If you’ve got even a passing interest in quality coffee, you should be aware of the importance of grinding your beans immediately before brewing.
Coffee beans start degrading as little as 15 minutes after grinding. If you choose to buy pre-ground coffee, you’ll be receiving it when it’s already past its best.
Why get things started on the wrong foot?
When grinders come in at such an affordable price-point, there’s no excuse for not buying one if you’re serious about your coffee.
Today, we’ve curated a collection of 15 of the best coffee grinders money can buy. We’ve chosen a batch of grinders across all price-points. We’ve thrown in a few manual models for purists and anyone on a tighter budget. And, as always, we’ll be giving you a wide range of actionable tips so you can get the perfect grind every time.
You owe it to yourself to grind your own beans so we’ll get things started with a look at the various types of grinder at your disposal.
- I. Our Top 5 Picks for Burr Coffee Grinders
- II. What Kind of Coffee Grinders Are There?
- III. Why You Should Grind Your Own Coffee Beans at Home
- IV. 15 Best Burr Coffee Grinders
- 1. Our Pick: Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder
- 2. Best Coffee Grinder for Espresso: Breville The Smart Grinder Pro
- 3. Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder
- 4. Best Conical Burr Coffee Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder with Timer
- 5. Best Manual Coffee Grinder: Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Grinder
- 6. OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder
- 7. Best Commercial Coffee Grinder: Baratza Forte BG (Brew Grinder)
- 8. Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
- 9. Cuisinart Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill
- 10. Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder
- 11. DeLonghi America Conical Burr Grinder
- 12. KitchenAid Burr Grinder
- 13. Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill
- 14. Baratza Sette Conical Burr Grinder
- 15. JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
- V. Coffee Grinders Buying Guide
- VI. Guide To Setting The Right Coffee Ground Size
- VII. FAQ
- VIII. Conclusion
I. Our Top 5 Picks for Burr Coffee Grinders
- Our #1 Pick Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder at Amazon
- Best for Espresso: Breville The Smart Grinder Pro at Amazon
- Upgrade Pick: Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder at Amazon
- Best Conical Burr Coffee Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso+ Grinder at Amazon
- Best Manual Coffee Grinder: Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Grinder at Amazon
II. What Kind of Coffee Grinders Are There?
The first choice you’ll need to make if you’re looking for the best coffee grinder is between the two general categories of grinder:
- Manual Grinder
- Automatic Grinder
1. Manual Grinder
Many purists will argue for hours that manual grinders produce superior results. We don’t quite go that far. If you choose a great automatic grinder, there’s no reason at all to get a disappointing grind.
A manual grinder uses burrs rather than blades which gets things off to a strong start. We’ll outline this mechanism directly below.
If you’re prepared to put in a little elbow grease and you’re after a retro addition to your kitchen, a manual grinder works well. They also run very quietly and make for perfect travel companions.
2. Automatic Grinder
Technology has pushed automatic grinders forward substantially over recent years.
You can expect plug-and-play simplicity along with an enviably consistent grind from a great automatic. Choose wisely and you’ll have a piece of kit that will last for years.
Once you’ve chosen whether you’re going the manual or automatic route, it’s time to think about the mechanism.
Again, you have 2 choices here:
- Blade Grinder
- Burr Grinder
Blade grinder are cheap and make a reasonable entry point for complete beginners on a budget.
Also commonly known as propeller grinders, the blades move in similar fashion to airplane propellers.
Where the beans are sliced randomly, you’ll struggle with consistency using a blade grinder. You’ll get larger chunks of coffee along with finer particles. This results in different rates of extraction which is not what you’re looking for.
That said, a blade grinder can be sufficient if you prefer rougher medium grinds for pour-over or filter coffee.
You can get around the inconsistencies by considering a burr grinder instead.
What are burr grinders, exactly?
More expensive than a blade grinder, a burr grinder is what you want for a uniform and consistent grind each and every time.
A burr grinder commissions a pair of serrated plates or burrs that oscillate and smash up each coffee bean. The grounds will only be spat from the grinder once they hit the requisite size. This makes a dramatic difference to the consistency.
These burrs are typically made from steel or ceramic. Steel burr grinders and less expensive and you can expect a reduced lifespan. Ceramic burrs, on the other hand, last longer but cost more. These are commonly used on manual grinders as well as upscale electric models.
