If you have any interest in coffee at all, you’ll likely already know that you should grind whole beans directly before brewing to get the freshest drink in your cup.
How about if you’re looking for a grinder specifically designed to create the grind size you need for espresso, though?
Well, luckily, there’s not too much you need to consider and most of the elements will be common to the purchase of any grinder. The only differentiating factor with espresso is the fact you’ll need to make sure the grinder you’re looking at can generate a fine grind.
- Our Top 5 Picks for Espresso Grinders
- 8 Best Coffee Grinders for Espresso
- 1. The Smart Grinder by Breville Our #1 Pick
- 2. OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder
- 3. Baratza Sette Conical Burr Grinder
- 4. Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder
- 5. Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder
- 6. DeLonghi America Conical Burr Grinder
- 7. Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
- 8. Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Grinder
- How to Grind Your Coffee Beans For Brewing Espresso
Our Top 5 Picks for Espresso Grinders
- The Smart Grinder by Breville at Amazon Our #1 Pick
- OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder at Amazon
- Baratza Sette Conical Burr Grinder at Amazon
- Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder at Amazon
- Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder at Amazon
If you focus on the following factors, buying the best grinder for espresso is a cakewalk…
- Type of Grinder: A blade grinder is a cheap but crude option. Consistency of grind is questionable. You also risk scorching your beans since these grinders run hot. Far more effective, burr grinders are also costlier but that extra expenditure is well worthwhile. Beans are funneled between a pair of burrs a few at a time and you’ll get a superb and extremely even grind every single time. The best option of all is a conical burr grinder. All the models we review today fall under this category. After all, if you’re going to the trouble of grinding your own beans, why let yourself down with sub-par equipment?
- Grind Settings: You should check the number of grind settings. These vary from model to model from a bare handful on up through 60 settings at the upper end. What counts when you’re looking for an espresso grinder is that the device can grind finely. You’ll need this consistency of table salt if you want a great short shot. If you also use other brewing methods like a French press or a drip coffee maker, make sure the grinders you’re looking at are capable of producing the consistency you need. There’s no right or wrong answer here, simply a case of finding what works best for you.
- Material and Build: Build quality counts with any product. With a device like a grinder that gets plenty of punishment, you should prioritize a solid build with as much metal as possible and as little plastic as possible. We draw attention to any models that are lacking in this regard. While you don’t need to go to the lengths of buying a commercial grinder, you certainly need something which is fit for purpose. Think closely about how many beans you’ll be grinding and how often. Buy in line with this.
- Size of Bean Hopper: Most bean hoppers will give you ample capacity to grind up enough beans for a whole family to enjoy espresso. In most cases, any model will be sufficient. The exception here is if you plan to use your grinder much more than average. In this instance, shoot for a grinder offering you the substantial capacity you need.
- Speed and Noise: While you might not be placing speed uppermost on your list of priorities, it’s obviously a factor. Check that you won’t need to devote too much time to grinding. You should also note any grinders that kick out too much noise. If you’re first up in the morning and others are still happily sleeping, investing in a loud grinder could end up a costly mistake. As with all aspects of your buying decision, personalize things and you’ll end up with a superb kitchen ally.
Without further ado, let’s get down to business with our curated list of the most effective grinders for espresso in a crowded market.
8 Best Coffee Grinders for Espresso
1. The Smart Grinder by Breville Our #1 Pick
If you’ve got a fluid budget and you’re looking for a potent and efficient conical burr grinder from a brand you can trust, Breville rolls out the Smart Grinder. What makes it so good, though?
With 60 grind settings, you’ve got as much choice as you’ll find in a residential grinder. Whether you want a coarse grind for your French press or fine grinds for the best espresso, you can enjoy either along with everything in between thanks to Breville.
The timer allows you to tweak timings in increments of 0.2 seconds. This allows you to play with the grind size until it’s perfect for espresso the way you like it. Breville call this Dosing iQ.
You can see everything you need on the crisp LCD display and you’ll get everything you need included to get going right out the box.
While the Smart Grinder is not exactly cheap, you’ll feel you’re getting exceptional overall value with this versatile conical burr grinder. Get your espresso started the right way.
Pros: Sleek, utilitarian aesthetic. 60 settings covering literally all bases. Precision timer. Grinds directly into a number of media from portafilters to paper filters.
Cons: Pretty bulky. Certainly not cheap.
Bottom Line: If you and your family drink coffee using different brewing methods, you’ll appreciate the 60 settings on this highly flexible and powerful conical burr grinder.
2. OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder
OXO has a hard-won reputation for producing top-notch kitchenware on a budget. The Brew conical burr grinder continues that tradition in fine style.
