How to choose a coffee grinder
Comparing Burr vs Blade
There is a lot to decide when choosing a coffee grinder. Burr vs Blade grinders first. Blade grinders have a large blade that spins fast like a blender and cuts up the coffee beans. Coffee people hate blade grinders because they waste coffee and, worse, create irregularly sized and shaped grounds.
A burr is a spinning, serrated (like your knives) ring. Coffee beans go between two of them and they grind the coffee. The word “conical” means something that is cone shaped. So, conical burrs are cone-shaped rings and one sits inside the other. Basically, the beans travel downward as they are ground.
In a flat burr grinder, the spinning serrated rings sit horizontal. The coffee beans drop from the bin, they are moved in between the flat spinning burrs and grinds come out the other side and then call out of the spout.
You can read a comparison of all three types in our Cuisinart coffee grinder reviews.
Don’t buy blade grinders. Blade grinders are the cheapest, followed by horizontal, flat burrs grinders and conical grinders are the most expensive. You will notice a difference in blade vs burr grinders. You may not notice a difference in in a flat vs conical burr grinder. Buy a burr grinder
Conical Burr vs Flat Burr Grinders
Once you have ditched the blade and decided on a burr grinder, things get tougher. There are a lot of opinions floating around as to which type of burr is better and so here is mine. All things being equal go with conical. But if you have a good reason to choose a flat machine then that is fine.
The two big issues in grinders are the amount of grounds retained and usually a flat burr will trap and retain more but the quality of the design and manufacturer means you can’t treat this as a rule. Many baristas prefer conical burr grinders because they require less adjustment. That only matters if you are changing between coarseness a lot, which you aren’t at home.
Many coffee connoisseurs or experts or snobs (you choose the word you feel fits best) claim they can tell the difference in the coffee ground in one type vs another. This is a pretty suspect claim and it is doubtful if it is true that it’s going to change your life much.
10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Coffee Grinder
Check out our coffee grinder reviews to help you choose. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a coffee grinder….
- Burr vs Blade (buy a burr grinder)
- Consistency of the grind
- Number of coarseness levels
- Grounds retained (lost)
- Noise level of the machine
- Maintenance and cleaning
- Cost (lifetime)
- Reliability and lifespan of the machine
- Reliability and lifespan of the burrs (or blades)
- Other features (dosing, programmability, controls, etc.)