Conical burr grinders blitz up beans into a couple of slightly differing particle sizes. This works especially well if you’re looking to load up your espresso machine.
Flat burr grinders grind your beans into a single consistent grind. While this sounds great in principle, it can be tricky to work with these grinders if you’re a complete beginner.
To alter the size of your grounds, simply tweak the distance between the burrs.
Key takeaway: We would strongly recommend buying a burr grinder rather than a blade grinder. You’ll need to pay a little more but you get infinitely superior performance.
Now you’ve got a quick overview of why it makes sense to invest in a burr grinder, we’ll walk you through why you should bother grinding your own beans in the first place.
III. Why You Should Grind Your Own Coffee Beans at Home
Once coffee beans have been roasted, they need to be ground in order to release the gases and oils that give your finished product its classic flavor and aroma. If you delay grinding those beans until directly before brewing, you’ll keep the gases and oils intact.
Grind your beans too soon and you’ll find oxygen, CO2, and moisture coming together to impair your beans before you even get started. For this reason, pre-ground coffee is not advisable. Leaving the beans whole protects them to a large extent against this degradation.
There’s another key benefit to grinding your own beans at home…
You’ll need to grind beans to different consistencies depending on which type of brewing method you’ll be using. Don’t worry, we’ll be outlining each of these down below along with a guide to which type of grind you need for each brewing method. Grind your beans at home and you can control the size of the grind ensuring it’s optimal.
As we say, we’ll explore these different grinds in more detail below. As a general rule of thumb, finer coffee needs less contact time in order to extract the flavor. This makes it ideal for espresso. For methods like a French press where coffee is immersed in water for up to 5 minutes, coarse grounds work best.
By grinding your beans at home before brewing, then, you’ll keep them fresher for longer while being able to shift from brewing style to brewing style all with the same bag of beans.
Right, without further ado it’s time to double down on our quest for the best burr grinder so you can pick up the most effective model for your needs with the minimum of fanfare.
IV. 15 Best Burr Coffee Grinders
1. Our Pick: Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder
Our overall winner from this bumper selection of grinders comes from specialist Baratza and it’s priced competitively so you won’t need to dig too deep.
Regardless of your preferred brewing method, you should grind fresh coffee beans directly before brewing if you want the perfect golden cup of coffee. The Encore is a modern classic that makes this task remarkably easy even for complete novices.
40 grind settings makes certain you’re covered whether you like espresso and need a fine grind or you’re a committed French press fan looking for a coarse grind. The only area where the Encore struggles is when it comes to the ultra-fine consistency Turkish coffee calls for. If you frequently drink your short shots this way, you might want to rethink your decision. For all other types of grind, the Baratza excels.
This grinder isn’t much to look at and appears quite cheap with a lot of plastic on display. Inside, where it counts, you’ll get all the power you need along with absolute precision so you can dial in the brewing variables with ease. Commercial-grade conical burrs give you impressive consistency.
The Encore is a cinch to use even if you’ve never ground your own beans before.
A 1-year limited warranty crowns a winning package from Baratza.
Pros: Compact footprint considering the power. 40 grind settings. Burrs made from hardened steel alloy. Ideal for beginners.
Cons: Doesn’t work well for Turkish coffee.
Bottom Line: This potent grinder with a generous 40 settings gives you the scope to get the right grind for just about all brewing methods except Turkish.
2. Best Coffee Grinder for Espresso: Breville The Smart Grinder Pro
If the 40 settings offered by Baratza isn’t quite enough, Breville comes through with a full 60 grind settings to choose form on the enduringly popular Smart Grinder Pro. If you’re looking for beans ground finely for espresso, the Breville is our standout pick.
While this is a bulkier unit, the Smart Grinder Pro is still quite narrow so you should be able to house it even on a busy kitchen counter.
If you make a lot of coffee to a high standard, you’ll understand the importance of timing both your brew and grinding. You’ll also understand how easy it is for your kitchen to become overrun with appliances. The timer baked in to this grinder allows you to adjust the time you grind in 0.2 second increments.
Choose whether you want to grind straight into a portafilter, into a container, a permanent or paper filter. You’ve got all bases neatly covered here.