If you’re an espresso fiend, you’ll get the fine grind you need for your machine. You’ll also be able to churn through a broad spread of other settings delivering everything up to the coarse grind you’ll want for French press or cold brew coffee.
The intelligent grinder remembers the time of your last setting so you’ll enjoy optimized grinding with less fiddling around.
You’ll benefit from a substantial hopper capacity good for ¾ pound of your favorite beans. This is ideal if you have a large family and you’re often brewing up large batches of espresso one after the other.
The only real drawback of this grinder is that it does a kick up a fair amount of noise in operation.
Pros: Conical burrs for consistent and uniform grind. Intelligent timer remembers last setting. Generous hopper holds ¾ pound beans. Great fine grind ideal for espresso.
Cons: Design looks lightweight. Pretty noisy.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a powerful, precise and cost-effective grinder to blitz your beans for espresso, the OXO Brew is a solid choice.
3. Baratza Sette Conical Burr Grinder
If you’re looking to invest in some pro-grade coffee paraphernalia, this conical burr grinder from Baratza is a modern classic.
We should state off the bat that while marketed as an entry-level grinder, this unit packs a considerable punch and is priced accordingly.
A highly precise digital timer can be tweaked in 0.1 second intervals allowing you to really dial in the brewing process.
30 grind settings covering everything from fine through to coarse allows you to get your beans just the way you want them directly before brewing for the best espresso you’ll get outside of Italy.
Build quality is outstanding and, while not exactly cheap, this grinder should give you years of faithful service. You’ll get a limited 1-year warranty for your peace of mind.
Pros: Baratza grinders favored by baristas and winners of multiple awards. Ultra-precise digital timer. 30 grind settings giving ample variety. Rock-solid build quality. 1-year limited warranty.
Cons: Unusual design not to everyone’s taste. Costly.
Bottom Line: If you don’t mind digging a little deeper and you don’t mind the striking aesthetics, the Baratza Sette is one of the finest grinders money can buy.
4. Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder
Have you got a busy household where the coffee grinder gets some serious action? If so, the Rancilio Rocky Espresso grinder is built to churn through beans at a tremendous rate. You’ll get all the benefits of a commercial grinder in a sleek and slender unit ideal for home use.
The direct-drive motor delivers all the power you need without kicking up a racket.
Throw up to 2/3 pound of your favorite beans into the hopper and get your espresso started the right way.
You’ll get incredible speed with the Rancilio with enough grinds for your espresso machine served up in seconds flat.
This unit is remarkably easy to use even if you’ve never experimented with grinding your own beans before. And, once you do, you’ll never look back.
Pros: Pro-grade burr grinder. Tinted hopper with a generous capacity of 2/3 pound beans. Grind settings easy to adjust. Cut out for grinding serious quantities of beans at the rate of over 7 pounds per hour. Commanding design.
Cons: Eye-wateringly expensive. Coffee can jam up in the chute.
Bottom Line: If you’ve got deep pockets and exacting tastes, the Rancilio Rocky Espresso delivers on all fronts giving you the making of a truly great espresso.
5. Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder
We’ve got another Baratza up next in the form of the classic Encore, enduringly popular for performance on a budget.
This grinder is certainly no looker but if you’re hunting for a functional workhorse that smashes up your beans without too much heat, the hardened alloy steel burrs will churn through whatever you throw their way.
With a solid 40 settings, there’s no excuse not to grind your coffee to suit any given brewing method. You’ll have no problems at all blitzing up the very fine grind you’ll want for your espresso.
Don’t be fooled by the flimsy aesthetic, though. The components and build of the Encore are dependable and you should get plenty of happy grinding without needing to spend a fortune. If you can deal with the underwhelming looks, this is a no-nonsense grinder worthy of a place on any shortlist.
Pros: Exceptional price/performance ratio. 40 grind settings to cater for all brewing methods. Alloy steel burrs built to withstand some serious punishment. Pretty quiet.
Cons: Design is unimpressive. Too much cheap plastic on display.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for one of the best cheap coffee grinders for espresso, Baratza hit a home run with the Encore. You’ll get power, ease of use and precision in a lightweight and quiet form factor.
6. DeLonghi America Conical Burr Grinder
The DeLonghi America is a fantastic if fairly costly conical burr grinder. You should ask yourself if you’re prepared to invest a little in order to jazz up the quality of the coffee in your shot glass. If so, you won’t regret rolling with the DeLonghi.
Although many of the competition pack more than 18 settings, you’ll find you’ve got all eventualities covered. Whether you want a coarser grind for your French press, a medium grind for a drip coffee maker or a fine espresso grind, there’s nothing out of bounds.
The America is solidly built and capable of dealing with a decent quantity of beans on an ongoing basis. While it’s not a commercial grinder, it’s more than fit for purpose in a busy home kitchen.
