What Size Grounds Should You Use for Drip Coffee? The Ultimate Guide!

When it comes to making the perfect cup of coffee, there are many factors to consider – the type of coffee beans, the water temperature, and of course, the grind size. One popular method of brewing coffee is using a drip coffee maker. But what size grounds should you use for drip coffee? This ultimate guide will help you understand the importance of grind size and how it affects the flavor of your coffee.

Understanding Grind Sizes and their Effects

Before we delve into the specifics of grind sizes for drip coffee, let’s take a moment to understand what grind size actually means. Grind size refers to the coarseness or fineness of the coffee particles. Different brewing methods require different grind sizes to extract the optimal flavors from the beans.

The grind size for drip coffee falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. It is coarser than espresso and Turkish coffee but finer than French press or cold brew. The size of the coffee grounds influences the rate of extraction during the brewing process, affecting the strength and taste of the final cup.

Extra Coarse Grind

Extra coarse grind is the largest grind size available and is typically used for cold brew coffee. The larger particles require a longer steeping time to extract the desired flavors. Using extra coarse grounds in a drip coffee maker would result in a weak and under-extracted cup of coffee.

Coarse Grind

Coarse grind is a step finer than extra coarse and is often used for French press coffee. This grind size is not suitable for drip coffee as it can lead to a slow extraction process and a muddy cup of coffee. The water will take longer to pass through the grounds, resulting in over-extraction and bitterness.

Medium Coarse Grind

This is the grind size that is most commonly recommended for drip coffee. It is slightly finer than coarse grind but still retains a noticeable texture. The water passes through the grounds at an optimal rate, ensuring a well-extracted and flavorful cup of coffee. Medium coarse grind strikes the perfect balance between extraction time and flavor.

Medium Grind

Medium grind is finer than medium coarse and is often used for pour-over coffee or coffee makers with a cone-shaped filter. It is not ideal for standard drip coffee makers as the water may pass through the grounds too quickly, resulting in a weak and watery coffee. However, if you prefer a milder cup of coffee, this grind size might be suitable for you.

Medium Fine Grind

Moving further along the grind size spectrum, we reach medium fine grind. This grind size is finer than medium but coarser than fine grind. It is often used for espresso machines or Moka pots. Using a medium fine grind for drip coffee can result in a slightly bolder flavor profile, but you run the risk of over-extraction if the water flow is too slow.

Fine Grind

Fine grind is considerably smaller than medium fine and is commonly used for espresso or AeroPress brewing methods. Using a fine grind for drip coffee will result in over-extraction and a bitter taste. The water will take too long to pass through the grounds, extracting unwanted compounds and tannins from the coffee.

Extra Fine Grind

Extra fine grind is the smallest grind size available, typically used for Turkish coffee. This grind size is not suitable for drip coffee as the water will struggle to pass through the fine particles, resulting in a clogged filter and a weak cup of coffee.

Choosing the Right Grind Size

Now that you have a better understanding of the various grind sizes, how do you choose the right one for your drip coffee maker? It ultimately depends on personal preference, but there are a few general guidelines to keep in mind.

If you’re using a standard drip coffee maker with a flat-bottomed filter, a medium coarse grind will provide a balanced and flavorful cup of coffee. This grind size allows for a proper extraction without any bitterness.

However, if you have a cone-shaped filter, you might consider using a medium grind. The tapered shape of the filter allows for a faster water flow, so a slightly finer grind will help ensure that the water doesn’t pass through too quickly, resulting in a weak brew.

It’s important to note that these recommendations are not set in stone. The type of coffee beans, the age of the beans, and personal taste preferences can all influence the ideal grind size for your drip coffee maker. Don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust accordingly until you find the perfect balance of flavor and strength.


In conclusion, when it comes to drip coffee, the grind size plays a crucial role in the overall flavor and strength of your cup. While the specific grind size might vary depending on the type of coffee maker and personal preference, a medium coarse grind is generally a safe bet for most drip coffee makers. Remember that the goal is to extract the optimal flavors from the beans without introducing any bitterness or over-extraction.

So, the next time you’re brewing a fresh pot of drip coffee, take a moment to consider the grind size and its impact on your final cup. Experiment with different sizes, adjust to your taste, and enjoy the rich and flavorful experience that a well-ground cup of drip coffee can offer.

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