Coffee Grind Issues: How Big Is Table Salt?
One stumbling block is the vocabulary we use to talk about grind size. How many times have you read a brew recipe that calls for a grind size of “table salt,” “kosher sea salt,” or “fine sand?”
The problem is that many people read these descriptions and don’t actually know what size kosher sea salt is. Even if they do, this is a far cry from any sort of precision measurement. So, this can make replicating recipes or calibrating grinders extremely difficult.
In order to ensure consistent grind sizes, we need a universal language. Sometimes, you can refer to the settings on your grinder. The Baratza Sette 30, for example, uses numbers 1–30. This option isn’t possible with all grinders, however. For many hand grinders, you simply adjust the grind by twisting an unmarked cog – meaning you can’t communicate which ‘setting’ you’ve used.
What’s more, since burrs and blades dull over time, two grinders of the same model can still grind differently. In fact, the same grinder may produce different-sized grounds from one season to the next.
And of course, if you wish to use a recipe from someone with a different brand of grinder, “setting 10” will be no help at all.