If you like to make your own coffee, you most likely have your own equipment. One of the most important things that you need to purchase is a coffee grinder. In fact, as long as you intend to buy a machine, whether an espresso or French Press, you should set aside a significant amount of your money to buy a grinder. This is regardless of the kind of equipment that you have because having ground coffee that’s of uniform size is an important part of making your drink. Unevenly ground coffee can only be compared to roasting vegetables that have been chopped up into different sizes with some being thin and others being very thick. Veggies that have been cut in uneven sizes and shapes will cook at different rates. This is the same way that unevenly ground coffee will not brew well.
This means that you will end up with a cup of coffee that has not been brewed well and this is something that could have been easily avoided.
In this article, we will examine different kinds of coffee grinders that are available at different prices and for different uses. This is regardless of the kind of coffee that you want to make, whether an espresso or French Press or anything in between. This is to ensure that you always have a perfect cup of coffee every time. Before going into this, read about the bad side effects of drinking coffee here.
In order to reduce the heat used when grinding and to protect the vital oils that are in the coffee, this grinder comes with stainless steel conical burrs. This ensures that the ground coffee you produce has a rich flavor. This appliance has 60 settings for grinding. You can grind from the finest espresso to French Espresso to any other size of grain that you want.
You can adjust the grind time in this appliance in 2/10 increments using the timer that it comes with. This gives you the opportunity to grind the coffee to whatever size that you want.
It is easy to insert and remove the hopper that this appliance comes with. This makes it easy to clean due to its locking system that is easy to use. If you want to make your work easier, grind the coffee directly into your favorite container or directly into a filter. This will be less messy for you to clean up.
You can find this appliance in three different colors. It has two portafilter cradles and it comes with its own cleaning brush and a ground coffee container that has a lid.
- It is quite
- Easy to clean
- Affordable for most people
- Container lid is not airtight
- Not good for French Press
- When used at its lowest settings, it might get jammed
This is a reliable appliance that does not cost an arm and a leg. It has long-lasting conical burrs. You can be able to grind even coffee particles with the machine, the same way more expensive machines would.
You can grind coffee particles that range in size from very fine to coarse particles that can be used to make an espresso. Repairing these appliances and finding its parts is not that difficult.
- Easy to clean
- Easy to use
- Have good customer service
- Small in size
- Can get your space messy, as the some of the ground coffee can get on the counter
This is a basic grinder without any fancy features. One of the key things that it has is a scale. It also has a simple interface that you can easily operate to get the grinder to perform different functions, such as changing the weights and programs. It is quite precise, such that you can weigh five batches of espresso or even five doses of filter ground coffee. The hopper can easily come off and you can adjust the strength of the coffee to your liking.
- Looks quite nice
- Has 3 grinding modes
- Not too noisy
- Drip grind that is consistent
- Can get messy
- The coarse setting can result in an inconsistent grind.
This classy grinder is quite affordable and works quite well. This is a solid appliance that will get the job done. It is quite good for beginners, who have been purchasing pre-ground coffee. It also comes in five different colors.
- Comes with a two-year guarantee
- It is compact in size
- Has 14 ground settings
- Easy to clean
- You will need to rinse the ground container frequently
- You can only ground small amounts of coffee at a time
This is the perfect grinder if you love coffee and you travel a lot and have only a little space and appreciate a noiseless grinder. It has many grinder settings, making it possible for you to grind fine particles for French Press all the way up to the espresso. You can grind as much as 40g at a time. This is enough for two cups of coffee; however, you won’t be able to grind enough for a big crowd in a single round.
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t create a lot of mess when being used
- Has a small design that makes it portable
- Takes time to grind
- Some people might find 12 ground settings to be inadequate
You can take apart the various parts of this grinder, making it an ideal travel companion. You can even take apart the bottom part of the grinder and use the bottom bowl to store ground coffee. It has durable ceramic burrs that are quite precise, making it easy to grind even particles. However, it is quite a pain to adjust the grind settings but once you do it, it will work just fine.
- It is quite affordable. It costs $50-$70.
- It is quite portable, making it suitable for someone who travels a lot.
- It is manual, therefore it doesn’t use electricity
- Doesn’t make a sound
- It is manual; therefore, it is time-consuming to use
- Can get quite tiring, considering that it is manual
- You can only be able to grind enough coffee for two-three cups, so you can’t use it to grind coffee for a big crowd of people.
