Can You Regrind Coffee to Make It Finer?




can you regrind coffee to make it finer

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Listen, I’ve done it, and everything worked out just fine. No pun intended. Now ask me if you should regrind your coffee.

Technically speaking, regrinding coffee will make a coarser ground finer. But the results in taste are hit or miss. And the damage to your machine can be disastrous.

So think carefully before you decide to regrind your coffee. But hey, if you’ve already decided, do yourself a favor and keep reading. It’s best to know what can happen, both good and bad.

Can You Regrind Ground Coffee?

Can you regrind ground coffee
Regrinding coffee to get a finer coffee ground is doable. But you should know the risks involved.

Sure you can!

Regrinding coffee is an option available to coffee lovers looking to get the most from their beans.

I won’t go into all the nitty-gritty of grind benefits in this article. But those new to brewing should know that a fine or extra fine grind has a place and purpose. So maybe you have a good reason to grind your coffee grounds a second time.

But once the coffee has been ground, the flavors you’re after have been freed. The longer you wait to brew or, in this case, regrind, the less tasty your cup will be.

less tasty cup of coffee no flavor
Like I said earlier, it’s hit or miss on taste.

Yet another reason why I prefer to grind my own beans.

Potential Problems With Regrinding Coffee

Two central problems come with regrinding your coffee. 

The first issue is the unavoidable alteration of a brew’s flavor, strength, and overall taste.

first problem is changing the taste of coffee
Are you willing to put today’s first cup of coffee at risk?

The second problem with grinding your coffee beans a second time is the potential to jam your machine.

It’s your choice, but you’re playing with fire if you aren’t cautious. I’ll tell you just how this happens. And I’ll let you know how to avoid it!

Change in Taste

First, a little disclaimer. A change in taste by regrinding coffee isn’t always a problem.

change in taste isnt always bad
Depending on the need, changing the taste might be what the doctor ordered.

Sometimes your pre-ground coffee is too coarse, and any decent espresso calls for something more robust. Preferably this would have been ground finer the first time, but c’est la vie.

You see, the finer the grind, the stronger the taste. This includes the beans’ natural flavors and caffeine intensity.

Not so bad so far, right? Well, if you’re making Turkish coffee or espresso, no problem. But if you’re brewing coffee with a standard drip coffee maker or French press, expect a bitter cup when you’re done.

Now I’m all for experimentation. In fact, it’s a good idea to try new things and not just accept the familiar sentiment as gospel. Just know that messing with the taste of coffee is a slippery slope in the morning.

Jam Your Machine

jam your grinder
Jamming your grinder can turn into a costly repair if you’re short on luck.

The second hazard you desperately want to avoid is jamming your coffee grinder.

Yes, this can happen! Not so much for manual grinders, but electric grinders are more sensitive.

When you set an electric coffee grinder on a fine or extra fine setting, it’s programmed to give you an even cut and texture from a whole coffee bean.

Instead, you’re putting in coarse pre-ground coffee. 

This change in size and volume will cause grounds to get stuck in parts of your machine that they shouldn’t be.

Even if it doesn’t jam, it will be painful to clean.

it can be painful to clean
A dirty grinder can be like washing off sand from the beach. No area is safe from exposure.

Another cause of jamming grinders is static electricity.

I’m not making that up! There are tons of grinders, built into coffee makers and espresso machines or entirely separate, that have plastic hoppers.

For whole coffee beans, these hoppers aren’t an issue. But when you throw the grinds in, the flux of positive and negative charges creates static electricity. In turn, your grinds get stuck underneath and around your hopper.

Solutions and Some Free Advice

Are you still dead set on regrinding your coffee to make it finer? Hey, it’s alright with me.

Here’s some advice that should help you with some of the dangers you face.

Use a Burr Grinder

use a burr grinder when regrinding
A blade grinder will do in a pinch, but using a burr is the way to go.

It’s essential to use a burr grinder when you regrind your coffee. If you use a blade grinder, you’ll never get the fine grind you’re looking for. Burr grinders crush evenly and don’t simply chop up the pre-ground coffee.

Go Slow

If you’re regrinding with an electric grinder, slowly feed the hopper with your pre-ground coffee.

Dumping it all in at once could lead to jamming or just not getting the finer grind you’re hoping to. You have to allow the burrs time to granulate evenly.

go slow and allow the burr to grind
If you rush the process, your grinder and cup will suffer.

Not to mention, if you don’t grind in brief spurts, you’ll overheat the coarser grinds. This results in losing whatever flavor they still have.

The same goes for manual grinders. Take your time turning the crank. Going too fast gives you the same inconsistent outcome.

Use a Double Wall Espresso Basket

I’m sorry if I’ve scared you into not regrinding your coffee. But if it’s an espresso your after, there’s still hope! Have you considered using a double wall basket?

use a double wall basket if you don't want to regrind
A dual wall basket helps you not to waste that inconsistent grind.

A double wall basket also referred to as a dual wall or pressurized basket, is a second layer to a portafilter basket. These hold the coffee grinds on an espresso machine.

The second wall creates more pressure to get a finer taste from less-than-adequate coffee grounds.

It’s not perfect, but it’s better than a jammed machine or a too-bitter-to-bear cup of coffee.

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