Pre-ground coffee beans are cheap and convenient, and most people are content with the coffee they get from them. However, if you are not satisfied using pre-ground coffee, you need a coffee grinder. Coffee from pre-ground beans will never compare to coffee from freshly ground beans; it’s a no-brainer.
Understandably, you will want to know what to look for in a coffee grinder. Firstly, there are two main choices when searching for the best coffee grinder, and they offer different things – blade grinders and burr grinders.
This article will uncover what you should look out for when purchasing a coffee grinder. We will also look at which grinder is best to help you make your choice.
How Do I Choose A Coffee Grinder?
For such a small kitchen appliance that performs such a straightforward task, you would think it would be easy to choose a coffee grinder.
However, hundreds of coffee grinders on the market all offering similar features but cost different prices. To help you assess which one is suitable for you, consider the following factors to help you narrow down your options:
1. GRIND SIZE AND CONSISTENCY
Grind size and consistency are essential for extracting the flavors and aromas you get from coffee. Undoubtedly, the quality of your beans is fundamental to the resulting taste of your brew.
Still, to fully appreciate high-quality coffee beans, you must grind them right before making your coffee, and the grounds must be as consistent in size as possible. Therefore, this should be at the forefront of your mind when shopping for a new grinder.
You need a grinder that can do a fine and consistent grind, especially for espresso-based drinks. Most Burr grinders can do this, but you must research a coffee grinder to produce fine and consistent coffee grounds.
A decent coffee grinder won’t come cheap. If you don’t wish to spend much money, then a blade grinder or manual burr might make the most sense.
On the other hand, if the cost isn’t an issue and you want a grinder to do the best job, then a burr grinder in the $100 to $200 range is for you.
If you are going to spend a decent amount of money on high-quality coffee beans, then it makes sense to buy a high-end grinder, as a substandard one won’t draw out the coffee’s flavors.
In the end, it’s a waste of money. You must think of a grinder as an investment, especially if you plan to use it often.
Coffee grinders that cost more are often made from durable materials that last longer than cheaper models. With proper care, this could save you the cost of having to purchase subsequent models.
Each make and model is designed to hold a specific amount of coffee every time you use it. Since you get better flavor from your coffee if you grind the beans immediately before you brew it, you mightn’t need a high capacity for your model unless you plan to make coffee for several people.
Then you need a high-capacity grinder to accommodate more people. However, if it’s just for you, a small-capacity grinder should suffice.
Beware of grinders offering higher speeds, as it’s a clear indication of a cheaper product that won’t last that long.
The high-speed motors create more heat which risks burning the coffee, producing a terrible tasting brew. You must prioritize models that grind at a slower speed. Low-speed grinders are called “direct-drive grinders” lookout for this phrase when browsing your options.
Heat is another important consideration (after particle size) that influences the taste of your coffee. If your grinder gets beans hot during the grinding process, it will burn the grounds and negatively affect the taste of your brew.
Speed affects the heat of your grounds, and since substandard models have faster speeds, it makes sense to pay more money on a better product to control the speed.
The upfront cost can appear excessive, but it plays an essential role in the quality of your coffee, and it may be worth the cost.
Before purchasing an appliance for your kitchen, it’s worth calculating your kitchen’s size. For example, if you are buying a grinder, you probably already have an espresso maker or a coffee maker.
So, the size of your grinder needs some consideration, and you must look at how you plan to store your grinder. For example, will it be stored away when you are not using it or stay on the countertop?
7. USER FRIENDLINESS AND CLEANING
Coffee grinders differ in how convoluted they are to use and clean. If you are aware that you’ll be frustrated by a unit that requires extra steps to use or is time-consuming to clean, then take the time to read reviews on the product before buying.
8. GRIND SETTINGS
If you enjoy a variety of different coffee drinks, then you’ll need a grinder that offers enough settings to achieve the right consistency for each one. Generally, grinders get more costly if they have more settings to offer.
You will often see grinders advertised by one of the two descriptions – stepped or stepless. Let’s explore what settings they have to offer:
- STEPPED GRINDERS offer numerous settings to choose from before you start to grind your beans.
- STEPLESS GRINDERS allow more options as they don’t have fixed settings. You can choose from an extensive range. Stepless grinders work better than stepped ones, but they are pricier.
If you want to avoid a noisy product, and let’s face it, most of us do, you’ll want a quieter grinder, especially if you plan to use this product in the mornings.
Conical burr grinders are usually softer than flat burr grinders. On the other hand, blade grinders are generally quite noisy.
If you are purchasing online, take some time to check customer reviews for how loud the unit is before you buy.
Dosing options relate to how the grinder distributes the coffee grounds. Grinders with a doser drop the coffee grounds into chambers that you can place into your filter when you’re ready to brew it.
If you plan to spend $15 on a blade grinder, you’re not going to be too concerned about how long it’s going to last. However, if you plan to spend over $100, you want to be able to depend on it to last.
Generally speaking, the more expensive models cost what they do because they tend to last a long time, and they are consistent. However, you should check the customer reviews to determine how long you can expect a particular grinder to last.
True coffee lovers estimate functionality over aesthetics in their decision-making. However, it’s worth buying a product that is pleasing to the eye as it will make you want to use it more than if it’s an eyesore.
Some models are designed with appearances in mind and are available in many colors and finishes. You should have no issues finding a grinder that is stylish and will match your kitchen’s decor.
What Kind Of Coffee Grinder Is The Best?
Between the burr and blade, burr grinders are the best coffee grinders as they offer better control and more consistency.
In addition, the burrs crush the coffee beans into grounds rather than slicing them up like the propeller-like blade grinders. This action produces richer and more balanced flavors when you brew.
Many burr grinders can grind finely for espresso as well as coarsely for French presses and cold brews. Burr grinders tend to have a higher price point, but most experts agree that they are far superior for flavor and grind size. In addition, these models are widely recognized for their quality, uniformity, and consistency.
There are two main types of burr grinders – flat burr grinders and conical burr grinders. Both produce a high-quality grind, but there are some differences between the two. Conical burr grinders are the coffee industry standard.
They have a conical-shaped center burr with a serrated burr on the outside. It’s designed to be heat resistant and energy-efficient. However, if you look close enough at the ground coffee, you will notice different bean sizes in the mix. However, this doesn’t affect the overall taste of your brew.
Most coffee fans prefer flat burr grinders; these have two donut-shaped burrs facing one another with sharp edges.
This design lets the beans stay between the burrs until they are uniformly ground up, unlike the conical burrs that let the beans shoot out and remain somewhat intact.
On the downside, flat burrs are louder than conical burrs and not as energy efficient as they use more heat and energy during the grinding process.
If you want to save money, consider buying a manual burr grinder rather than an electric one. Manual models grind beans through two burrs by turning a handle.
It can be time-consuming, but these grinders produce even grounds and can even offer various settings for different sizes. Additionally, they are much quieter than both burr and blade grinders.
It appears that burr coffee grinders are a better choice than blade grinders. These grinders produce more uniform particles because the burrs crush rather than slice the beans.
If you want to stick to a small budget, consider a manual burr grinder rather than an electric one, it may take more effort on your part than if you bought an electric blade grinder, but it’s worth it for the flavors you get in your brew.
Also, remember that stepless grinders offer the user more options than the stepped grinders, as they don’t have fixed settings, giving you more control over grind size.
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