It’s important to understand what to look for when buying a coffee grinder, so you can choose one that will deliver the right grind time after time.
Here are the top seven things to know when purchasing a coffee grinder:
Look for grind settings
The most basic coffee grinders only have one setting, i.e., fine, which is great for drip coffee—but if you’re willing to shell out some extra cash (and counter space), you can find grinders with advanced settings that let you select how coarse or fine your grounds will be. The more control you have over your grind size, the better, as it means you can dial in exactly what kind of brew you want and tailor it to each drink. If possible, look for a grinder with multiple levels of coarseness; finer grounds are optimal for espresso and Turkish coffee. Coarser grounds are best suited for French press or percolators. Ultimately, it’s about personal preference—feel free to experiment until you find what’s suitable for your taste buds.
Types of Coffee Grinders:
Coffee grinders come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and price points. When choosing the right grinder for you, there are many factors to consider, including what type of coffee you like to drink, how much coffee you drink, and your budget.
Blade coffee grinders:
Blade grinders are the most affordable coffee grinder, and they get the job done quickly and efficiently. Blade grinders work by chopping up the beans with a spinning blade, similar to how a food processor works. Blade grinders are suitable for quick, coarse grinding, but they are inconsistent and can produce uneven results.
Burr coffee grinders:
Burr coffee grinders use two rotating plates (called burrs) to grind the coffee beans. The distance between the burrs can be adjusted, which allows for a more consistent and uniform grind. Burr grinders are more expensive than blade grinders, but they produce a higher quality, more uniform grind.
Manual coffee grinders:
Manual coffee grinders are similar to burr grinders, but they are operated by hand. This can be a more time-consuming process, but it is often worth it for the superior quality of the grind. Manual grinders are also more portable than electric grinders, making them a good choice for traveling coffee lovers.
Electric coffee grinders:
Electric coffee grinders are the most convenient type of grinder, as they do all the work for you. They are typically more expensive than manual or blade grinders, but they are worth it for their ease of use. Electric grinders come in both burr and blade varieties.
Consider an electric grinder:
If you drink coffee every day, consider going electric. It’s not just convenience that makes electric grinders appealing— they also tend to produce less heat and give you more consistent grounds than other machines. If you have an appliance-heavy kitchen or want your coffee grinder on display, an electric model may be better. Just make sure it can do both fine and coarse grinds; otherwise, it’ll just be taking up space on your counter.
Grind beans right before brewing
Coffee beans begin losing their flavor immediately after grinding. That’s why it’s a good idea to buy whole beans and grind them right before brewing. It’s also important to store your coffee in an airtight container since exposure to air will affect its flavor. If you must leave it out, be sure that you keep it away from sources of heat or moisture. And if you don’t plan on using your coffee within a week, freeze it.
Coffee should not come in contact with metal. It has oils that can react with certain metals—like aluminum—which impart unpleasant flavors into your cup.
Use quality beans:
If you’re interested in buying a coffee grinder, consider your beans first. For your coffee grinder to work, you need to stock it with quality whole beans. Whole bean coffees tend to have more flavor and produce better results from your new coffee grinder. You won’t have to bother with storing ground coffee. Plus, whole bean coffees are often fresher than pre-ground varieties.
Always use the same grind setting:
Consistency is important when it comes to using your coffee grinder. If you keep switching between different settings, it can cause over-extraction and poor flavor. You can experiment by grinding two tablespoons of beans in each setting. The consistency will differ depending on how much liquid you add after brewing.
It’s easy to buy a cheap coffee grinder and call it a day, but investing just a little more time upfront can ensure you have one of your most important kitchen equipment for years to come. Don’t get distracted by all the details manufacturers use as marketing ploys (bells and whistles). Instead, look for something that suits your budget and requirements.
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