You’ll be able to store up to 18oz of beans in the hopper. This locks into place for your peace of mind.
Pros: 60 settings covering every eventuality. Slimline unit. Electric timer onboard a nice touch. Grind straight into the portafilter.
Cons: Plastic impeller is prone to wearing out with no replacement part available.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a sleek grinder with a small footprint and a powerful punch, the Smart Grinder Pro isn’t cheap but the best things in life seldom are.
3. Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder
The Rancilio Rocky espresso grinder bridges the gap between commercial and residential grinders in a squat, powerful form factor.
The burrs are rugged and built to withstand some serious punishments. These are 50mm blades commonly seen in commercial grinders but you won’t need to spend a fortune to acquire them.
Run by a 166-watt motor, you’ll get all the direct-drive power you need to smash up your beans so they’re perfectly prepared for your morning caffeine fix.
Manipulating the grind settings is straightforward even if you’re not an expert.
From fine grinds for a shot of espresso to a coarse mixture for your beloved French press, the Rocky has your back across the board.
While we’d usually dismiss such claims as hollow marketing hype, the Rocky makes a smart companion to the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine.
We can’t stress too many times the importance of grinding your own beans. Unless you have a super-automatic machine giving you bean-to-cup convenience, this means investing in a third-party grinder. If you’re not averse to spending a little money, you’ll struggle to find a stronger machine for your kitchen at home.
Pros: Heavy-duty burrs suitable for use in a commercial setting. Poky motor yet reasonably quiet in operation. Easy to use even for complete beginners.
Cons: Ruthlessly expensive. Doesn’t respond well to oily beans.
Bottom Line: If you’ve got deep pockets and you’re looking for a precise and potent burr grinder ideal for heavy, sustained use, the Rancilio Rocky is a modern classic.
4. Best Conical Burr Coffee Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder with Timer
After lengthy consideration, we nominated the Baratza Virtuoso+ as the best conical burr grinder for home grinding.
For anyone with a generous budget and a desire for a first class grinder built to stay the distance, you really can’t go wrong with this beast.
If there’s any area where the Baratza underperforms, we have to say the design could be improved. Despite it’s mid-range price tag, the Virtuoso+ actually looks quite cheap. If you get beyond the questionable looks, though, this grinder delivers where it counts.
You’ll benefit from a 40-second countdown timer, adjustable to 0.1 seconds. With 40 settings, simply time your ideal grind depending on the brewing method.
The only serious drawback with the Baratza aside from the looks is the mess you’ll create when using it! As long as you’re not precious about your kitchen and you don’t object to a bit of a clean-up, you’ll be delighted you invested in this powerful unit.
Pros: 40 grind settings have you covered for all brewing methods. Quite compact. Durable burrs capable of delivering complete consistency.
Cons: Can get messy.
Bottom Line: Priced somewhere around mid-level, the Baratza Virtuoso+ is a punchy conical burr grinder with a precise timer baked in. Get your morning shot started the right way.
5. Best Manual Coffee Grinder: Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Grinder
Whether you’re a coffee purist and you insist on getting fully involved or you want a portable grinder that’s also super-quiet in use, Porlex produce one of the finest manual grinders on the market.
You should be aware before committing to purchase that you’ll need to exert a little effort with the Porlex but the results will be worthwhile. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not talking about a heavy workout here but you will need to twist the handle and do the hard yards physically.
The stainless steel body of this grinder doesn’t kick up any of the static that can mar some grinders.
The ceramic conical burrs give you the freedom to grind up the full spectrum of consistencies. Whether you fancy some fine grinds for your morning espresso or a batch of coarsely-ground beans for your French press, the Porlex allows you to consistently execute.
In return for such a capable ally in your coffee arsenal, the price is surprisingly reasonable.
Pros: Perfect portable model for great coffee on the go. Stainless steel body rugged and built to last. Silent in use. Ceramic burrs can grind across all consistencies.
Cons: You’ll need to put in a little physical effort. Some issues with quality control so check the contents of your package closely.
Bottom Line: Not everyone wants a mechanical grinder and if you prefer to get hands-on, this portable gem from Porlex will let you take your fresh beans on the road.
6. OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder
OXO produce a slim range of design-driven accessories so you can get your coffee started in fine style. You’ll struggle to get the tastiest cup of joe if you buy pre-ground so why not go the extra mile and treat yourself to a conical burr grinder?
If your buying decision is motivated by the greatest number of grind settings, this is not the appliance for you. If, on the other hand, you’re content with a more modest choice, you’ll have all the consistencies you need covered from espresso through to pour-over, cold brew and French press.
You’ll be able to blitz up enough beans for 12 cups of coffee so this makes a great grinder for a large family with everyone eager for coffee in the mornings. The hopper holds up to ¾-pound of your favorite coffee beans so you won’t need to constantly top it up.
The only drawback with this model is the fact it can clog up rather easily. Take care not to overload it to reduce the chance of this happening.
Pros: Elegant stainless aesthetic. Push-to-grind simplicity with the grinder remembering your last setting. Generous hopper accommodates ¾-pound of fresh beans.
Cons: 15 settings could be improved. A few reported issues with clogging.
Bottom Line: The OXO Brew is a versatile grinder giving you a no-nonsense entry point to grinding your own beans before brewing.
7. Best Commercial Coffee Grinder: Baratza Forte BG (Brew Grinder)
Everyone has different needs when it comes to coffee grinders. After the delicacy of a manual model, we’ll push on next with this hard-hitting commercial gem from Baratza.
Perhaps you’ve got a small coffee shop or maybe you’ve got a large family with everyone greedy for coffee. Either way, you’ll need a grinder that’s cut out for heavy and ongoing use. The Forte BG is exactly that grinder. You can grind up to 5 pounds a day which is more than enough for most purposes.
You won’t find more settings on any comparable grinder. The Baratza boasts a bewildering 260 gradations so there’s absolutely no excuse not to get your coffee beans ground to precisely the consistency you need.
The scale onboard lets you weigh out your beans rather than relying on the inaccurate method of measuring by volume. There’s also an onboard timer so you have literally everything you require save the coffee beans.
Pros: The best model if you need to grind large batches of beans in a commercial coffee shop. Commanding design. Flat steel burrs stay sharper for longer. Scale and timer onboard giving everything you want in a single appliance.
Cons: Costly but should be considered an investment rather than an expense.
Bottom Line: If you need to grind lots of beans on a daily basis, this Baratza brew grinder is the obvious solution. Solid and built to last while also capable of delivering the precision you need for the best grind, the Forte BG kicks like a mule.
8. Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
The versatile Capresso Infinity conical burr grinder is one of the most effective grinders in its class.
The motor is designed to power away without creating too much noise or static. If you worry about waking everyone else in the house up when you make your morning coffee, you’re in safe hands with the Infinity.
16 settings could perhaps be improved but you’ll still get everything you need whether that’s a fine powder for your Turkish coffee or a much coarser blend for the French press.
The removable coffee container has room for 4oz of your ground coffee while the hopper takes 8.8oz of beans ready for grinding.
The pro-grade conical burrs deliver a precise grind and they’re built to stay the distance.
If you want a heavyweight grinder without taking out a bank loan, the Capresso Infinity deserves a place on any shortlist of the best burr grinders. Check one out and you’re highly unlikely to be disappointed.
Pros: Broad spread of settings encompassing everything from super-fine Turkish to the coarse grind required for your French press. Accommodates 8.8oz of beans and 4oz ground coffee. Super-simple to clean.
Cons: Doesn’t turn out the coarsest of grinds.
Bottom Line: Priced keenly and currently up for grabs at a steep discount, the Capresso Infinity punches significantly above its weight.
9. Cuisinart Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill
If you’re looking for a cheap burr grinder that doesn’t stiff you on the performance front, the Cuisinart Supreme is well worth your further investigation. You won’t find a comparable grinder at this price-point.
18 grind settings allows you all the freedom you need to match the consistency of your grind to yoru preferred brewing method. Tweaking the settings is a cakewalk even if you’ve never used a grinder before.
Grind enough coffee for 32 cups in the removable grind chamber. Slipping this out streamlines clean-up.
Auto shut-off immediately powers your grinder down once your desired consistency is reached.