This appliance provides the fine grind that espresso needs. This is possible because of its 30mm hardened steel burrs, 34 grind settings, and its 120-watt motor. It is made out of tough plastic that is hard to break and it is easy to clean. It comes with a 10-ounce bean hopper and an eight-ounce container for the ground coffee. You can mete out a pre-measured quantity of coffee. All you have to do is to pull the lever; once for a cup of coffee and twice for two or three cups of coffee.
Considering that the manufacturer tests all machines before shipping them to customers, you might find some ground coffee remnants in your machine. It has various settings, so you can easily use it to make your coffee on a regular basis.
- It is not noisy when being used
- Best for medium-sized to large households
- Quite durable
- Easy to use
- Looks a bit plain
- Made out of plastic
- Can be slow
- Takes time to get the right settings
- Can slide on a smooth surface since its bottom doesn’t have rubber
The shape of this grinder is quite striking. It is shaped more like the KitchenAid Mixer. Being quite short, it can easily fit under low kitchen shelves or cabinets. It has 15 ground settings and it can make quite a fine grind that you can use to brew espresso.
It has a 7-ounce bean hopper that is made out of glass. The grind jar is also glass. This means less static as compared to what would happen if you were using a plastic grinder. It also comes with a coffee scoop and a brush for cleaning the burrs. The steel burrs are long lasting and quite strong.
- Comes with a one-year warranty
- Has an elegant design
- Dishwasher safe
- 15 grind settings
- Easy to use and assemble
- Some people find it to be too noisy
- You frequently have to pop it, so that the beans can fall
- You have to handle the glass bowl with care otherwise it might break
It is fairly priced. It’s small in size and easy to use. It has 17 grind settings. You can brew coffee for two to 17 cups of coffee. The hopper has a tight lid. The upper burr can be removed and get easily cleaned. Some people complain that it does not produce a good coarse grind.
- The tight lid of the hopper preserves the freshness of the flavor
- Easy to clean due to the removable top burr and the fact that it comes with a cleaning brush
- It is not quite good when it comes to dispensing. It might mess up your counter space as you dispense.
- The grinder might clog up after some time and need to be cleaned
- In some cases, the power button might stop working after a year or a year and a half
This grinder is reasonably priced considering what a great job it does. It is simple to operate and comes with a manual that provides guidance on how long to grind. All you have to do is to set the amount of time to grind and then press the grind button. The motor is slow, helping it to preserve the fresh smell and flavor of the coffee. However, a lot of users complain that its espresso grinds are not fine enough, but it is tolerable if you are not such an espresso fanatic.
- It is not good for grinding for espresso
- The ground container is too tiny to hold most of the ground coffee
Blades and Burrs
When choosing between grinders, you have two basic choices: blades and burrs. In most cases, blade appliances can be found in department stores or places like Bed and Bath. These models are generally cheaper, but they are not quite ideal for grinding coffee. Here’s why:
The blades work by slicing up the coffee beans. However, they chop up the beans is uneven sizes. This means that the coffee produced from these chopped up beans will not be quite the best. In order for you to get good quality coffee, the coffee particles need to be of even sizes and brewed at the right temperature, among many other factors.
What does it take to brew quality coffee and how much will you pay for this?
If you want to get a quality grinder, expect to pay at least $130.
However, it is still possible to get something cheaper than this. This can work though not so great. You can get a few such models.
Nevertheless, you should realize that some of these grinders are manual. That means that you will need to put in the hard work of grinding the coffee and it can get tiring after a while.
If you want to get good results, the best option is to go for a burr-based appliance. These appliances use a burr (it can be a series of balls, disks or cones) to shave or flake the coffee beans. It does not chop up, tear, crush or compress the beans the same way the blade appliances do.
Flat Burrs Vs. Conical
When it comes to burr appliances, they come in two different shapes. This includes cone-shaped burrs and flat ones.
You can find conical burrs in different models of appliances. These range from a simple appliance to the more expensive and classy models.
Due to the fact that cone-shaped models have a greater surface area, they lose heat much faster than the flat variety.
