Best Coffee Grinder For the Money

August 29, 2023

We have all heard about coffee grinders. They are said to really improve the quality of the coffee. But is it in fact that significant? Is it worth the cost, the space on the countertop, and the hustle? Well, perhaps, but we should consider a few things first.

Coffee grinders are used regularly without much thought as to what they do to the bean beyond turning the whole beans into grounds. Surprisingly, coffee grinders have more impact on a brewed cup of coffee than most people think. Responsible for size, consistency and even some additional flavor changes, coffee grinders can directly affect the characteristics of your brewed coffee. With that said, it’s important to know what specifications to keep in mind when choosing a coffee grinder.

Coffee grinders come in many sizes and model types. Smaller grinders are typically some variation of a cylinder with the motor, bean hopper and blades enclosed in the same shaft. A removable lid allows whole beans to be placed directly in the grinding chamber. These units are typically pressure controlled, or one-button models; when the button is pressed the grinding begins, when the button is released the grinding stops. Coffee grounds are poured out from the grinding chamber.

Larger model coffee grinders come equipped with a removable bean hopper and grounds catch cup, while the motor and grinding chamber are enclosed in the main body of the machine. This allows the user some ease in adding beans and removing grounds without handling the entire machine, as in the case of the smaller models.

Larger coffee grinders also offer more options for speed and time. An important point to keep in mind is that heat from grinding blades can affect coffee flavor; slower speed machines may have less impact on the final taste, so faster is not always better. Hopper size and catch cup size will also vary between models. Like coffee roasters, the amount of beans a grinder can hold will effect the time you spend using it, so consider what would be the best fit for your lifestyle.

Additionally, blade characteristics vary among coffee grinding machines, and will affect the consistency and uniformity of the grounds. Some models may come with guarantees on blade life or sharpness, while others may claim to last ‘a lifetime.’

The 4 Ms of Italian coffee

The Italians have four traditional Ms that determine the ultimate quality of the coffee: Macchina — the coffee maker, be it espresso, drip/filter, French Press, etc; Miscela – the blend that requires a fresh high-quality roast with close to 100% Arabica beans; La Mano–the skilled hand of the barista, the barman who prepares the brew; and finally Macinino — the coffee grinder.

Should you buy a coffee grinder?

If any one of the 4 Ms is in bad shape, the coffee will not come out right. If the roast is not freshly delivered from the roaster (sorry, no shortcuts here), or if the coffee machine is of poor quality, a coffee grinder is a waste of money – a classic case of the “weakest link”. Otherwise, a coffee grinder can take your brew to new heights.

Which coffee grinder is right for me?

Basically, there are two levels of coffee grinders. At the entry level are the electric blade and manual grinders. These double also as spice mills and are very trendy mainly due to their low cost – usually up to $25. They output an inconsistent grind however they are certainly much better than purchasing pre-ground coffee. While whole bean coffee keeps its aroma and flavor for two weeks, ground coffee loses it in two hours!

Second come the electric burr grinders. These little wonders take coffee to the next level. To get homogeneous grind particles they use two burrs facing each other at a fixed distance that results in a consistent grind size. When it comes to cost, there are no short cuts. The entry-level burr coffee grinder starts at $25 and the higher quality ones, called conical burr coffee grinders, start at $75. The higher the price the better the results, as long as we keep in mind our “weakest link”…

1 Comment
  1. […] the quality can be significantly improved by using freshly ground coffee (that means buying a good coffee grinder), filtered water (e.g. a Brita), and by reducing the time the coffee is kept after it is […]

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