The stainless steel chassis gives a far more robust and elegant design lacking in a number of much costlier grinders. Burrs are also fashioned from stainless steel so you’re getting value for money across the board.
While it’s still in production, this grinder has been trumped by a fresher, facelifted model.
Pros: Unbeatable value for money with impeccable brand heritage. Blitz enough beans for 32 cups of coffee. 18 grind settings is more than fit for purpose. Automatic shut-off for your peace of mind.
Cons: This model has now been superseded.
Bottom Line: If you have a tight budget but you don’t want to compromise the quality of the coffee in your cup, the Cuisinart Supreme is well worth popping on your shortlist. Price/performance ratio simply can’t be improved.
10. Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder
The Bodum Bistro is available at an extremely aggressive discount so act quickly if you want to capitalize on an outstanding bargain.
The combination of black, red and glass makes for a nice change compared to the usual black and silver on display with grinders.
Stainless steel conical burrs smash up your beans without the heat or friction that can impair the taste. A push-button timer simplifies operation wonderfully.
You might find the 12 grind settings slightly lacking but you’ll still have the flexibility you need for a variety of brewing methods and grind consistencies.
The friction clutch is a nice addition. This helps to protect the grinding gear giving you superior results and an improved lifespan.
Borosilicate glass is safe to pop in the dishwasher so you won’t be troubled with any messy clean-up. This glass also resists static building up so you won’t end up with fine coffee grounds smeared all over your grinder.
Pros: Exceptional design to make a real statement on the kitchen counter. Stainless steel conical burrs built to last. Dishwasher-friendly glass catcher.
Cons: 12 grind settings is underwhelming.
Bottom Line: Bodum serves up this design-driven grinder that also comes through in terms of performance. Get your coffee started like a connoisseur by grinding your beans directly before brewing with the Bodum Bistro.
11. DeLonghi America Conical Burr Grinder
DeLonghi make a broad and deep range of outstanding coffee machines. To sit neatly alongside on the bench is the America, a rock-solid conical burr grinder that’s built to last.
We’ll flag your attention off the bat to noise levels. While all mechanical grinders tend to kick out a little noise, the America is especially loud so buyer, beware.
If the thought of a bit of noise doesn’t phase you, you’ll be rewarded with a generous 18 settings giving you all the freedom you need regardless of your preferred brewing method. You’ll also be able to fine-tune settings so you can get your morning caffeine fix light, normal, or strong.
You’ll be able to grind straight into your portafilter or into a container. The upper burrs are removable to simplify cleaning.
Work your way through the 18 grind settings and you can see everything you need displayed on the crisp LCD display.
Noise notwithstanding, this is a first-rate grinder to guarantee you get the brewing process the right way.
Pros: 18 grind settings covering all brewing methods. Tweak settings from light through strong. Intuitive LCD display so see what you need at a glance. Grind beans directly into portafilter or into a container.
Cons: Kicks out a great deal of noise. Static is problematic but brush provided.
Bottom Line: The DeLonghi America is a robust but noisy grinder with enough precision and consistency to satisfy coffee fiends while remaining easy enough to use for complete beginners.
12. KitchenAid Burr Grinder
This fire hydrant red KitchenAid burr grinder looks highly attractive and makes a change from the usual sea of black and silver kitchen appliances. You can choose alternate colorways if a splash of red seems a little too much.
This is certainly not one for the bargain hunters so what do you get for your money?
The burrs rotate pretty slowly at 450 RPM. This is an advantage rather than a drawback, though. Your beans won’t end up getting overheated and the grinder will last longer, too.
While you’ll get all the power you need, the KitchenAid is a slim piece of kit ideal if you’ve got a crowded kitchen or you live in a smaller apartment.
The 7oz hopper is made from glass. This means you won’t get the static that can cause your coffee grinds to stick to the sides.
With a scoop and a cleaning brush thrown in, the KitchenAid might not be cheap but it still represents excellent overall value.
Pros: Arresting design. Glass hopper keeps static to a bearable minimum. Stainless steel burrs for precision and durability. Very little friction generated due to low 450 RPM speed.
Cons: A few reports of grinder jamming.
Bottom Line: If you want to inject a little color into your kitchen while getting a consistent grind for your coffee each and every time, KitchenAid delivers exactly that at a reasonable price-point.
13. Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill
Hario produce a wide line of accessories for your coffee brewing and this manual ceramic mill continues that tradition in fine style.
Tiny and perfect if you travel frequently and want the best coffee on the go. Slip this dinky unit into your luggage with ease and you won’t need to compromise when you’re on vacation.
The scaled-down dimensions obviously come with a trade-off… You’re not going to grind up more here than for a couple cups so you might want to rethink the Hario if you’ve got a larger family of coffee fiends.
As with all manual grinders, you’ll need to pack plenty of patience and be prepared for a little physical effort. In return, you’ll get a precise and user-friendly travel grinder that needs no electricity and kicks out no noise whatsoever. What’s not to love?
Pros: Extremely small footprint and perfect as a travel grinder. Easy to adjust ceramic mill. Make just enough coffee for 2 cups. Exceptional brand heritage.
Cons: As with all manual grinders, you’ll need to put in a little effort. Consistency can be questionable.
Bottom Line: Coffee specialist Hario come through with a first-class manual grinder ideal for anyone who dislike the noise and expense of electrical models.
14. Baratza Sette Conical Burr Grinder
Another entry from the inimitable Baratza next with the classic Sette conical burr grinder.
This machine is at the upper end of the residential price bracket so if you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful addition to your kitchen, this is not for you. If, on the other hand, you don’t mind paying a little more for quality, what makes this model worth the stiff price tag?
With 270 settings, there’s no excuse at all for not matching your coffee grind size with your brewing method. From powdery Turkish through to espresso, medium grind and on to the coarse consistency you need for French press and cold brew, you’re literally spoiled for choice here.
The grinder operates at reasonable pace so you can get plenty done but it’s not so quick as to create friction or to scorch your beans.
As you’d fully expect from a grinder at this price-point, the Baratza looks super-slick and would set off any kitchen counter wonderfully. Throw in powerful performance and this remains one of the finest grinders you can find. Check one out and see if you agree.
Pros: Highly accurate dosing. 270 grind settings is staggering. Grind as quickly as 5g a second so perfect if you have a small coffee shop.
Cons: Limited to producing fine grinds so give this a swerve if you’re a French press fan.
Bottom Line: For a powerful commercial grinder that’s equally at home in your kitchen, the Baratza Sette might not be cheap but you won’t regret the investment.
15. JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
We’ll round out with another manual grinder since these are surprisingly popular. Many people don’t like the idea of a noisy appliance adding to the chaos in the kitchen while others appreciate the portability afforded by a manual model.
With a robust choice of 18 settings, you’ll be free to blitz your beans to the exact desired consistency with relative ease. Although you’ll need to input a little effort, it’s hardly a workout at the gym.
Ceramic burrs are built to last even if you use your grinder on a regular basis.
This grinder is not only reasonably priced, you’ll also get a voucher for a free bag of coffee if you act quickly. What’s not to love?
Pros: 18 settings is a solid effort for a manual grinder. Very little noise in use. Ceramic burrs for increased lifespan.
Cons: Roll up your sleeves and get ready to put in a little work.
Bottom Line: JavaPresse pitch up something for those who like to roll up their sleeves and get hands-on with the grinding process.
V. Coffee Grinders Buying Guide
To round out today, we’ll guide you through what you should look out for when you’re hunting for the best coffee grinder before breaking down which type of grind you need for each brewing method.
- Manual or Electric Grinder?
- Blade or Burr Grinder?
- Durability and Intended Use
- Stepped or Stepless?
- Dosing or Non-Dosing?
- Price/Performance Ratio
Manual or Electric Grinder?
The first choice you’ll be confronted with on the buying trail, as we hinted at above, is a straight-up decision between a manual or electric grinder.
You should think about 3 factors when weighing up your options:
- How much are you prepared to spend?
- Do you object to putting in some physical effort to grind your beans?
- Which brewing methods do you use most often?
If you principally use coarser grinds for your French press, you could easily get away with a manual grinder if cash is tight. Manual grinders also work especially well for traveling since they’re so compact and portable.
If you routinely make espresso, though, you might find a manual model calls for a little too much effort.
You can easily find electric grinders that are a cinch to use so you don’t need to panic about being overwhelmed with tech.
