Coffee Grinders: What You Need to Know

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    What You Need to Know About Coffee Grinders

    Why Do You Need A Coffee Grinder? Most coffee connoisseurs will only buy whole beans, not pre-ground coffee. They do this for a very good reason: they like as much control as possible over the quality and taste of the finished brew.

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    It’s not only the beans themselves that are crucial. The bean, the water, the brewing system, the filters, and even the cup are important. But the grinder is also critical. It helps create the perfect medium for extracting every drop of flavor from the beans for each cup.

    The grinder is considered by many to be the second most important tool in assuring excellence in coffee brewing.

    A Few Things to Consider:

    Let’s consider a few factors which are very useful when contemplating the purchase of a new grinder.


    The price is always a consideration and must not be treated as an afterthought. Be reasonable about the price you are willing to pay. With coffee grinders, as with anything else, quality comes with a higher price. A quality grinder will last many years, and you will want to buy the best you can afford. A cheaper grinder will not provide quality service or the great cup(s) of coffee you want. But don’t always expect the highest price to mean the best quality. Do your research ahead of time. Check coffee grinder reviews online, which will be very helpful in making the wisest decision.

    Counter Space:

    The counter space that is needed is another consideration. Most die-hard coffee drinkers do not have a problem devoting whatever room is necessary for this tool. However, there are many models available that take less room than others. In your own mind, cost or taste benefit analysis will determine whether the space is better served as a resting place for a coffee grinder or something else.

    The Decision about Burr Type:

    burr coffee grinder vs blade coffee grinder

    There are two types of electric grinders: blade or burr. There is a remarkable difference in the finished ground coffee between these two types of grinders. There is certainly a consensus among coffee experts about a couple of things when it comes to burr type.

    1. Conical burr grinders enhance the aromatics. Lovers of more acidic brews may enjoy this type more.
    2. Blade-type units give those looking for a fuller body coffee a better experience.
    3. Conical burr grinders always produce a more consistent, even grind than the blade varieties of grinders.
    4. Blade-type units are far less expensive than burr grinders.

    When trying to decide between two types of grinders, the above information may swing your decision one way or another.

    Your specific brewing method:

    Do you primarily brew drip coffee? Or is it a French Press that you must have? Do you love the Aeropress system? Or is your preferred caffeinated beverage an espresso?

    Depending on your brewing method, different sizes of particles from your grinder will be required. Some grinders are designed specifically to create espresso-quality results, while others are better for automatic drip brewing. You can narrow down which grinder will accomplish the appropriate size that you need.

    Espresso Requires a Specific grind

    Espresso, in particular, needs very fine particles. The grinder used for this specialty drink must produce a consistently fine grind. Espresso is brewed under a great amount of pressure, in the 9-bar or 135 PSI range, in a short period of time. An inconsistent grind will produce different extraction rates and possibly extreme channeling, neither of which create a delicious espresso.

    Espresso Grinders: Doser vs. Doserless?

    The container on the front of some espresso grinders is called a doser. Quite simply, the doser is a chamber that collects the coffee as it is ground. It catches the ground coffee and dispenses it into the portafilter with a simple pull of the handle. It was designed originally to dispense pre-measured quantities as a time and motion saver (1 pull for 1 shot, 2 pulls for a double, etc.) Though coffee lovers around the world have moved beyond pre-grinding, the doser still has certain fans. Some pull the handle continuously during grinding, so that the grounds are broken up and they are fluffed as they fall into the filter basket.

    Using the doser and the minor effort of having to pull the handle does result in a small amount of stale coffee grounds being left in the grinder when you are done. This is the reason many people simply prefer to use a doserless grinder. This also means you do not have to pull the handle to fill the filter basket, and there are no stale grounds left in the machine. Your decision between the two grinders, your desire for freshness may weigh in favor of the doserless unit. If you are extremely fond of dose preparation, the doser will assist you in this. The decision is totally up to you, and you should weigh type depending on your preference.

    There Are Several Ways to Look At This Question:

    If you are obsessive about espresso, even if you quite enjoy other brewing methods, consider investing in a new or reconditioned espresso grinder. It is not quite as convenient as an all-purpose grinder, but it is certainly faster and provides a quality grind geared toward espresso brewing.

    For all-purpose grinders, there has never been more variety on the market than there is today. You can easily find grinders that can handle anything from espresso to a French press and to even regular drip coffeemakers. In years past, customers had to choose whether the grinder handled espresso or everything else. This is fortunately no longer the case. Domestic coffee grinders such as the Baratza line have many models that do double duty so you can seamlessly use them for any type of system. These grinders handle the grind levels needed for all-around coffee use for you and whatever friends you invite in for a cup, whether you plan to use it for espresso or not.

    The Hand-Grinding Approach:

    manual coffee grinder

    Some of the best quality hand grinders come from Japan, such as the Porlex, Hario, and Kyocera brands. Some quite stylish ones originate in Germany and are slightly more expensive than their Japanese counterparts. The ones that focus on grinding precision come from the good ol’ USA (Orphan Espresso), and are usually much more expensive. While hand grinders are just the ticket for traveling, many people consider them to provide the utmost in control.

    Using a hand grinder for those back-to-back shots of espresso might prove to be too much work for the cost savings it represents. But the fragrance from a bean hand-ground by a ceramic mill is superior to that produced by using an electric one.

    Which type of grinder is the right one for you?

    The amount of information presented here should give you all that you need to make an informed decision about the right one for you. Remember: You get what you pay for when it comes to electric grinders. When you see one advertised for less than $100.00, do careful product research to see if it is really a bargain, or a waste of money. If the store sign or packaging indicates ‘burr grinder,’ think about what kind of burr grinder you are looking for. Be aware that a label that does not spell it out probably will not provide a consistent grind. Ask the salesperson about the burr material and whether the sets are replaceable. Most high-quality electric grinders will have replaceable burrs.

    Remember that next to the quality of the water, the grinder is the most important factor in the taste of your favorite hot beverage.

    Happy brewing through better grounds!


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