pre ground will get stale more quickly than the whole bean.  

When you grind the coffee, a lot more surface is exposed to oxygen, and quickly losses all its qualities. Oxidation results in a less flavorful cup.  

Moisture in oxygen also has an effect on coffee. Water reacts with coffee oils which are soluble, so again, longer contact – less flavor.  

Also, you cannot control if the grinder is cleaned between grinding two different grounds, and it may cause not so pure and clean ground.  

And if it’s a store-bought coffee ground, you cannot control if the grind size is proper for the method you will use.  

My advice? 

If you want to do your coffee right, grind yourself just the right amount of beans right before brewing. 

Trust me, you will be blown away by the difference in taste.  

How to Make a Cold Brew  

One awesome thing about cold brew is that you can easily make it in your home, even if you don’t have any special equipment.

There are a few different ways to prepare cold brew coffee concentrate, depending on what kind of cold brew coffee maker you have.

I like the simple brew method that always gives me a great cold brew concentrate.

All you need to is a mason jar, a filter bag, and maybe a strainer, to make it easier.  

Here’s what you need to do to make cold brew concentrate in a mason jar:

  1. Put extra coarse ground coffee in a jar
  2. Add room temperature filtered water
  3. Stir the mixture with a stirring stick
  4. Seal the container shut
  5. Leave it out at room temperature overnight (at least 12 hours)
  6. Open the container and pour the mixture through a filter bag and/or strainer 
  7. Pour the strained mixture into a bottle or mason jar and seal it 

Concentrated cold brew can be diluted with water, milk, or cream according to your taste. 

Also, for perfectly refreshing summer coffee, put some ice cubes in.   

FAQ 

If you still have any doubts about the grind size for your cold brew coffee, look no further because I will answer some frequently asked questions. 

Does finer grind make stronger coffee? 

Yes. A finer grind means a larger surface area exposed to water. That means, at the same time, a lot more will be extracted from fine grind compared to coarse coffee grind. 

How long should I let my cold brew steep?  

The coffee brewing process for cold brew is very slow. There are different opinions, but basically, coffee should be soaked in water for between 12 and 24 hours. Have in mind that the longer coffee is steeping, the stronger it will be.  

Can you make cold brew with whole beans?  

Yes, it is possible to make cold brew coffee with whole beans. But, the process of extraction can take far more time. Just steep your whole beans into the water and wait until the brew is dark enough.

Final Thoughts 

So here’s the secret to well-prepared cold brew coffee: 

You need to use extra coarse or coarse coffee grind size.  

A coarse grind will keep all the delicious flavor without over-extracting and extra bitterness. 

If you can, try to use freshly ground coffee, it’s a game-changer. And the best grinder you can use is a burr grinder.  

Now, you are prepared to level up your cold brew game. 

And if you wanna do it even better, you can start experimenting with which type of coffee you like the most for your cold brew! 

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Tijana Veljovic
Tijana spent a few years working as a barista. Now she’s enjoying writing about everything she learned about coffee and sharing it with you. Her weapon of choice for making it through the day is a hot latte. Besides writing and coffee, she loves traveling, camping, cooking, and good music.