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When it comes to brewing tools so indispensable that the coffee ritual is pretty much unimaginable without them, a coffee grinder is definitely it. Oxidation causes ground coffee to gradually lose its aromas and flavours, which is why true coffee connoisseurs make sure to always grind beans right before preparation. There’s a dazzling abundance of grinders on the market, so choosing one can definitely be a challenge. To make it easier on you, we’re going to introduce you to the main types of coffee grinders and the features they boast.
Types of Coffee Grinders
Coffee Friend’s assortment includes both manual and electric coffee grinders produced by some of the most well-known grinder manufacturers in the world. You can choose from household or professional grinders, flat or conical burrs, ceramic or steel burrs, as well as pick a grinder based on your favourite brewing method (espresso, filter or brewing coffee straight in a cup).
Blade Grinders vs Burr Grinders
When it comes to coffee drinkers who have never owned a grinder before or are convinced it’s not that important, the compactness and price of blade coffee grinders often make these tools their first choice. Blade grinders were extremely popular a few decades ago. Their operation is very simple: all you have to do is remove a transparent lid, pour some beans into the grinder, then put the lid back on and press it to start grinding. The longer you grind, the finer the coffee gets. The biggest disadvantage of grinders like that though is their inconsistency. Half of the beans become as fine as flour, while the rest remain much coarser. Consequently, once you pour water over these ground beans, the flavour of the resulting drink usually lacks balance. Blade grinders are, in fact, suited much better to grinding spices.
In contrast, burr grinders are much more consistent. You can also find ones that are just as compact as blade grinders and only cost a few dozen pounds more. Not only do they offer increased consistency, but they also let you adjust the grind level. If you want to be able to set a fixed grind for your beans — whether finer or coarser — these are the only coffee grinders that will allow you to do that. In addition to giving you the freedom to experiment with various flavours, burr grinders enable you to adjust the grind level to your chosen method of brewing coffee.
The majority of coffee grinders found in our assortment are equipped with burrs. Nevertheless, the most stubborn of you will find a few blade grinders too!
Manual Coffee Grinders vs Electric Coffee Grinders
Coffee grinders can also be manual or electric. Which ones are better, you ask? Well, it depends on the kind of coffee you like. If you’re a fan of V60, AeroPress, Chemex or brewing your coffee straight in a cup, a manual grinder will work great for you. If you’re in search of the perfect espresso though, this kind of grinder will simply not do. Yes, some professional manual grinders are capable of producing a grind that’s suited for the espresso brewing method — however, if you’re going to grind your beans finely using a manual grinder, it’ll take lots of time and effort. In other words, it’s just not convenient! You should also consider the capacity of the grinder you’re eyeing: will it be enough for your personal coffee ritual? Don’t forget that while electric coffee grinders are generally not as compact, what they do offer is comfort. Grinders like that help you save you some time too by grinding the required amount of beans as finely as you like in mere seconds.
Coffee Friend’s assortment includes a variety of manual coffee grinders produced by Hario, Timemore, Cafflano, Kalita and Stelton. Other manufacturers tend to focus on electric grinders.
Steel Burrs vs Ceramic Burrs
In grinder listings and technical specifications, the material that the burrs of a certain grinder are made of is usually indicated. These burrs can be steel or ceramic. Even though you’re unlikely to detect any difference in the flavour of coffee ground using different burrs and it couldn’t really be said that steel burrs are definitely better than ceramic ones or vice versa, we’d still like to mention a couple of aspects that might influence your decision.
Coffee grinders with steel burrs. Coffee experts will probably tell you that steel burrs result in a “cleaner” drink, making all of the separate tasting notes particularly vivid. This kind of coffee is suited well for sworn fans of modern espresso, filter brewing methods and specialty coffees. It’s also important to note that steel burrs aren’t as brittle as their ceramic counterparts, which means they’re not as likely to be damaged by foreign objects that can sometimes be found in a package of coffee beans.
Coffee grinders with ceramic burrs. Ceramic burrs make the body of the resulting drink fuller (this is due to the larger amount of coffee dust produced during grinding). That’s the kind of coffee appreciated by those who prefer classic espresso. Even though ceramic burrs are indeed more brittle than steel ones, they’re also more solid, which is why the ceramic kind tends to last twice as long. Moreover, when it comes to burrs of the same class, ceramic burrs are usually cheaper than steel burrs.
