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 Picks for Espresso Grinders
|Products & Features||Image & Price|
The Smart Grinder by Breville Our #1 Pick
OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder
Baratza Sette Conical Burr Grinder
Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder
DeLonghi America Conical Burr Grinder
Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Grinder
If you focus on the following factors, buying the best grinder for espresso will be easier.
Type of Grinder: A blade grinder is a cheap but crude option. Consistency of grind is questionable. 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.
The 8 Best Coffee Grinders for Espresso
1. Our #1 Pick: The Smart Grinder by Breville
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.
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.
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 one-year warranty for your peace of mind.
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.
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.
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.
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 4 ounces of grounds from 8.8 ounces 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.
8. Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Grinder
Last but not least is 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?
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
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. 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.