The stovetop coffee brewing method is a tradition in Italy. Many people worldwide cannot imagine starting their day without any coffee. While there are many types of coffees that one can have, the most classical one is an espresso.
Espresso can be made in an automatic coffee machine or a stovetop espresso maker. While the taste might vary a bit from method to method, and machine to machine, one can master the art of making a flavorful espresso with practice.
To grind coffee for making coffee in a stovetop espresso maker, you must grind it finely in a burr grinder.
Types of Coffee Grinds
One of the most important factors for brewing a balanced cup of coffee is the grind size. Grind size is the coarseness level of coffee beans once ground for brewing.
In order to get flavorful coffee, the coffee beans should be ground finely. While there are 3 main categories of coffee grinds, they can be divided into more categories depending upon the type of coffee you prefer.
Coarsely grounded coffee beans mean that the beans were not pulverized finely, resulting in a coarse grind like chunky sea salt. There will be large pieces of beans which means water will pass through these pieces fairly quickly, resulting in lesser flavor being extracted. It also prevents the invasion of small particles into the coffee and the presence of grainy particles in your coffee.
This category of grind size is mainly used to brew French press and cold coffee because the water gets soaked into the beans but still provides a smooth flavor with no gritty particles. Coarse grind mainly consists of two sub-categories: Extra Coarse and Medium Coarse.
Extra coarse means bigger grinds like peppercorns. This type of grind is better if the beans need to be soaked in water without making the coffee taste bitter or changing the consistency of the coffee. This makes extra coarse grinds perfect for cold brews and best for long water submersions.
Medium-coarse grind falls between medium and coarse grounds, which means they are a mixture of pebbles and sand. This grind takes approximately 2 minutes to get extracted completely. This grind is perfect for the French press.
The medium-ground coffee has a finer texture than a medium-coarse grind, making it look like dirt. Most commonly found in siphon and drip coffee, this ground category has a texture between fine and coarse.
Medium ground coffee is best suited for drip coffee since it does not compromise the coffee’s flavor regardless of the fast-brewing process. As for Siphon coffee, this type of grind is perfect because if the coffee particles are too small or too big, they can cause clogging in your coffee machine.
Medium grind allows water to flow easily and provides the required taste and consistency.
This category of coffee grind is perfect for a cone-shaped pour-over coffee because a very fine grind would pass through the filter, whereas a chunky grind would block the funnel. This grind will allow water to flow easily without causing these issues while also providing the perfect taste and texture.
Finely ground coffee requires lesser time to brew because of its sandy consistency. This espresso grind size is perfect for making an espresso on a stovetop or in a machine. This fine coffee grind allows water to soak up the flavor fully to provide a robust flavor.
The extra-fine coffee grind looks like powdered sugar. Turkish coffee requires an extremely fine grind of coffee beans so that the coffee has small coffee bits in it.
How to grind coffee for a stovetop Espresso Maker
To make a flavorful espresso, the most important step is grinding the coffee, for which a good quality espresso grinder is required. In order to grind coffee for a stovetop espresso maker, also known as a Moka Pot, you must use a Burr grinder in order to get a fine espresso grind.
Burr grinders produce a consistent and even grind by moving the coffee beans between a fixed surface and two grinding wheels. These grinders grind a few beans at a time, ensuring that the grind is perfectly equal to brewing your coffee.
One problem that burr grinder users often face is the residue left behind, which adversely impacts the flavor of the next cup of coffee. For this reason, the grinders have to be cleaned properly. Burr blades also have to be replaced after a certain number of pounds have been ground through them.
To check whether the grind is perfect or not, one can do the pinch test. If the grind is too powdery, it will clump together, leading to over-extraction. On the other hand, if the grind is too coarse, it will not clump, leading to a weaker shot.
Best grind size for Espresso
The best grind size to make Espresso is the fine grind of about 0.8mm, which is slightly smaller in size than sugar particles. This fine espresso grind is needed since the coffee grinds come into contact with water for a very short period, so a large surface area allows more flavor to be extracted. The grind used for stovetop espresso makers should be finer than that used for espresso machines.
Brewing espresso is one of the most technical tasks since it is extremely sensitive to the grind size of coffee beans. A little change in the grind can cause drastic changes in the taste of your brewed coffee. It must also be considered that the espresso grind size for each machine or stovetop espresso maker would vary, and only practice can help you identify the perfect grind size.
How to use stovetop Espresso Maker
Now that you have understood the best grind size for Espresso and the method to grind it, it is important to understand the steps of using a stovetop Espresso maker. This is important since the method of using a stovetop espresso maker differs from the method of using a regular drip coffee maker.
- Heat water in a kettle to prevent your stovetop Moka from getting too hot.
- Grind your coffee beans for a medium-fine grind.
- Fill the pressure release valve with the heated, filtered water till the highest indicated point.
- On top of the lower chamber, place the basket.
- Fill your grounds cup with medium-fine coffee grounds and level it off. You can lightly press the grounds downwards but do not tap.
- Place the pot on the stove with an open lid. Use medium to low heat to brew your coffee.
- Remove from heat when thick coffee starts coming out of the spout.
- Stop the brewing process by placing the espresso maker under cold water.
- Enjoy your sweet, smooth, and dark Espresso.
We believe that all coffee flavors are unique and must be tested, but coffee makers must keep in mind that every type of coffee requires a different type of ground, has a different grinding process, and gives a different taste and texture. One must choose their favorite type of coffee and follow the relevant method to ensure that the coffee is flavorful and has the correct consistency.