The flat burred models have a flat disk that has a number of teeth that have been engraved in the grinding stone or plate. Most medium-sized to higher priced models have flat burrs.
The flat burrs have a larger diameter than the comical ones; therefore, they are able to lose heat fast though they need to be much bigger in size.
There is much debate online about which of the two models are better. Some people argue that the conical varieties are much better and are easier to use and that they produce fluffier varieties of coffee to be used in making espresso.
Other people are of the opinion that the conical burrs produce better tasting coffee that has a fruity or citrus flavor, while the flat burrs enhance the taste of the coffee and have a more caramel taste.
There are other more important qualities that affect the goodness of the machine, apart from its size and shape. This includes the kind of burrs used and the quality of the machine.
Steel vs. Ceramic
Burrs are usually made out of ceramic or steel burrs. This includes cheap, fairly priced and even more expensive models. Both ceramic and steel burrs are okay to use, and it cannot be said that one is better than the other. However, they each have different features.
Steel Burrs Pros
- Steel is much cheaper to manufacture and buy, so you can easily replace it
- It is tough, so if something hard like a stone happens to get into the grinder, it doesn’t mean that the grinder will stop working. Most commercial owners need this kind of reassurance to know that they won’t have to shut down their business in case a stone gets into the grinder.
- Most experienced and commercial users of this machine prefer to use steel burrs when it comes to machines that are used to pour over, siphon automatic drip and other coffee drinks that are non-espresso. Even though manufacturers like Baratza usually make their machines using flat, ceramic burrs, when it comes to coffee machines that are used to make non-espresso drinks, they also use steel burrs.
Steel Burrs Cons
- Doesn’t last as long as ceramic burrs, however, it is not that hard to replace.
Ceramic Burrs Pros
- They are twice as durable as steel burrs. They can grind from 750 pounds to 2,500 pounds of coffee before they need to be replaced.
- Quite good for grinding coffee for making espresso
Ceramic Burrs Cons
- Can easily break in case a stone or any other hard object is put into the grinder. Once it breaks you cannot use the machine until you replace the burr.
- Much more expensive to make
Just keep in mind that the type of burr used does not affect the quality of the ground coffee. What matters is the general design of the machine. When you are considering which burr to go for, the main thing to keep in mind is its sharpness and ability to grind the coffee well.
Stepped vs. Stepless
In order for the grinder to grind the coffee into different sizes, you will have to adjust the distance of the burrs to the grinding plate. In this regards, there are stepped and stepless designs.
Stepped designs allow you to adjust the machine so that it can grind the beans into different sizes. A lever or a knob is used to change these settings. The disadvantage of this is that you can only change the settings into the given number of preset settings, so you cannot make infinite adjustments.
If you are using an inexpensive machine, this might be locked down to 10 or so settings, while more expensive machines might give you the option of up to 40 steps. If you do not need evenly ground sizes, such as when you are making automatic drip or French press, then these models will work just fine.
However, when you are making espresso, the size of the coffee particles matters a great deal as they should be even throughout. Any slight change in sizes of particles can greatly affect the flavor of the coffee.
Doser vs. Doserless vs. Bins
There are three different ways used to collect the ground coffee. This is through the use of dosers, bins and doserless, with some machines having all these three options.
This design is made in such a way that the ground coffee is dispensed into a portafilter basket or an espresso machine or into a basket or into a filter of a drip coffee maker or a pouring device.
Advantages of Doserless
- Fewer grinds that are older remain in the appliance that could affect the freshness and flavor of future brews.
Disadvantages of Doserless
- The burrs can trap coffee particles between the fine guards. Some people deal with this by using finger guards to remove the particles, but this is not advisable.
- They are likely to bunch together, which does not happen in the case of doserless varieties
- You can end up with a messy counter as they spray the coffee about
- You have to hold the portafilter or other containers in place as the machine grinds
In this design, the ground beans will be released into a bin. There is a lever that you use to adjust this. This design has been in use since the 1930s. Most machines that have this design tend to be more expensive than the other models.
Advantages of Dosers
- The ground coffee does not bunch together, as what would happen in doserless designs
- Less messy as less coffee is spilled onto the counter
Disadvantages of Dosers
- Lots of ground coffee might get trapped and need to be freed up and cleaned
- Less precise when it comes to measurements, especially the cheaper varieties
Grinders with Bins
They have an inbuilt bin where the ground coffee automatically falls into. Most Baratza designs have this feature. The ground coffee falls into this bin. Mostly used for homemade models. Ideal for use in making automatic drips and French press.
