You could argue that your grinder is your single most important piece of the puzzle to a great home coffee bar, aside from high quality beans, of course. But, without a good grinder, you’ll never realize the full potential of those beans you’ve bought. A good grinder gives you the option to explore different brewing methods, which allows you to experience a different cup of coffee from the same bean! Let’s dig into some considerations when purchasing a grinder.
BURR vs. BLADE
This is really no contest. If you’re ready to step up your coffee game, you NEED a burr grinder. Sorry folks, that Magic Bullet isn’t doing the trick, save it for your smoothies.
A blade grinder has no way of changing the coarseness of the grind and worse, there’s no consistency, either. If you’re looking to try an espresso, forget about it and even with a pour-over or French press, you can’t dial in the coarseness to really appreciate these brew methods. That being said, if you are currently using pre-ground coffee and all you have is a universal blade grinder in the house, switch to whole beans now and grind away. It’s the beginning of your journey of appreciating the nuances of the wonderful coffee bean.
DIFFERENT BURR GRINDERS
You’ve made the commitment to purchasing a burr grinder. Great! But, now what? Technically, there are 2 different types of grinders, conical and disk. We aren’t going to go into detail on this, as the differences are fairly irrelevant for a home coffee set up. Most home-use grinders will be conical.
As with everything, there are a wide range of qualities and prices of grinders. The higher end grinders will have a tighter precision to them, allowing you to really dial in the coarseness and they also provide a more consistent grind, due to the quality of the craftsmanship. You can spend under a $100 and get a solid grinder or you can go crazy and spend over $500, plus plenty of options in between. Keep in mind that with the cheaper grinders, you'll likely have to deal with pesky static (grinds stick to everything and can be annoying to keep up after grinding. If you’re sticking with drip coffee, no need to go crazy with the price. If you’re pulling shots of espresso, it might be worth investing in a better grinder.
PS – we haven’t forgotten about the manual grinder option, we purposely left it out. Unless you love manual windows in your car, or have a fascination with all things laborious, plug in your grinder.