Coffee Grinding Fundamentals

coffee grind grinder particle size distribution |


You’ve got your gooseneck kettle, your pour-over kit, your scale, and some excellent coffee you just bought. What if you’re missing the most important thing after the coffee itself: a grinder? A good grinder that’s dialed in correctly, whether hand grinder or electric, will take you from an average coffee to an excellent one. This essential piece of equipment should never be compromised if you are aiming to get the best out of any coffee you take home.


Haven’t a clue as to what grinder to use? Skittle Lane now stocks two/ one of the hottest grinders on the specialty coffee market: The Ode Brew Grinder by Fellow and the Porlex Mini Grinder II. These grinders are perfect for making all kinds of filter style coffees— pour-overs, aeropress, french press, batch brews, and more. Check them out on our store.


Let’s get into why a good grinder is so important, and why you should invest in one.

It’s all about the particle size.


Think of brewing coffee like a (tasty) science experiment. You want to control as many variables in the experiment as you can. This will allow you, the scientist, to better understand what’s going on and learn how to control your brew quality even better next time around. Your main controls for brewing are:


  • Water temperature,
  • Time,
  • Ratio of coffee/water (measured in weight),
  • Grind size, or more specifically particle size distribution (PSD).


At Skittle Lane we keep our brew recipes fairly consistent, meaning we use mostly the same parameters for water temperature, time, and ratio, so the only variable we really need to change is the grind. Having only one variable in an experiment makes things way more simple.


The reason you want to invest in a great grinder comes down to its particle size distribution (PSD). This is the measure of the size of the ground coffee particles once ground through a certain grinder and setting. A grinder with poor particle size distribution will have both large chunks and tiny dust-like particles come out of its grind. You want the opposite: a consistent size of ground coffee particles as similar in size as possible. You also want to be able to adjust this grind size so you can fine-tune your grinder with precision. This way you can get the best out of any coffee you put through it, by steadily incrementing the grind setting to match what tastes better in your extraction.


Only the Best Hardware


We only endorse the best products on the market for you. One-up your home brew game with the Ode Brew Grinder, now available on the Skittle Lane store.


If you’re looking for a more entry level and portable option, the Porlex Mini Grinder II is for you. It doesn’t require any electricity, just good old fashioned you cranking the grinder. It’s made to be easy and only takes a minute to grind a single cup of coffee. It’s perfect for those on a quick work or camping trip who don’t want to compromise their coffee quality.


If you’re ready to begin brewing at home, here is a great starting recipe: the Skittle Lane Pour Over Brew Guide. This recipe is made specifically for you to brew an awesome Skittle Lane-quality pour over.

Grinder Troubleshooting


Here are some common troubleshooting questions that can be solved with your grinder. Is your coffee:


Harsh or bitter?

Try coarsening the grind so the water filters through the coffee grinds faster, shortening the brew time, and creating a less-hostile brew.



Try tightening the grind so the water filters through the coffee grinds slower, extending the brew time, and creating a more flavourful brew.


Adjustments not working?

You may need to check in on your grinder. Maintenance is key, especially when you’ve invested in a state-of-the-art grinder. Remember to purge your grinder by running a small amount of coffee through it  before each brew. Clean it regularly, and make sure your burrs don’t get damaged by only running coffee through it. Maintenance issues can happen to even the best of us and require old parts to be replaced. We replace our grinders' blades every few months because of heavy cafe use. If you’re making a pour-over once per day at home your grinder may only need a checkup once a year if you take good care of it.

Get your grind on!


Now you know the basics of coffee grinding, why not try it for yourself! Testing out different grind settings can lead to some amazing discoveries. You may find that you’ve been missing out on the best a certain coffee has to offer simply because your setting was slightly off. If you have more specific questions, come into any Skittle Lane coffee bar and ask what grind settings and grinders work for the unique brew you like to make at home. Our baristi love to help.


See you soon!


The Skittle Lane Team.


Image credits: Fellow Products

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