There are three main types of motor designs. This includes high-speed design, high-speed with gear reduction and low-speed direct drive.
They are mainly found in inexpensive machines that are blade based or in the cheaper burr models. The electric motor is usually cheap and a high speed one.
- it is inexpensive
- It has a tendency of heating up fast. This requires that you take breaks as you grind the coffee. This start-and-stop mechanism as you take breaks tends to wear out the machine much faster.
- Best used if you are not a heavy user. If you want something more long-term, then this is not the best model to go for.
High Speed with Gear Reduction
These machines use DC power, making them a better option than the straight up high-speed ones. They are more durable.
The gear function makes it possible to maintain the high speed while minimizing the speed of the burrs and increasing the rotating force.
This model is less likely to heat up, has less static and is quieter
They have a heavy duty low speed and high rotating force motors that work the grinder either through the use of a belt or a direct attachment to the burrs through a driveline. A lot of force is used to turn the burrs. These models are mainly used in commercial establishments and industrial machines.
They do not produce any sound or static or heat up at all. They are of superior quality and are long-lasting.
Other Important Factors
Storing room and size of the machine
Take into consideration the frequency of use of your machine, as the hopper come in various sizes. For instance, if you are using the machine for commercial basis, buy something that can take in more coffee beans in the hopper.
Some machines come with the option of smaller or bigger hoppers or hopper extensions. This allows you to choose the size to use.
However, keep in mind that if you want a large hopper, this is going to take up lots of space in your kitchen. But if you are a commercial establishment, this might not be that much of a big deal.
Are you using it to grind for espresso or coffee?
If you intend to be solely making espresso, then go for a grinder that is exclusively made for this delicate process. Such a grinder will produce even particles that are fine. In addition, you can dial in the exact amount of coffee needed based on the beans that you are using, the roast level, temperature, and humidity level.
If you intend to make French press, espresso, medium drip or powdery Turkish, you can go for an adjustable coffee level.
The major disadvantage that these multipurpose machines have is that it is quite challenging to maintain the same particle consistency, as what you would get if you were using a dedicated espresso machine. However, most Baratza models have tried to improve on this over the years and they have narrowed down the gap.
When it comes to choosing a machine, you will get your money’s worth. More expensive models tend to be of better quality and will last longer. They have better quality burrs; they are more reliable and provide you with different levels of settings to adjust the coarseness of the ground coffee.
How finely and evenly the coffee has been ground affects 50-60% of its taste. Therefore, you should adjust based on the brewing technique that you are using, type of coffee beans and amount of oil, roast level among many other things.
Having a coffee grinder will make it possible for you to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee whenever you want to. It is essential that you use your freshly ground coffee as soon as you can, since the longer you leave it lying around, the more the flavor will start to dissipate.
When the beans are first roasted, it causes a chemical reaction that produces over 800 compounds. This affects the flavor and the taste of the coffee. Grinding the beans helps to release these flavors that have been trapped inside it. Therefore, in order to capture the taste and aroma of these fresh grinds, use up the ground coffee as soon as you can.
Life is too short, and beans are too rich for you to just have a regular cup of coffee. One of the secrets to getting that perfect cup of coffee lies in the type of grinder that you use. Being able to grind your own coffee beans makes it possible for you to adjust it to your taste
However, not just any grinder will do. That is why we have discussed the top picks when it comes to coffee grinding machines. Finding the right machine that will meet your needs is advisable. Each and every one of these machines will work well for you, based on what your needs are.
However, if you are looking for the top pick for home use, then it’s got to be the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. The Breville BCG820BSSXL Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder comes with 60 grinding settings and a capacity of 16 ounces. There is nothing that you cannot do with this grinder. You can brew professional coffee with this machine.
It is ideal for home use for those who love coffee. Its lightweight design, accuracy, conical shape, dependability and attractive design makes it the best option for coffee enthusiasts. The best thing about it is that it is quite affordable.
In addition, this machine is much more convenient for home users, given the user-friendly features that make it easy to use. This is as compared to other Breville or Baratza models.