A Barista’s Guide on How to Choose the Best Coffee Grinder

What makes the best coffee grinder? Is a manual coffee grinder better? What’s the difference between a burr and blade bean grinder?

Buying whole coffee beans to grind them some minutes before you make your coffee is the best way to brew the perfect cup of coffee. For this reason, you need to purchase a coffee grinder.

If you are new to the world of coffee grinders, you might have difficulties when choosing a coffee grinder given the plethora of models available on the market today.

When you buy a coffee grinder, you get full control over the process so you can brew consistent and even better-tasting coffee. That’s because you won’t be using pre-ground coffee beans as you will be grinding them yourself at home before brewing.

But do you know how to choose the best coffee grinder?

We understand there are various options when it comes to bean grinders and that’s why we have put together this complete guide to show you exactly how to choose a good coffee grinder. We will also talk about the difference between the two types of coffee grinders- burr grinder and blade grinder.

Note that all grinders work the same way; only that some have advanced features and settings. And while many coffee lovers would prefer buying a coffee maker with grinder, it’s always not the best option for beginners.

Why You Need to Buy a Good Coffee Grinder

It’s cheaper and convenient to use pre-ground beans. However, not all people prefer pre-ground coffee; besides, pre-ground beans may not have the freshness required to brew the perfect cup of coffee. That’s why you may want to grind your beans right before brewing. This way, you rest assured of a cup of coffee with the aromas and flavors you are looking for.

Here are some of the reasons why you need to purchase the right coffee grinder.

You want a consistent cup of coffee

When it comes to brewing the perfect cup of coffee, consistency is everything. Inconsistent grinds will make coffee that’s sour or bitter.

Moreover, when you use a poor-quality coffee grinder, you will either get finer or coarser grinds. The coarser grinds may lead to under-extraction hence giving you sour and unbalanced coffee while the finer grinds will result in over-extraction hence resulting in a bitter taste.

The best coffee grinder will give you more control over your brew

The temperature of the day, time, humidity and age of the coffee roasts can make or break your coffee. For instance, the higher the humidity the more moisture your beans will absorb. If you grind the beans yourself, you will have more control over the process.

To get the right grind size for your brew method.

Different brewing methods have different grind size requirements. You must make sure you are using the right grind size for your recipe. As we have mentioned earlier, pre-ground coffee is convenient and cheap but you may end up buying the wrong size for your brewing method. Grinding coffee beans yourself gives you the option to choose the right settings on your grinder.

Pre-ground coffee may be stale

Usually, coffee starts to release aromas and flavors immediately after grinding. The result of this is a stale cup of coffee. A cup of coffee brewed with beans that were ground right before brewing smells fresh is full of aromas and flavors and tastes sweet.

Here are some key points to put in mind when buying a coffee grinder:

  • The noise level- Ideally, a good coffee grinder is quiet during operation. If you have a coffee maker with grinder, you must admit that the machine tends to produce some noise.

Well, of course, a grinder must produce some noise, but not too loud to wake up your neighbors in the morning.

  • It should be easy to operate- While it may seem a good option to go for a high-end grinder, sometimes these machines aren’t easy to work with. A good rule of thumb is to start with a manual burr grinder as long as it doesn’t have too many complex settings.
  • Portability- Sometimes you may want to carry your grinder with you when going on a vacation. A lightweight coffee grinder is convenient and easy to carry around than a heavy one.
  • The design- Your coffee grinder should complement the interior décor of your house as well as other kitchen appliances. And if you have a coffee maker, you want to purchase a grinder that matches pleasantly.

How to Choose the Right Grinder

Now that you know why you need a grinder, the next thing is to know the different types available on the market today.

Generally, there are two types of grinders- burr and blade grinder.

While the two work almost similar, they offer different levels of quality.

Blade grinders

Blade grinders, like the name suggests, use blades to grind coffee beans. With these types of grinders, you control the grind size through timing. If you run the grinder for too long, you will get finer grinds. These grinders are cheap but aren’t consistent- you may end up with coffee that’s partially coarse or partially powder.

Besides, as the blades rotate fast, they generate heat which may burn the coffee hence impairing the quality of the flavor.

These types of grinders make the best option for beginner coffee drinkers.

Burr grinders

Burr grinders use two bars to grind coffee. Unlike the blade grinders that slash coffee beans, these grinders crush them hence the reason why they produce consistent grinds.

Well, these grinders also produce coarse and fine grinds but not the same as you could get with blade grinders.

There are two different types of burr grinders namely: conical burrs and flat burrs.

Conical burrs- Conical burrs are said to be more accurate as they are adjusted by degrees. These types of burr grinders are also affordable and silent during operation.

Flat burrs- These burr grinders are slightly costly than conical burrs but they produce consistent grounds.

With these grinders, you adjust the machine depending on the grind size you want for your brewing method. For instance, if you want finer grounds, you move the disks together or further apart if you want coarser grinds.

Burr grinders are also made with two different materials- steel and ceramic. As you already know, steel is a thermal conductor hence resulting in a quick heating and cooling action. On the other hand, ceramic burrs will take longer to heat up and cool down.

Ceramic burrs are more costly but they last longer although they are delicate.

Important Points to Consider

Even if you ask the experts, they will tell you that there is no such thing as a perfect coffee grinder. However, there are important factors to consider when buying a coffee grinder. Therefore, as you search for your coffee grinder, consider the following factors.

1. Size  

The size of the grinder is one of the first key factors to consider before buying it. Usually, kitchen cabinets and counters are small regardless of the size of the kitchen.

And because you are looking for a coffee grinder, chances are that you have a coffee maker hence the need to choose a grinder that won’t take up much space.

Before you begin your search for a coffee grinder, you must meas