Are you a veteran coffee connoisseur looking to increase the quality and consistency of your final grind? Or perhaps you are an Average Joe who is tired of stale pre-ground supermarket coffee. This is the list that will simplify any consumer’s search for a quality coffee grinder.
The importance of a good coffee grinder cannot be overstated. Coffee grinders break the coffee bean down into much smaller pieces. The most important thing for any coffee drinker is consistency of the final grind. Without a uniform texture to the beans the flow of water and flavor extraction is greatly impacted. These variables can be brought under control with a proper grinder that will ensure your cup of coffee is not too strong or weak but exactly how you like it!
The purpose of this article is to highlight the importance of a good coffee grinder and the often overlooked role it plays in the enjoyment of your favorite beverage. There is no need to feel overwhelmed by the many choices there are. At the end of this post, there is a summary of important features of individual grinders as well as how they compare to each other .
We also have related posts about coffee grinders, check them out.
Best Burr Grinders of 2017
|#1||Breville Smart Grinder Pro|
|#2||Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Coffee Grinder|
|#3||Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder|
#1 Breville Smart Grinder Pro
Beloved by many for its accuracy and grinding ability the Breville Smart Grinder Pro was created with an emphasis on convenience and efficiency. Breville makes use of their conical burr system and “Dosing IQ” technology to automatically adjust the dose whenever the grind is changed. What this means for the consumer is a higher level of control over your grind. The proprietary “Dosing IQ” technology allows you to adjust the grind time within 0.2 second increments and offers the unique ability to program and store your favorite settings. Perfect for when you are tired and just want your bean! There are 60 different grind settings that range from most coarse (French press) to extra fine (espresso). Breville Smart Grinder Pro offers an almost unparalleled level of convenience!
If what you desire is a burr grinder that is virtually hands off look no further! Not only does this grinder remember your settings but it has a wide range of grinder settings. The grind is consistent across the ranges as well, a perfect marriage of versatility and consistency.
The quality of grind is always imperative for consumers and professionals alike. The Breville Smart Grinder Pro really stands out in this area due to the variety of grind it is capable of producing. This is due to the conical burr that makes use of Breville’s proprietary “Dosing IQ” technology. This technology gives the operator of the machine greater control over the flavor. This means more choices for consumers and customers of small businesses who stand to benefit from the 60 different grind options. This is organized into settings labeled: press, percolator, drip, and espresso.
For grinds of coarse quality you must select a certain quantity of cups for the dosage. The espresso setting allows you to select the amount of shots and time you want the beans to be ground. This part of the user experience is where Breville’s technology really shines. Many other coffee grinders require the user to manually set these variables which can quickly become annoying. This is especially time consuming because these machines won’t remember the settings for future use unlike the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
The main advantage of using an electronic grinder is the uniformity of the ground coffee. If you did online research into the Breville Smart Grinder Pro you may have noticed a similar theme that customers expressed in their comments. They express their relief to have found such a superior product after wasting money on inconsistent and inferior coffee grinders. The inconsistency of the ground coffee was the variable that negatively affected the taste. Fortunately, owners of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro experience the highest levels of consistency for each grind as reflected in the 5/5 star reviews it received in several online reviews.
Ease of Use
Owners of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro purchased the product for its ease of use and versatility. Because of this it is one of the few grinders that appeals to coffee connoisseurs across a wide range of experience and needs. Whether you are an amateur or experienced at the art of grinding coffee beans, the smart grinder pro delivers it all. The clean and easy-to-read interface make navigation of its features quick with zero hassle.
No longer will you have to choose between enjoying your French press or espresso, why not both? With 60+ settings to experiment with, you will never be bored and are likely to discover a whole new taste experience. This allows you to broaden your palette and offer new coffee experiences to your friends and customers as well. Because of the user-friendly design you can toggle through these different grind options with relative ease.
Last but not least, the LCD display with back light allows you to change the settings for amount, time, and the consistency of the grind. The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is an excellent choice for consumers who appreciate technology and versatility in grind.
#2 Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
For home users looking for a coffee grinder that will not monopolize counter and cupboard space, look no further than the Baratza Virtuoso. The cute compact design and half-pound capacity for bean may lead some potential customers to overlook the Baratza as not sturdy enough for everyday use. If you own a coffee shop or are looking to grind extremely large amounts of bean at once this is not the grinder for you. The motor is not meant for the rigorous and constant strain that industrial coffee grinders experience. Relative to its size it does have a powerful motor and build quality. However, the Baratza Virtuoso is considered to be relatively expensive compared to other grinders in the home barista market.
