Just how finely you should grind the coffee depends on what you use to brew it. A percolator takes a coarse grind; an espresso pot uses a very fine grind. The Starbucks website (starbucks.com) recommends “a very fine grind, 30-35 seconds in a blade grinder” for coffee used in an espresso machine. Not sure what grind to use? Ask your coffee vendor or check the manufacturer’s instructions provided by your coffee maker.
Your timing also will be affected by the grinder you use. Models vary. There are blade grinders the whirr like little food processors and burr grinders, in which the bean is ground between two grinding plates; the latter type is more expensive but is said to produce a more uniform grind.
To ensure the best tasting coffee, “The New Food Lover’s Companion” recommends you buy fresh whole coffee beans and grind only enough beans to brew a pot of coffee. Whole beans can be stored in an “airtight container in a cool, dry place” for up to 2 weeks, the Companion notes, while whole beans may be frozen for up to 3 months. Ground coffee should be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks; ground coffee stored at room temperature will begin “to go stale in a couple of days.”