Is your morning cup of coffee a big part of your daily routine? Do you love that first sip, that wonderful aroma, and the rich flavor? True coffee lovers understand that freshness plays a big role in having a satisfying cup of coffee at any time of day, not just in the morning. The way to ensure you get fresh, delicious coffee every single time is by grinding it yourself, just before you brew the pot.
Plenty of consumers buy pre-ground coffee. It’s convenient, quick, and ready to go when you’re pressed for time. But let’s be honest: pre-ground coffee just cannot compare to the rich, robust taste of a just-ground, freshly brewed cup of coffee! It has a better aroma, fuller flavor, and more body. It beats pre-ground coffee every time, no matter what brewing method you use.
Grinding your own beans means investing in a quality coffee grinder. Choosing the right coffee grinder ensures the pot you brew every day gives you the very best, freshest cup of coffee possible. The right coffee grinder lets you control the strength and darkness of every pot because you can change the grind feature to make your coffee exactly the way you want it each morning. Whether you want a strong hit of dark coffee or a milder brew later in the day, the right grinder lets you alter your coffee so you get the perfect cup.
Are you wondering how to choose the right coffee grinder? Well, there are several factors to consider, and in this article, we offer the most important ones to keep in mind before making your purchase. Remember these tips and you won’t go wrong when you buy your new coffee grinder!
Manual or Electric?
The first factor you should decide upon is whether you want a manual grinder or an electric coffee grinder. They each have their own strengths – and weaknesses – and whether one or the other is the right grinder for you really depends on your personal preferences. Do you often host a large number of people for whom you make coffee, or do you have a big family, with everyone asking for coffee at the same time every morning? If you do, an electric grinder is likely the best choice. Conversely, if you don’t need to make large pots of coffee each day, or if you travel a lot and like to take your grinder, a manual one is well suited to your lifestyle. But in the end, whichever one you select should be determined by your personal taste.
The advantages of a manual coffee grinder include size – it literally fits in one hand, and it doesn’t need electricity to operate. This type usually costs less than electric grinders, too, which is a big plus. Furthermore, some electric coffee grinders use blades to grind the coffee, and that can negatively affect the size and flavor of the brew. (We’ll get to that in a moment!)
Remember: be your own guide, make your own decision based on your own preferences; don’t be swayed by reviews online or by your friends’ ideas. This small but essential kitchen tool makes a huge difference to the quality of your coffee, so you and you alone should decide which coffee grinder is right for you and your family.
Burr or Blade?
There are two types of coffee grinders – a burr grinder and a blade grinder. You have to choose between them.
Burr grinders come with two burrs, which are either flat or conical. Whichever type of burrs yours is equipped with, a burr grinder grinds the coffee beans into small, uniform pieces. Crushed beans move between the grinder wheel and a stationary surface. This type of grinder keeps the ground size consistent, contributing to a rich, flavorful pot of coffee.
Blade grinders operate somewhat like blenders do, in that they slice beans into grounds. The drawback with this is that the grounds are often unevenly sized, and that can make the coffee quality unpredictable. Furthermore, if you opt for a fine grind and leave the beans in the grinder for a longer period, the heat this creates imbues the coffee flavor with a charred, sometimes bitter taste.
Consequently, when you’re choosing your coffee grinder, we suggest that a burr grinder is far and away from the better choice. A burr grinder makes better coffee, particularly if you’re choosing a manual one, and they are less costly.
One of the most important factors in brewing exceptional coffee is making sure the grounds are the same size. If your grinder produces unevenly sized grounds, it affects the flavor, and not in a good way! Bits that are too small tend to taste bitter and burned. Bits that are too large don’t have enough time to release flavor and aroma.
The way to ensure you have the right consistency every time is by opting for a burr grinder. Burr grinders use equal, identical levels of pressure and a low speed, and those two factors equal consistency, which equals dependable, great flavor every time you grind.
Consistency brings us to our next subject – making adjustments in grind size.
To brew a pot of truly delicious coffee, your primary consideration is even, controlled extraction. Extraction means, to put it simply, which compounds you pull from the beans, and how many. Ground coffee meets more water than beans do; when you grind, you add flavor and depth to your coffee.
Different brewing methods demand different grinds. Consider a French Press: it needs coarsely ground coffee for the best, most flavourful pot. “Pour-over” styles of brewing demand medium grind to operate at their peak. We have other information about brewing methods and grind size, so if you’re interested, check out our blog – How to Choose the Right Coffee Grind Size of Your Coffee.
