A grinder is more important than the coffee maker
For a coffee drinker, there’s nothing like waking up to the divine aroma of newly ground coffee beans. The whole experience of grinding the beans and making a fresh cup of coffee is something to savour, creating a calm in the morning before the rush of the day catches up. This is a guide to choosing a home coffee grinder.
If you aren’t obsessed with coffee and don’t spend time experimenting with coffee and the connected paraphernalia, a coffee grinder might be something you grind spices with as well.
Coffee connoisseurs and coffee geeks know that for a particular budget for coffee equipment, you should buy the best grinder for your budget even if it means getting a lower grade machine. If you’ve got the top end coffee machine but poor beans and a lousy grinder, the coffee maker will starkly reflect this.
This is why investing in a great coffee grinder can make a difference to your perfect cup of coffee.
Stick with a burr grinder
The very first thing if you want to invest in a coffee grinder, we would recommend is keeping away from the blade based coffee grinders. The coffee grinders that also are used to grind spices often fit into this category. Any type of burr grinders will be much better. The reason is because blade grinders are chopping rather than grinding. This results in an inconsistent grind for whatever type of coffee. They also heat up the beans which changes the flavour.
In our view, here are the list of things that matter when you are considering a grinder for your home.
Things To Consider
1.How often & how much will you grind?
Will you grind per cup or for a whole jug? Would you prefer to grind for a couple of days at a time? For the perfect cup of coffee it is best to grind fresh just before you make your cup or jug of coffee.
Coffee powder goes stale quickly unless stored in a vacuum-packed bag. But the moment you open the bag and air comes in contact the process of deterioration begins.
The answer to this question will determine the size and possibly type of your grinder. For instance, a manual grinder will be quite a lot of work if you want to grind coffee for 10 cups at a time.
2. Size & ease of filling grinder
Not something you normally think about, but we’ve had the experience of having a grinder that was so large it didn’t fit under our counter top units. More than a bit of a problem, because then you need to find a special place for the grinder which may not be the closest to your coffee preparation area.
We finally have a coffee grinder that fits under the counter top units, but since it just about fits, trying to fill it with coffee does take some juggling. This can be something you get used to or will annoy you each time you must fill the grinder. Depending on your personality, this maybe something to keep in mind.
3. Range of Grinds
This is important if you like to drink a variety of types of coffees. If you like to vary your coffee from a French press on occasion, to the default filter coffee during the day and an espresso in the evenings, you need a grinder that has these various settings. Still, it will take experience and practice to get the perfect cup for each of these types. Get ready to have to change this for each new type of coffee beans you experiment with. You could spend a lot of time fiddling with your coffee grinder even if you have bought the best coffee grinder for your brew and budget. Getting a consistent and good quality espresso grind is usually something that’s the capability of top end machines.
One of the criteria that distinguishes top end grinders is the fact that they put in a lot of emphasis on keeping the noise down. If you have a baby who wakes at the slightest or any reason to keep the noise down at home, then this will be important to you. On the other hand if you don’t mind the noise for the short periods of time, this isn’t something to consider.
5. Dose on a timer or by volume or weight?
The budget end automatic grinders tend to provide a dose based on a timer. However, the top end of the range does things like checking the volume or weight to ensure consistency of your cup of coffee.
Other factors to check when you are buying a grinder
Good coffee grinders create a consistent grind. The first thing that matters is to have a grinder that creates a constant grind time after time for a setting. It destroys a cup of coffee if the coffee beans are ground to coarse or too fine or even worse has both in the same grind.
2. The type of burr
Even in the burr machines there are two types of burrs – conical & flat. The conical is known to be more forgiving among baristas, but the budget end flat burr can cause the grind to clump. So on the lower end of the budget, it’s best to stick to a conical burr while at the top end, the flat burr will provide a consistency and quality.
3. Ease of Maintenance
How easy is it to clean the grinder? What about the ease and availability and costs of service? If you’ve invested in an expensive grinder, then this is something you want to check on before buying.
For a deep dive into home coffee grinders, take a look at our articles under the coffee grinders section. The article on Best Manual Coffee Grinder gives you an easy budget option to get started with grinders.