Do you love having a cup of coffee at least once a day, or bring a full mug
with you to work? Do you buy ground coffee or prefer custom-ground coffee from beans processed in the comfort of your kitchen? Whether you need to replace your broken coffee grinder or simply want to grind coffee beans for the first time, you’re in the right place. Yeah, buying already ground coffee is convenient, but it doesn’t offer the same wonderful taste that home-ground coffee does. Plus, you can select the size of the grind to your exact preference.
A coffee grinder is the most important tool in the chain of making coffee. Whether you have the best espresso-coffee machine
in your kitchen or you use your Keurig
every day, there’s need to buy a good coffee grinder to crush your beans to an evenness of your liking. The taste of your coffee will purely depend on how your coffee beans are ground—aim for a grinder that can get your beans to the right temperature and evenness.
The more coffee beans you grind, the hotter they get as the parts heat up. Ground coffee also gets statically charged. The level of static charge depends on the speed of your grinder, humidity, how the ground coffee exits the chute, the coffee being ground, and of course, temperature. High-speed grinders are known to generate the most heat and static charges. Although most of these factors can be beyond your control, you have the choice of picking a coffee grinder based on your personal preferences and tastes. Remember, getting the beans too hot can ruin the flavor!
For coffee aficionados, there is absolutely no comparison between the taste of a cup of java made from freshly ground beans and ones that come pre-ground in a bag. Grinding coffee beans as close to the time of brewing as possible protects them from contamination, moisture, and oxidation, not to mention preserves that wonderful coffee aroma.
The first thing you should determine is whether you want a blade or burr grinder—decide this before moving a step further into your buying process. This guide will help you make an informed buying decision for a coffee grinder that suits your specific requirements.
When shopping for a coffee grinder, you need to work on a budget. How do you establish a working budget? If you’re shopping for a grinder, you probably already own an espresso machine or you’re likely to buy one. The cost of buying a grinder shouldn’t surpass what you’d spend on the coffee maker.
For instance, if your budget for the espresso machine is $900, establish a budget of $250 to $300 for a grinder. The price of a coffee grinder is totally dependent on the materials used to make it, the brand behind it, quality, built-in features, capacity, and size, among other important variables.
Although the market is flooded with various grinders with different price tags, ensure you pick a good quality machine to grind your coffee beans. It’s easy to be tempted to buy a cheap coffee grinder; however, it might turn out to be expensive in the long run. Invest in a good grinder that you can use for many years.
With brands such as Mr. Coffee and Hamilton Beach, you’ll find grinders priced as low as $20. On the other hand, a brand such as Mazzer has high-end grinders that retail at high costs of up to $1500. Generally, you’ll find a good grinder in the broad price range of $20 to $2,000. Simply pick the right grinder based on your budget and the features you’re likely to use when crushing your fresh beans.
Coffee grinders come in different styles, designs, brands, and modes of operation. They also come with different features. As such, the quality of coffee grinders varies. Therefore, you need to pick a coffee grinder based on the coffee maker you have, hence the fineness level acceptable, and your established budget. Also choose a grinder depending on whether you intend to use it at home or commercially. Choose the right features for your grinder accordingly.
Here a few important features to look out for:
- Size of crushed coffee granules compatible with your coffee-maker
- Blade vs. burr grinders for coarse or fine coffee granules, respectively
- Low-speed vs. high-speed for quiet or noisy operations, respectively
- Gear reduction vs. direct drive for noisy operations or top-quality coffee, respectively
- Dosing vs. non-dosing grinders for convenience and good quality coffee
- Stepped or Stepless adjustment
With non-dosing and stepless adjustment grinders, you can expect to pay more than for their counterparts, due to increased convenience.
Construction and Design
Size of Crushed Coffee Granules
The evenness or size of crushed coffee granules depends on your particular grinder. The freshness of your coffee beans, the machine you use to brew coffee, and how the coffee is roasted, determine the size of crushed coffee granules your grinder is expected to produce.
Since different coffee machines are made to extract the aroma and flavor of coffee beans in various ways, you need to pick one that produces granule sizes that match your specific coffee brewing machine. For instance, French press coffee machines need very coarse coffee granules, whereas Turkish coffee requires powdery granules.
