We've said it before, and we'll say it again: The key to good coffee starts with the beans. OK, fine, there's more to it than that, but it is the coffee bean that turns water into sweet, sweet coffee. No matter how excellent of a coffee grinder you buy, the grounds won't be 100 percent uniform, which leads to fines, the dusty residue in your grounds, and boulders, those big chunk bits in your grounds. The sweet spot, AKA the grounds that are just the perfect size for your preferred brewing methods, need to be isolated. That's where a coffee sieve comes in. Here's everything you need to know about this nerdy coffee tool and a few to try out.
What Is a Coffee Sieve?
Coffee sieves are essentially devices that sift ground coffee to separate the grounds that are either too small or too large, the fines or the boulders, respectively. If you've ever sifted flour before, a coffee sieve is sort of like that. You want to reduce the outliers in your grounds because fines result in muddier flavors and boulders don't give up enough of their flavor. As a result, having varying sized coffee grounds can mar the final brew's potential.
Do You Need a Coffee Sieve?
A coffee sieve won't save you if you're using old beans, and it certainly won't help if you haven't nailed down every other aspect in your brewing. The main thing to worry about is getting the correct grind size for your brewing method, whether that means nailing the right coarse grind for your French press or the right medium-coarse grind for your pour-overs. A high-end grinder will still produce grounds that aren't perfectly uniform, so the sifter will eliminate them from being brewed. The coffee sieve might even be good if you use a blade grinder (rather than the universally accepted burr grinder for coffee), because blade grinders notoriously produce poorly ground coffee beans.
Casual coffee drinkers probably won't taste the difference when they drink coffee that was brewed with sifted grounds versus non-sifted grounds, but those who really care about their coffee's flavor will be able to discern a better cup of coffee. We recommend getting a coffee sifter if you're a true coffee aficionado or if you're trying to turn into one. Also, if you've already invested in all the other brewing essentials, a coffee sieve would make a worthwhile purchase. With a sieve, you might finally get a coffee that nails all the flavor descriptors on the bag of beans.
Two Coffee Sieves to Try
Kruve Sifter Plus
The Kruve Sifter is probably the most popular coffee sieve out there. It has 15 grind sieves, and you put two into the sifter — one to remove the fines and one to remove the boulders. The double filter makes the Kruve Sifter produce some of the most uniform grounds you'll ever find. This specific model also includes 10 sieves to organize beans by their size for bean grading.
Fellow Shimmy Coffee Sieve
Fellow makes a ton of nerdy coffee gear, and its Shimmy is one of its newest products. The sieve only works on eliminating the fines from the coffee, so thicker grounds may still end up in your coffee bed. The Shimmy is equipped with a 200 micron filter, and the user shakes their grounds to eliminate grounds that are smaller than 200 microns, which is what you don't want no matter how you're brewing your coffee.