For a truly effective coffee grinder, you do need to spend out so be prepared to save up and you’ll end up with a grinder capable of returning years of faithful use.
Blade or Burr Grinder?
A blade grinder is cheap and relatively effective but it’s still limited in output. If you’re looking for a consistent espresso grind every time, an inexpensive blade grinder is not the best route to achieving this.
Burr grinders, on the other hand, cost rather more but deliver much more fully in terms of performance.
A conical burr grinder has a pair of conical steel or ceramic burrs that are positioned depending on the grind size you’re looking for. The coffee beans are crushed between these burrs and the resulting particles of coffee are all the same size. One of the burrs oscillates while the other is static.
A flat burr grinder packs parallel blades which are flat rather than conical. These grinders serve up an even grind with a great surface area exposed and ready for extraction.
A burr grinder is by some distance your best option. These grinders won’t shatter your beans like a blade grinder and you won’t get too much heat or static generated either.
Durability and Intended Use
Different people have entirely different needs when they’re looking for a coffee grinder.
Do you want the occasional cup of coffee after dinner with guests?
Are you a coffee fiend who chugs down caffeine throughout the day?
Do you have a commercial coffee shop?
Depending on how you answer these questions, there’s a grinder to suit!
For casual home use, a manual grinder can work well. Cheap and reasonable effective for brewing methods like French press, don’t write off these manual models completely.
High-speed coffee grinders with direct drive motors are the next step up delivering consistency on a budget without calling for any user input.
Doserless grinders are normally fit for purpose in a home kitchen – more on those directly below.
If you need a more rugged grinder cut out for use in a commercial setting, a low-speed grinder with direct drive or gear reduction makes a smart bet. You’ll enjoy consistency, durability, and almost no heat or static.
When you need to prepare your coffee in batches, it makes sense to look for a dosing grinder to reduce waste while slashing cleaning to the bare minimum.
Stepped or Stepless?
A grinder with pre-set options in place is known as a stepped grinder. The vast bulk of electric burr grinders are this variant.
Stepless grinders, by contrast, are ideal if you prefer to play around a little with your grinding. These grinders are typically more expensive and you’ll need to look a bit harder to find one. You can customize your grind size completely but you will need to undertake quite a learning curve to achieve great results.
Dosing or Non-Dosing?
A dosing grinder is made so it collects the ground coffee in a container. When you yank the handle on the grinder these grounds are dispensed directly into a portafilter ready for action.
As the ground coffee comes out through the chute and into the sections of the ground coffee container, each containing roughly 6 to 7g of coffee, enough for a single shot. To serve a double shot, you’d simply use two sections of the container.
A non-dosing grinder is designed to grind straight into a portafilter from an espresso maker.
We would recommend that you don’t base your buying decision purely on the bottom line.
Think closely about your intended use and spend as much as you need to get the job done. You won’t need a heavy-duty commercial grinder if you only drink a few cups of coffee each week. Equally, there’s no point in opting for a flimsy and inexpensive model if you’re planning to use it in your coffee shop.
Focus on overall value and you’ll have more chance of ending up with the best grinder.
VI. Guide To Setting The Right Coffee Ground Size
So, now you’ve got your grinder in place and you’re ready to blitz those beans directly before brewing, how do you make sure they’re the right size for the brewing method?
Luckily, we’ve got you covered. First we’ll break down the 7 major grind sizes. Yes, we know many grinders have 30, 40 or even more than 100 settings but we’re talking about dialing in the main size. Between these boundaries, you’ll be able to experiment and fine-tune your grind exactly to taste.
Here are your main options:
- Super-Fine / Turkish
Extra-coarse is the largest grind size you’ll get with a regular burr grinder.
Extra-coarse coffee grounds resemble peppercorns but what are they used for?
Well, if you want some no-nonsense cowboy coffee when you’re camping, extra-coarse grinds work wonderfully. This consistency also responds well to cold brewing.
Coarsely ground coffee beans resemble sea salt in texture.
The classic French press needs coarse grounds since the water is in contact with the coffee for such a long time. Coarse grounds also go down well cold brewed or popped in a percolator.
Resembling construction sand in terms of consistency, medium-coarse grounds work well with infusion methods.
