For the freshest and best tasting coffee, you should grind it right before brewing. This will give you a rich strong flavor. Also, it is very important to grind the coffee in the right form for the brewing you will do. Grinding too fine or coarse for certain brewing methods will not work.
Generally, the shorter the brewing cycle, the finer the grind required to produce optimal flavor extraction. The longer the brewing cycle, the coarser the grind required. Fine grinds expose more of the coffee's surface area to the water and the coffee's essential oils are released faster. Longer brewing methods require a coarse grind to avoid over-extraction. For example, espresso brewers can produce a cup of espresso in just 20 seconds, so they need a very fine grind. A grind that is mismatched to the brewing method can produce a bitter, overly strong coffee, or one that is weak and lacking in flavor.
Blade grinders actually just blend your coffee beans. They are cheap, easy and quick to use, and readily available. However, blade grinders are very inconsistent; you may end up with chunks of beans and powder. Also, the blades add the element of friction and heat. This makes the coffee lose its essence and aroma, and taste burned.
When using blade grinders, press the button at quick intervals of 2-5 seconds. This prevents the beans from heating up. Also, holding the machine firmly with both hands, shake the grinder up and down while you grind for better consistency. A course grind requires 7-10 sec of grinding. A fine grind requires 15-20 sec.
Burr grinders are clearly the best way to grind your coffee because they crush your coffee instead of slicing it. This way, the consistency is much more even and no heat is added. However, they do cost more than blade grinders. Many commercial coffee grinders use these machines, but there are many countertop models.
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