Blade vs. Burr
Next, decide whether you want a blade or burr grinder.
Blade grinders are designed to use blades to crush coffee beans. Since they don’t grind consistently, they don’t produce quality coffee. The longer you grind your coffee, the finer the granules. These blades usually feature built-in timers to set the duration you want a grinding session to last.
One con of using blade grinders is the fact that they generate static charge that can create a mess by throwing coffee granules all over the place. The charge causes the granules to stick on surfaces they fall onto. For these reasons, you might want to consider a burr grinder.
Burr grinders use burrs to evenly grind coffee beans into the same granule size, meaning they make good quality coffee. Choose between the two types of burr grinders: flat plate and conical grinders.
Designed for both home and commercial use, flat plate and conical burr grinders produce fine coffee for use with espresso machines. Flat plate burrs are used in grinders of varying qualities whereas conical burrs find use in low-speed gear-reduction grinders.
Low vs. High Speed
Low-speed grinders are also known as ‘Cadillac’ grinders. They operate quietly and produce little to no heat and static charge. The motor of low-speed grinders neither bogs down nor clogs up, finely grinding coffee beans. Available as flat or conical burr grinders, they’re categorized into ‘gear-reduction’ and ‘direct-drive’ grinders.
High-speed grinders generate heat just like blade grinders, but they give you more control in choosing a suitable size of coffee granules for your coffee-maker. Also known as ‘direct-drive’ grinders, they feature a motor built into the burrs for same-speed turns. These grinders deliver consistent grinds.
Gear Reduction vs. Direct Drive
Gear-reduction grinders feature high-speed motors built into a gear set for burr speed reduction. They work just like a bicycle going up a hill slowly with gears shifted down and legs moving fast. When in operation, these grinders are noisier than direct-drive grinders. However, the motors don’t bog down.
Direct drive grinders are designed for home and light commercial use, and are the best high-end grinding machines and the most expensive on the market. For same-speed spins, low-speed motors are built onto the burrs directly. High-quality motors are used for easy load handling as low-quality motors would bog down during operation. Moreover, these grinders generate low static charge and heat, and operate quietly.
Dosing vs. Non-Dosing Grinders
Dosing grinders are built to direct ground coffee granules into a container. With the pull of a handle, the granules are dispensed into a coffee-maker’s receptacle such as a porta-filter. The container that receives the ground coffee is divided into six equal sections of about six to seven grams of capacity. This is adjustable in some coffee grinders.
Non-dosing grinders grind coffee directly into a coffee-maker’s receptacle. Some brands can be both dosing and non-dosing grinders such as the Baratza grinders.
Stepped vs. Stepless Adjustment
Stepped grinders can either be ‘self-holding’ or ‘lever release’. Stepped adjustments remain fixed or locked once an adjustment on grinding setting is made.
Stepless grinders come with several fineness settings. Choose a setting as you desire with no limitations. You can easily fine-tune your grinder from coarse to fine settings as you deem necessary.
Performance and Ease of Use
Choose the right coffee grinder that produces coffee granules usable with your type of coffee maker. For instance, if you own an espresso machine, you need a grinder that finely crushes coffee beans. Choose the right speed, adjustment type, and whether you want a dosing or non-dosing style grinder. Since burr coffee grinders are the best, consider one of those if it’s important for you to produce top-quality coffee.
Whichever grinder you pick, ensure it’s high-performing and easy to use. Look out for a user manual and instructions on how to properly care for and maintain your grinder. Most importantly, buy a grinder with a warranty for protection from manufacturing faults.
The best coffee mills are designed for fast performance and can complete a grind cycle in a few seconds. You’ll also want to consider the size of the grinder, as well as the hopper capacity to make sure it can handle the amount of beans you want to grind at a time. Let’s take a look and see if one of our recommendations can suit your unique needs to grind coffee beans for a distinct aroma.
Whether you run a bar or business in need of a large-capacity grinder, or you just want to grind your own coffee beans at home, there’s a product out there designed to meet your needs. We hope that the 5 popular brands of coffee grinders we’ve reviewed will take you a step closer to the best-tasting coffee you’ve ever brewed.