GUIDE TO BUYING A COFFEE GRINDER
Guide To Buying a Coffee Grinder
Buying pre-ground coffee is easy and cheap, and for anyone satisfied with the cup of coffee they get from it, that's great. But if you've found your way to this guide, then you probably belong in a different category of a coffee drinker.
When it comes to coffee brewing, switching from pre-ground to fresh ground is one of the most striking changes you can make at home.
If that's the kind of coffee drinker you are, then our buying guide to coffee grinders can help you with one of the most important tools you need to create that perfect cup every time.
Burr Grinders vs. Blade Grinders
The burrs are the part of the grinder that crushes the coffee beans into a uniform size which is essential for creating an awesome espresso/coffee. Some burr grinders are also larger and heavier than blade grinders, and they can also use more energy. Ceramic burrs typically last longer and are better for achieving the level of fineness you need for espresso, so burr grinders with these typically cost more.
The downside to blade grinders is that the grind can vary from powder to chunks and the coffee picks up a static charge, which will make it stick to just about everything and therefore, is very messy. The grinder feels powerful in your hands and includes a slip-resistant bottom which comes in handy for countertop use. A good coffee grinder is one that will evenly grind the coffee, making sure that every particle of the cut coffee comes out equal size. For this reason, the resulting flavor of the coffee ground by a blade grinder is inferior to that produced by a burr grinder.
Conical vs Flat Burr Grinders
Burr grinders do come in two different types: conical and flat plate. Both types of grinders are known for their flexibility and quality. Though the conical and the flat burr grinder essentially do the same thing, the primary difference between them is the shape of their rings.
Flat burr grinders have two rings of burrs that sit horizontally to the ground. One faces upwards and the other face down. Coffee beans drop between the burrs, are ground through the burrs and then drop again. Flat burr grinders cost more and are better at producing consistency in particle size.
Conical burrs have a cone-shaped ring that sits inside another cone-shaped ring that’s hallow. Beans are directed down through the burrs at a slight angle, but the path is essentially vertical. Most non-commercial grinders use a conical burr set. Conical burr grinders are generally quieter than flat burr grinders.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Coffee Grinder
For a small appliance that performs a fairly simple task, there are hundreds of coffee grinders available for you to buy. All offering a shade of similar features but with different quality at a variety of price points. No matter how picky you are with your grinding requirements, consider these factors before buying any coffee grinder.
Particle Size and Consistency
Achieving fineness is especially important for espresso lovers, so if that's you, make a point to look for a coffee grinder known to produce consistently fine coffee grounds. If you drink an array of coffee types, then you'll want a grinder that provides enough settings to get the perfect consistency for each one. The size of the grind you will need is directly related to the type of equipment used in brewing your coffee, how fresh the coffee is, and how it is roasted.
As with all other purchases you make, coffee grinders that cost more will often be made from better materials that are durable and designed to last longer. The quality of grind one gets with a high-end hand grinder gets close to the grind quality that one can get from high-end commercial grinders (not all the way, but close enough).
Ease of Use and Cleaning
A good grinder should justify the price, it should help you make much more delicious coffee, last for years with proper maintenance and be simple to operate and easy to clean with just nothing more than a quick wipe.
If you're just spending less amount on a cheap blade grinder, how long it lasts may not be all that big of a consideration, but spending a high price on a burr grinder though, you'll want to know you can count on it to last.
If cost is a particularly big concern for you, then a blade grinder may make the most sense.
Size and Capacity
If you'll be counting on your coffee grinder each day for that morning jolt you want a model that fits conveniently on the counter or in a cabinet or wherever you'd like to store your grinder. Be sure to consider your coffee brewing method of choice, it's also important to assess how much capacity of coffee you want it to be able to grind at once so you won't have to grind multiple batches.