Coffee Supplies and Equipment

Coffee Grinders

coffee grinder

Coffee grinders allow you to buy coffee beans and prepare freshly ground coffee at home. There are advantages to using a coffee grinder to grind your own coffee instead of buying ground coffee:

  • Buying coffee beans rather than ground coffee means that your coffee will stay fresher longer.  After coffee is ground, it starts to lose freshness faster than when it is in the form of whole beans.
  • Grinding enough coffee for a batch that you are about to brew means that your coffee will be as fresh and flavorful as possible.

Coffee Grinder Types

There are 2 basic types of coffee grinder: blade grinders and burr grinders.  A blade grinder chops your coffee beans into coffee grounds, while a burr grinder grinds the coffee beans between a pair of flat or conical abrasive surfaces.  Either type will allow you to grind your own coffee at home, but each type has its distinctive features, and relative advantages, which we will discuss below:

Blade Coffee Grinders

Blade grinders are the most basic type of coffee grinders. They consist of a spinning blade that chops coffee beans into smaller particles. While blade grinders are affordable and widely available, they are not the ideal choice for achieving consistent grind sizes. However, they can be suitable for those on a tight budget or looking for a quick and simple grinding solution.

Advantages of Blade Coffee Grinders

  • Affordability: Blade grinders are typically the most budget-friendly option.
  • Simplicity: They are easy to use and operate, requiring minimal effort.

Burr Coffee Grinders

Burr grinders utilize two abrasive surfaces, called burrs, to crush coffee beans. These grinders offer more control over the grind size and produce consistent results, making them a preferred choice for coffee enthusiasts who prioritize precision.

Conical Burr Grinders

Conical burr grinders have two cone-shaped burrs, one stationary and the other rotating. The beans are fed through the burrs, and the resulting grind size is determined by the distance between them. Conical burr grinders are known for their versatility, as they can handle a wide range of grind sizes.

Advantages:

  • Lower grinding temperature: Conical burr grinders require less power to run and may heat the coffee less in the grinding process, which helps protect the flavor of the coffee.
  • Lower cost and lower noise: They require less power than a flat grinder, so they have a smaller motor and cost less than a flat grinder.

Disadvantages:

  • Mixed grind sizes: Conical burr grinders produce fine particles along with the desired grind size.  The fine particles will tend to clog a coffee filter, and will slip through a French press and end up in your coffee cup.

Flat Burr Coffee Grinders

Flat burr grinders consist of two flat, parallel burrs, with the beans being crushed between them. These grinders are known for producing a very consistent grind size, making them a popular choice among espresso enthusiasts.

Advantages:

  • Precision: Flat burr grinders excel in producing an even and precise grind, ideal for espresso brewing.
  • Heat Control: They generate less heat during the grinding process, minimizing the risk of overheating the beans and preserving their flavors.

Disadvantages:

  • Waste: Compared to a conical burr grinder, more coffee is left behind (retained) in a flat burr grinder.
  • Size and cost: Compared to a conical burr grinder, a flat burr grinder of the same capacity requires a larger motor, makes more noise, and costs more.

Manual Coffee Grinders

Manual grinders require physical effort to grind the coffee beans. They are often compact and portable, making them a popular choice for travelers or those who appreciate the craftsmanship of manually grinding coffee.

Advantages:

  • Portability: Manual grinders are lightweight and easy to carry, making them ideal for on-the-go brewing.
  • Quieter Operation: They operate silently, allowing you to grind your coffee beans without disturbing others.

Choosing the Coffee Grinder that is Right for You

Choosing the right coffee grinder depends on your preferences, budget, and brewing methods. Blade grinders offer affordability and simplicity, while burr grinders, such as conical and flat burr grinders, provide consistency and precision. Manual grinders offer portability and a hands-on experience.

The right coffee grinder for you will depend on your budget and the type of coffee that you generally brew.