There are two primary kinds of coffee mills on the market: blade and burr grinders (either in manual or in electric design). Out of the two, a burr grinder will offer you a consistent form of freshly ground coffee without becoming overheated, so that it can preserve the full aromas of the coffee. Therefore, this article is intentionally focused giving you info on how to choose a good coffee grinder for new-entry coffee lovers.
Burr grinders usually come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. We will pay more attention to the differences among those features.
- Shape: Burr coffee mills come with flat burrs or conical burrs. Which is the better one of the two is still open for discussion. Flat and conical burrs grind coffee in the same manner and there is no difference in their ability to provide consistently, freshly ground coffee. However, some minor variations may concern perfectionist coffee lovers. Flat burrs usually retain more grounds than conical ones because of their shape, while a flat burr grinder requires more time to grind the same amount of coffee beans, but it offers slightly more uniformly ground coffee than a conical one. Therefore, some people prefer to choose flat burrs when going for the best espresso grinder or Turkish one, and the other for French press, drip or pour-over. But this is not always true; the quality of your ground coffee depends on more things than just the shape of the burr.
- Size: Burr size, which is measured in millimeters, varies depending on the cost. Commonly, burrs are 40 millimeters in an average model for home use, up to 60 millimeters for espresso specific pro-consumers, and around 80 millimeters for more commercial grinders which require a higher volume. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the size, the faster the grinding process, and the higher the grinding quality.
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- Material: Currently, a burr is usually made of steel or ceramic for regular use, but they are sometimes even crafted with a titanium coating for premium use and high durability. Ceramic can maintain the sharpness for longer, but it is more brittle than steel. In general, people choose ceramic burrs because they are harder and last longer than steel on average. However, there is no difference in the quality of grinding outcome, and both can deliver the most uniformly and freshly ground coffee. Everyone is concerned that the heat produced during the grinding process can destroy the fresh oils and aromas of the coffee beans. This is true, but the heat does not come from the burr material - it does come from inside the beans and friction produced from the cutting process. The sharper the burrs, the less heat is produced during the grinding process.
Specific features need to be considered: grinding adjustment, motor power, and build quality. A stepped burr coffee grinder offers grinding adjustment, while a stepless model does not. A stepped one operates with a definite stop for each grind size, which is necessary for various types of brewing methods. Just like any device, for a coffee grinder, you will get what you pay for. An excellent result of ground coffee depends much on the motor’s power and the build quality, which also keep your device lasting for years, reduces the maintenance cost, and improves your coffee experiences.
➷➷➷ Further Reading: best rated coffee grinders on the market
Even though tasting coffee is very subjective, it would be nice to have a blind comparison done by several subjects. The result should not be “best, good, worse, worst” but should be qualified by taste aspects such as, for instance, bitterness and strength. The taste and flavor of your coffee would be the outcome of the combination of the brewing process and brewing equipment used. But above all, a good coffee grinder is the most critical element in the art of making coffee.