How to buy a coffee grinder
A coffee grinder buying guide
With all the choices on a barista's menu, it's no wonder that buying a coffee grinder isn't simple. There are so many different factors to consider, and each one contributes to the taste and strength of your cup of coffee. This coffee grinder buying guide will help you sort through some of the options so you can choose the best coffee grinder for your morning cup of Joe.
>> A simple grinder versus a multipurpose machine
The first step in choosing which coffee grinder to buy is to clarify your needs. Are you looking for a small kitchen appliance that will grind and brew all at once? If you already have a coffee maker and you simply want to grind your own beans, then you need a single-purpose grinder. Or are you interested in a combo coffee, tea and espresso appliance?
>> Consider the type of coffee you will grind
The correct grind size for the coffee maker produces the tastiest cup of coffee. When learning how to buy a coffee maker, think of the kinds of coffee you like to drink. The different types require different grind sizes. Different types of coffee grinders do a better job with different coffee machines. In most cases, the coffee with the shortest brew times needs the finest texture. Espresso has the shortest brew time and needs an extra-fine grind.
>> Consider the type of coffee maker you want
Different coffee makers require different grinds. If you decide not to buy a multipurpose machine, you must consider the type of coffee maker you will be using. Stovetop percolators and French presses require a coarse grind. Medium to fine grinds are best for use in drip coffee makers.
>> Choose between a manual grinder and an electric grinder
Manual grinders are cheaper than electric grinders. They have fewer moving parts and tend to last longer. Manual grinders require quite a bit of effort and time to operate. But if you have the patience, they can achieve a more consistent grind than some electric models. Manual grinders can achieve only a coarse to medium grind, so they are not the best coffee grinder to buy if you want to drink espresso or Turkish coffee.
>> Determine the type of blade you prefer
There are two types of coffee grinders: burr grinders and blade grinders. The coffee grinder comparison chart below shows the differences.
>> Coffee grinder comparison
|Blade coffee grinder ||Uses a flat spinning blade to chop up coffee beans. ||Best for percolator and French press coffee. Inconsistent grind size. These are the most expensive. This coffee grinder design is loud but relatively easy to clean. |
|Burr coffee grinder ||Uses two flat disks to shave the coffee into flakes. ||Good for drip coffee makers. In the medium range for price, they offer a consistent grind. Tend to be noisy and messy. |
|Conical burr coffee grinder ||Uses multiple conical plates to shave the coffee into flakes. ||Achieves the most consistent grind. These grinders are less messy and much quieter than others, but the coffee grinder design is the most complicated. |
>> Choose your grinder settings
When figuring out how to buy a coffee grinder, decide what kind of grinder settings you want from your grinder. With some grinders, you can program settings to achieve a particular grind. If you are grinding coffee for a percolator or French press, you may not need this kind of coffee grinder. However, if you want a medium, fine or extra-fine grind, you might want this feature. Just a little too much or too little grinding can create a cup of coffee that is too bitter or lacks body.
>> Consider the grinder size
Think about where you will use and store your grinder. This is an important consideration, especially if you are choosing a multipurpose machine. Look at the spaces in your home before shopping. This way, you will have a sense of proportion as you choose which coffee grinder to buy. You will enjoy your purchase more if it fits neatly into a cupboard or tucks onto your counter.
>> Choose a power level
Decide what type of motor speed you need. High-speed motors are less expensive, but they transfer heat to the beans, resulting in a slight burned or scorched taste. Lower-speed motors grind cost more and grind more slowly, but they stay cooler.
>> Consider the noise
Grinders vary in noise level. Because you may be using your grinder in the morning, think about how much noise you, or others, want to wake up to. Low-speed grinders are quieter than higher-speed motors.
>> Consider other grinder features
Extra features are available with many grinders. Multipurpose models can be programmed to grind and brew your coffee so that it is hot and ready when you want it to be. Other machines have an auto-off feature. Some offer a dosing feature, keeping the coffee beans in a hopper and measuring and grinding only as much as you need for one pot of coffee. Others have features that make them easy to clean or no-mess features to reduce spillage.
When learning how to buy a coffee grinder, it's best to think about your favorite cup of coffee. Is it from the place down the street or from your own kitchen appliance? When looking for the best coffee grinder to buy, there are many choices, but one thing is certain: nothing beats coffee made from fresh ground beans.