Different grinders include different settings. We recommend you choose a “step-less” grinder, as it gives you a limitless range of settings.
Coffee grinders are made of three different materials – wood, stainless steel, or plastic. Each one has drawbacks and advantages, but all get the job done, and the quality of the grind is not affected by the substance the grinder is made from.
Wood grinders have a nostalgic quality, an antique-like appeal that many people love. Seeing one and smelling the beans that have been ground in it, takes folks back to a simpler time when many products were made of wood. A wood coffee grinder is ideal for anyone whose sensibilities and tastes lean toward all things vintage. But they also have the modern convenience of portability, too, so you can take one with you when you travel.
Stainless steel grinders are sleek and modern looking and have the bonus of being virtually indestructible. That feature makes it a great choice for you if you use your grinder a lot, and make coffee several times a day for lots of people. Some of these coffee grinders have the added plus of being airtight, enhancing freshness even more.
Plastic grinders are, by and large, not as attractive as wood or steel grinders, but they often weigh less than other styles. That feature appeals to a lot of people, and if weight matters to you, perhaps a plastic grinder is the best choice.
Before you purchase your grinder, consider all the different styles, and decide which one is best suited to your lifestyle, kitchen decor, and coffee consumption needs.
Coffee grinders can be divided into 2 different designs: antique and modern.
Antique grinders appeal to folks with a certain fondness for vintage decor and furnishings. They look great displayed on a kitchen shelf, with their curved handle and a small container. It also makes an attractive display for your home décor.
Modern grinders have clean, simple lines. You hold the mill in one hand and grind with the other. These grind coffee much more quickly than those antique-style ones.
No matter which type of grinder you choose, one aspect of them all is universal: they hold a specific amount of coffee. How much that amount is shouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s worth noting it briefly.
Bigger doesn’t always mean better! That applies to grinders, too: just because one holds more coffee doesn’t mean it’s higher quality or better design. Opt for a grinder with a capacity that meets your needs. If, for example, you are frequently making large pots for several family members, choose a grinder with greater capacity. If it’s just for you, a smaller capacity should be just fine. The SCAA defines 10 grams (or 0.36 oz) per 180 ml (or 6 oz) cup as the proper measure for brewed coffee if using the American standards.
Size is something worth considering. After all, you are likely storing or displaying your coffee grinder between uses, so how big it is matters. If space is tight and your kitchen storage shelves are limited, opt for a small grinder. If you have plenty of room and space isn’t an issue, choose a grinder you like and don’t worry too much about how big it is.
Grinders aren’t large appliances like microwaves or toasters can be, so pretty much any kitchen has room somewhere to store one. However, you do need a place to put it, perhaps in the pantry or on a counter – any place from where you can easily retrieve it each morning.
Speed & Heat Control
Grinders that have low-speed motors, also known as direct drive grinders operate more effectively than high-speed grinders. The latter can produce excessive heat, which can scorch the coffee beans. Burned coffee is wholly unappetizing – it smells bad and tastes worse! We suggest using a manual coffee grinder because it allows you to control the grinding speed yourself.
Heat affects flavor. When coffee gets too hot during grinding, it burns. Of course, if you’re grinding just enough for a single mug of coffee you won’t cause too much friction and heat. However if, like most folks, you’re grinding enough for a full pot, be careful it doesn’t overheat. The longer you grind, the hotter it gets – that’s just physics!
Easy to Operate & Clean
There are some grinders on the market that you practically need a Ph.D. to operate! They are fussy to use and bothersome to clean, and who wants a coffee grinder like that? It will annoy and frustrate you, and sooner rather than later you’ll leave it in the cupboard to gather dust.
You want a coffee grinder that’s easy to operate and quick to clean. In order to understand the grinder you’re thinking of buying, look it up online and take a few moments to read about it. Two places you may want to consider purchasing your coffee grinder are Amazon and Walmart. Both have a wide selection of grinders at reasonable prices.
If you’re like most people, the first thing you do every morning is yearned for a steaming, flavorful cup of coffee. To achieve that, to make the perfect cup of coffee every time, you need a quality grinder that is easy to use and clean, one that grinds beans consistently and perfectly. Choosing the right coffee grinder is key to making that first, fabulous cup of coffee, and everyone you make after that, all day long!
Purchase a coffee grinder, buy some high-quality beans, and soon you’ll be brewing coffee like a professional barista! Enjoy every cup, every time, when you buy the coffee grinder that’s right for your needs, tastes, and lifestyle. Enjoy!