Pros: Brand heritage and build quality first-rate. Burrs remove to simplify cleaning. Easy to see key data on the LCD display. Grind into a carafe or directly into your portafilter.
Cons: 18 settings could be improved. Reasonably expensive.
Bottom Line: If you want your coffee equipment to come from a reputable industry legend, DeLonghi is a safe bet. The America is a superb and highly effective conical burr grinder capable of giving you a fine grind for top-tier espresso.
7. Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
If you’ve got a tight budget but you’re not prepared to compromise the quality of the coffee in your cup, this conical burr model from Capresso is a smart move.
While this grinder is marketed as packing commercial burrs, this is certainly not a machine cut out for sustained and heavy use. If you’re planning to roll it out in your home kitchen you’ll be more than catered for, though.
The hopper is large enough to accommodate a full 4oz of grounds from 8.8oz of whole beans. Get your espresso started the right way.
Grind-wise, you can create everything you need from an ultra-fine Turkish through to a fine grind for espresso and on to a coarse grinder ideal for your French press.
The drawback of this machine is the preponderance of plastic and a relatively cheap feel you’d expect from a pocket-friendly grinder.
Pros: Highly efficient burrs to carve through your beans. Super-simple to clean. Rugged build. Sleek and lean design. Oversized hopper.
Cons: Cheap and plastic parts are a let down. Customer service is poor.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a great grinder for your espresso but you’re working with a limited budget, the Capresso Infinity is well worth further exploration.
8. Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Grinder
Last but definitely not least, another Baratza in the form of the Virtuoso.
As with all these sterling grinders, you’ll be able to smash your whole beans down to a fine grind for espresso, a coarser consistency for French press coffee and everything in between.
While this grinder is quite light and feels slightly flimsy, don’t be misguided. This unit might be small but it packs a considerable punch.
With 40 grind settings, you can tweak and mold the consistency of your coffee so it’s precisely the way you want it for any given brewing method. What more can you ask for, really?
Pros: Super-slimline form factor ideal for busy kitchens. Inimitable Baratza build. Get the fine grind you need for espresso.
Cons: Few niggles with issues developing over time as you’d expect with a cheaper grinder.
Bottom Line: If you’re hoping to buy into that Baratza brand heritage without spending a fortune, the Virtuoso is small but perfectly formed.
With those reviews in place, you’ve now got a clear idea of the grinders at your disposal along with how much they cost.
How do you get your beans ground the right way for espresso, though?
How to Grind Your Coffee Beans For Brewing Espresso
We’ll assume that you’ll be making your shots with an espresso machine. Here’s a look at the best espresso machines while you could also consider investing in a model with an integrated grinder. We looked at those right here.
How do you prepare your beans for espresso?
- Set the grinder to a fine grind. This should not be as fine and powdery as you would need for Turkish coffee. Instead, shoot for a consistency in line with table salt
- Fill your espresso machine with water, ideally distilled water or filtered water
- Let your machine warm up, pop an empty portafilter into the group head then run the machine for a few seconds. This allows fresh water to the front and also heats up the parts of your machine that come closest to the coffee. Wipe off the inside of the portafilter and dry it off
- Set your grinder to a fine grind and test a few beans first to make sure the consistency is exactly the way you want it
- Grind up enough beans for your espresso needs
- Dose 18-21g of freshly-ground coffee beans into the portafilter
- Tamp the grinds down firmly
- Begin the brewing process aiming for an extraction time of 25 seconds
- Serve a single or double shot to taste and enjoy!
You should also take the trouble to store your coffee beans properly between using them. The optimum is to stash them in an opaque and airtight container at room temperature. Transparent containers might allow you to see your beans but too much light will get in. This impairs the taste of the beans.
You should also make certain to clean your grinder regularly and we’d once again draw your attention to the issue of water…
Given that most of the drink in your cup is actually H20, you owe it to yourself to use a great quality water. If you can’t stretch to bottled distilled water, at minimum use a filter to freshen up your faucet water.
Then, simply sit back and enjoy your espresso the way the Italians make it!
We trust by now you’ve got a sound idea of the very best grinders for espresso up for grabs.
We’ve included something across all price-points and we’ve even thrown in some compact models perfect for apartments or small, cramped kitchens.
Since blade grinders simply can’t compete with the superior conical burr models, we’ve limited our selection to the latter. Here at La Mano, we have no interest in mediocre products. You can be sure that everything we throw up for you is guaranteed to hit the spot.
So, if you’re sold on the idea of getting the freshest espresso possible outside of a gourmet coffee shop, the only question that remains is which of these grinders you’ll be investing in.
Bookmark La Mano and come back soon since we’ve got a very busy slate over the forthcoming holiday period. See you soon!