In our assortment, you’ll find a wide selection of coffee grinders equipped with both steel and ceramic burrs.
Flat Burr Coffee Grinders vs Conical Burr Coffee Grinders
Another feature used to differentiate between different burrs is their construction. Burrs can be flat or conical. Just like in the case of steel and ceramic burrs, we can’t really say that one type is undoubtedly better than the other. There are a few details that you might want to consider though.
Coffee grinders with flat burrs. Flat burrs result in an even grind, which makes the flavour of your coffee “cleaner” (similar to steel burrs). Once again, this is suited better to the palates of those who prefer modern espresso and vivid tasting notes. The construction of flat burrs is more complex though, so flat burr grinders tend to cost more than conical burr grinders.
Coffee grinders with conical burrs. Conical burrs are characterised by the so-called “bimodal grind”: it means they produce granules of two different sizes. This results in a thicker, stronger drink that has more texture to it and, as such, is beloved by fans of classic espresso. Thanks to their shape, conical burrs also retain less coffee and tend to grind a tad more quietly.
Coffee Friend’s assortment includes various grinders equipped with both flat and conical burrs.
Coffee Grinders for the Filter/In-Cup Brewing Method vs Coffee Grinders for Espresso
Coffee grinders are often put into two separate groups: grinders designed for the filter brewing method or preparing coffee straight in a cup and grinders intended for making espresso. It’s true that there are universal grinders on the market too, but they’re not as convenient as they might seem at first glance. The thing is, to grind your beans right, you must first adjust your grinder. Going from a grind suited for the filter brewing method, then to a fine grind perfect for espresso and then back again each time is bound to consume a lot of time and waste a lot of coffee. So, if you’re a fan of both brewing methods, we’d definitely suggest investing in two different grinders.
When it comes to the filter brewing method, both manual and electric grinders work great. Make sure to consider the capacity of your chosen grinder though — it should be large enough for your personal coffee ritual (you don’t want to end up having to grind the beans twice, do you?).
If you have a semi-automatic espresso machine at home, remember that your coffee grinder should definitely match up to your coffee machine. Some experts even go so far as to say that the grinder is actually more important than the machine. As a result, sworn fans of espresso would do well to choose an electric grinder capable of grinding coffee straight into a portafilter (this is the so-called “on-demand” feature). It’ll make your espresso particularly fragrant and delicious.
Handy Grinder Features
When choosing a coffee grinder, take some time to consider not only its type, but also its features that may make the grinding process more convenient. First of all, ask yourself if your chosen grinder will be easy to operate. How is the grind adjusted? Is there an option of programming grinding duration and if so, how is that done? Perhaps this tool even lets you weigh ground coffee straight after grinding (some of the most well-known grinder manufacturers are now offering this feature)? If you need a grinder for your café, consider how powerful its motor is and how fast it can grind beans: it must be able to produce the required amount of ground coffee in the required amount of time. The descriptions of such grinders usually include their productivity, which is measured in grams ground per second.
Regardless of whether you prefer a classic style or modern design, Coffee Friend’s grinder assortment will definitely contain something you’ll love. Don’t forget that the same model often comes in several different colours, so you can match your grinder to your coffee machine. For example, there’s Eureka “Mignon Silent Range Specialita 15bl”, which comes in grey, white and red.
The Best Coffee Grinders from the Most Well-Known Manufacturers
Coffee Friend offers a wide selection of coffee grinders produced by some of the world’s most well-known manufacturers. Choose from the following:
Manufacturers of manual coffee grinders: Cafflano, Hario, Kalita, Timemore, Stelton.
Manufacturers of electric coffee grinders: Fellow, Wilfa, De’Longhi, Melitta, Nivona, Saeco, Sage, Lelit, Eureka, Baratza, La Pavoni, Rancilio, Rocket Espresso.
Manufacturers of professional coffee grinders: Elektra, Faema, Sanremo, Mahlkönig.
If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our consultants — they’ll be happy to help you discover the right grinder for you!