Drippers like those from Hario and Chemex are the perfect experimenting ground if you want to widen your horizons to include medium-coarse.
From pour-over to drip coffee, from the Aeropress to the siphon brewer, medium grounds are flexible and multi-purpose.
Start with a medium grind if you’re new to grinding your own beans. You can then easily branch out in either direction, both coarser and finer.
If you’ve got a pour-over dripper, a medium-fine grind just shy of the powder you need for great espresso is your best bet.
Finer than salt, use a fine grind if you want espresso like the Italians drink it.
A fine grind also comes to the fore if you’re getting back to basics with a Moka pot.
7) Super-Fine / Turkish
Turkish coffee is super-fine and hard to get hold of. If you want to grind your own, make certain in advance that the grinder is capable of getting the beans down this fine. Fail to check in advance and you could end up with an expensive mistake that stays in the closet.
Think about your favorite brewing method and come back to this guide if you need to reference which grind size to use.
Here’s a summary of brewing methods vs grind sizes:
- French Press: Very coarse
- Pour-Over: Coarse
- Drip: Coarse to medium
- Siphon: Fine
- Espresso: Very fine
- Turkish: Super-fine
1) Which is better, a blade grinder or a burr grinder?
Burr grinders are by far and away your best bet. If you strip it all down, the only real plus points of blade grinders are the low price and the portable nature. In every other sense, they’re a far weaker choice. You’ll find it much easier to grind consistently with a burr grinder, and you’ll get much less heat and static generated.
2) Is high-speed or low-speed grinding better and why?
If you’re using a manual grinder, you won’t ruin your beans through creating too much heat however quickly you can grind. If you’re choosing to use a blade grinder, don’t grind too quickly or you risk damaging the beans. Consistency is much more important than speed when you’re grinding. Let’s face it, if you’re going to the trouble of grinding your own beans, you might just as well get the job done properly.
3) How can you adjust your grinder to the right grind size?
Adjusting the grind size is normally straightforward. The success or failure of your grinder stands and falls on how user-friendly the adjustment experience is. You should find a simple dial running from coarse in one direction out to fine in the other. You need to shift this dial very slowly in increments of just a few millimeters. Once you’re done, switch the grinder on for 10 seconds then throw away what you just ground. Try a test shot and fine-tune further if necessary.
4) How can you clean your grinder?
If you have a manual grinder, strip it down so nothing but the main shell and burrs are in place. Remove the washers, the rod, the spring and the inner burr. Scour the lid and handle with warm, soapy water. Q-Tips work well for cleaning smaller components. Manual grinders should stay away from the dishwasher. It might seem like a minor hassle to clean your grinder but it’s better than damaging it in the dishwasher. To clean electric grinders, consider adding a quarter cup of rice to the grinder and letting it run for a minute. Wipe the interior down with some damp paper towels to get rid of the rice flour and you’re all set. As with any kitchen appliance, little and often is the best approach to maintenance. If you stay on top of your grinder and don’t allow it to get clogged up with residue, clean-up will never be too much hassle.
5) Do you get more caffeine if you use more coffee grounds?
Yes. Whatever brewing method you use, the more grounds you press into action, the higher the caffeine content. This is simple math. What’s more important if you’re looking at caffeine levels is the variety of coffee bean and the roast profile. Robusta beans pack roughly double the caffeine content of Arabica despite being objectively cruder and poorer. Lighter roasts have more caffeine than darker roasts.
Well, after today’s exhaustive exploration, you should have an easily-assembled shortlist to simplify your buying decision.
If you take note of the guidance throughout this guide, you should have no trouble getting the grind exactly right for your preferred brewing method.
Anyone who has read this far obviously appreciates the benefits of grinding beans directly before brewing so we’d like to congratulate you for understanding why you should avoid pre-ground coffee wherever possible. Don’t get us wrong, pre-ground has its place, but if you’re looking for outright quality, you simply can’t beat grinding whole beans before you brew up.
Bookmark La Mano Coffee as your one-stop shop for everything coffee-related. Follow us on social media, too. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if there’s anything we can do to help you and, most importantly, come back soon! We update our content several times a week so don’t miss out over the coming holiday season. We’ve got plenty more of the best products for you along with more handy hints to make your life easier.