The Best Types of Coffee Grinders You Can Buy
Why is it important to get the grind right?
It’s no secret that Americans, especially young Americans, spend a good chunk of change on coffee. In fact, the average American spends over £800 every year on their caffeine buzz.
It’s not just Americans that love coffee, either. In 2018, over £6 billion worth of coffee was sold in the UK, beating out tea sales by a longshot.
And hey, we’re not knocking the caffeine-craving lifestyle. With seven different types of coffee to choose from in our shop, you know we love coffee as much as you do. But we believe that every cup of coffee should be delicious!
Grinding your coffee beans at home is just one of many ways that you can boost your coffee’s flavor. Read on to find out more about coffee grinders and which ones we think are the absolute best.
Why grind your own beans?
After coffee beans are roasted, they need to be ground to release the oils and gases that give coffee that great aroma and flavor.
Waiting to grind your coffee until right before you brew it can help to keep those oils and gases intact until you’re ready for them. Oxygen, moisture, and CO2 can alter the chemical state of your coffee grounds over time. A whole bean, however, can act as protective armor until you’re ready to grind and brew.
Grinding your own beans will also allow you to control the size of your grind. Depending on your brewing method, certain grinds are more optimal than others. (Which is why we offer different grind options for those of us who don’t want to grind the beans ourselves but still want the perfect cup!)
A good rule of thumb is that finer coffee requires a shorter contact time to extract flavor. In other words, something like a french press, that requires you to immerse your coffee in water for several minutes, should be used for coarse grounds. If you’re using something like an espresso maker, which pushes water quickly through coffee grounds, you should use finer grounds.
Having your own coffee grinder gives you the ability to transition from brewing style to brewing style, all with the same batch of coffee beans.
What kind of coffee grinders are there?
If you’re convinced that it’s time to try grinding your coffee beans at home, read on to find out more about the coffee grinders available now. We’re breaking them down into four categories: blades, burrs, automatic, and manual.
Blades and burrs have to do with the method grinders use to break up coffee beans. Automatic and manual have more to do with your end of the work. Let’s get into the pros and cons of each category and our personal recommendations for each!
If you’re unsure on what the different type of coffee roasts are and how to roast green coffee beans, we wrote an article on it. It’s good to understand what the differences are in roasts. Essentially, the darker the roast, the more it’s masking the flavours meaning the bean might be cheaper and lower in quality. It’s always better to go for a lighter or medium roast and to avoid dark roasts. You can also learn more about quality by reading our article on speciality coffee.
Blade grinders are usually on the cheaper side and a good choice for beginners or people who aren’t quite ready to commit to the self-grinding life.
Blade grinders are sometimes referred to as propeller grinders because the blades oscillate like the propellers on an airplane. The beans are jostled around in the grinder and sliced at random, which means that your grind won’t be as uniform.
An uneven grind will affect the taste of your brew, but it won’t ruin your coffee. Chances are, people who are newer to the world of made-at-home coffee won’t notice the difference. However, if you’re ready to really up your game, a burr grinder is the better option.
Burr grinders use two serrated plates (these are the “burrs”) that oscillate to crush up each bean. They are designed to spit out your coffee grounds only once they have been crushed into the right size. For that reason, they’re going to produce much more uniform grounds than a blade grinder will.
Burrs are often made of either ceramic or steel. Steel burr grinders are more affordable and do a good job, but may not last as long. Ceramic burrs are often used for manual burr grinders and have a longer lifespan, although they aren’t as affordable.
All burr grinders allow you to adjust the distance between the burrs in order to change the size of your grounds. Whether you’re using an AeroPress, a coffee dripper, or a good old fashioned coffee pot, you’ll have the perfect grounds every time.
Most grocery stores that provide coffee grinders in-store use burr grinders. If you’re using a blade grinder but want to see the difference a burr grinder can make, use your grocery store’s grinder and test it out!
If you don’t have room in your morning routine to hand-grind your coffee beans, try out an automatic grinder. Simply plug it in, choose your setting, dump in your beans, and push a button! The grinder will take care of the rest.
Automatic grinders have come a long way. You can get automatic grinders with either blades or burrs and automatic burr grinders will produce that uniform grind we love!
Some argue that manual grinders produce better coffee grounds than automatic grinders. In our opinion, one is not better overall than the other as long as you pick a good model.
Manual grinders always use burrs rather than blades, which may account for the idea that manual grinders are superior. The function of the burrs is the same either way, but rather than pushing a button, you’ll be turning a hand crank.
Perhaps one of the best features of a manual grinder is the look. If you love an old-timey feel, you’ll love displaying a manual grinder in your kitchen!
The best coffee grinders out there
Because there are so many options out there and prices range from £10 to over £200, we’re going to walk you through our favourite grinders in each category. We’ve stayed in the mid-range when it comes to price because we believe that your equipment doesn’t have to break the bank to deliver a fantastic cup of coffee!
The Krups Twin Blade Coffee Mill
This automatic blade coffee grinder is great for beginners or anyone on a tight budget, ringing up at less than £20. It can hold up to 2.6 ounces of coffee beans, which is perfectly fine for anyone who wants fresh ground coffee every day. Simply flip up the lid to dump in your beans and push the aptly named one-touch button.
It’s affordable and incredibly easy to use. It’s also compact and durable, so you can store it and even travel with it. Some users even use this coffee grinder to grind herbs, nuts, and other cooking goodies.
You can’t choose different settings for different grounds, so you may have to babysit it a bit. For courser grounds, you’ll need to pulse the button, rather than leaving it on. For finer grounds, you’ll want to grind for a bit, shake to redistribute the beans, then grind again.
Ultimately, we recommend this grinder as the best beginner’s grinder on the market!
The Cuisinart Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill
As far as automatic burr grinders, this is definitely in the lower price range, ringing up at less than £60. (Compare that to the Breville Smart Grinder, which costs a little less than £160!) This burr grinder doesn’t sacrifice features for price, making it a great mid-range option.
This coffee grinder will let you grind up to 8 ounces of coffee beans in one go. This gives you the option to make enough grounds for a quick cup of french press coffee or a full pot for the whole family!
This mid-range grinder offers 18 different settings from extra fine to extra course. Just pick your setting, hit the button, and let the grinder do its thing. Plus, the removable grind chamber is easy to dump and easy to clean.
Because this is a mid-range option, it may not be as precise as more expensive options. In fact, some users have noted fine grounds lingering at the bottom of every batch, no matter how coarse they wanted the grind to be. Depending on your preferred brewing method, you may notice a bit of a residue at the bottom of your cup.
If you want a burr grinder but don’t want to dish out $100 or more, this is your best option!
Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill “Canister”
Hario is a big name in coffee grinding, and it’s a brand you can trust. We’ve picked this model because it has a vintage look for less than £40! Like the Quiseen Grinder, this coffee grinder is ideal for single-use grinding, as it can hold about 4 ounces of coffee beans at a time.
The burrs are ceramic, which are typically more durable than steel. The glass bottom can be fully sealed to create a safe storage space for leftover grounds. Plus, the burrs are adjustable, so you can choose from a variety of grinds.
It is on the smaller side so you’ll have to use it multiple times throughout the day if you drink a lot of coffee. The burrs must be adjusted manually, and it may take some practice getting down the perfect grind.
Overall, this a great mid-range manual grinder that will give you a sense of whether you prefer to do things by hand!
Now that you know more about the different kinds of coffee grinders and what’s out there right now, it’s time to get grinding!
If you’re ready to up your coffee game, check out our shop and choose from our hand-selected batches. If you’re feeling really ambitious, pick up the full collection and sample them all! And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more coffee-loving goodness!