Owners of the Baratza will never be disappointed by sluggish grinding. You will have just the right amount for one pot of coffee. This is generally the ideal amount for those grinding within the comfort of their own home.
One of the unique aspects of the Baratza that makes it stand out from the crowd is its DC motor. DC (direct current) refers to how the engine converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. This property of the motor means it has a high force(measured in torque) motor that is powerful and quite, a true rarity in grinders. The efficiency translates to less friction, which means cooler beans and a better overall quality in grind. Baristas who rely on a wide range of available grind consistencies will be happy to hear the Baratza is a consistent grinder. You won’t experience fine grind mixed in with coarse grind or vice-versa and unit calibration is very operator friendly. This is only one of the reasons the Baratza Virtuoso is one of the top coffee grinders available on the market.
What I like
- Wide range of grinding speeds from 405-495 RPM.
- Generates very low heat ,noise and static.
- The grinds flow out of the machine uninterrupted.
- A capable and versatile machine: Espresso, drip, and french press options all readily available.
- Freshness is ensured: grinds stay in the grinder and unexposed to air.
- Burr system with high degree of calibration and very maintainable. -Easy to disassemble and clean.
What I don’t like
- Loosely anchored grinder knob.
- Diminished life span.
- Sometimes a challenge to clean.
- Ground coffee gets trapped in burr and makes disassembly messy.
- Grinder does not remain in place and position must be reset.
#3 Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder
The Mazzer Mini is a luxury coffee grinder primarily made for the home barista. In terms of design, quality of build, materials used, and lifespan the Mazzer is almost peerless. The options of a black, silver, or polished finish also add to its allure.
Mazzer has a long history of producing industry grade high-end coffee grinders. Statistics have shown that about 1 in 3 coffee shops use them. Mazzer decided to branch out from large scale models and use this mini espresso grinder as an ambassador to all the home baristas and even has low-duty commercial use.
One of my only complaints with the Mazzer Mini Espresso is the counter real estate that it takes up relative to other grinders. You are best to find a dedicated corner in the kitchen and leave it there as it is capable of using some space efficiently.
However the size of this machine is not unmanageable The ability of the Mazzer Mini to utilize space lies in the ingenious design and size of the hopper. The height also makes it acceptable to keep on most kitchen shelves.
What I like
- High level of control over size and consistency of grind due to micro adjustment controls.
- Comes complete with tons of accessories: tamper, brush for cleaning, grind tray and much more.
- Big bean hopper with trap door access for convenient stowing away.
What I don’t like
- Large size and takes up a large amount of space
- Heavy (about 20 lbs)
What type of coffee grinders are there?
The search for the proper grinder that is appropriate for your personal needs will make the whole process easier, enjoyable and more time efficient. The main categories of grinders are coffee mills, burr grinders, and blade grinders.
Burr Coffee Grinders
Consists of two burrs to chop the coffee bean into tiny pieces and great consistency.
Blade Coffee Grinders
Uses an electric-style blade that rotates at very fast speeds to chop the bean from a range of coarse to fine consistencies.
These are burr grinders with a hand crank that often are less expensive than electric models.
Coffee Grinders – What features are there and how should I pick them?
In this part of the article an overview of coffee grinder features and what the consumer should look for will be discussed.
Burr Shape: Flat vs Conical
The two types of burr shapes available are conical and flat. Though the shapes are different the function is similar. Both flat and conical use friction (abrasion), a finely serrated burr and another with coarse edges. When the beans make contact between the burrs they break into the desired consistency.
The coffee community has not agreed on whether flat or conical burrs are better. In general, flat burrs have more power and produces grinds quicker. The speed of the grind is the result of burr size. This makes it particularly useful in commercial grinding operations or for anyone who wants an increase in speed. Burrs that are conical in shape are usually more compact because they are shaped like cones. The burrs are also arranged at an angle so they don’t interfere with each other.Since conical burrs are not as powerful as flat burrs customers must make a trade off depending on the applications that will suit their needs.
In terms of performance the differences are small but important depending on what you decide to brew. A barista who primarily brews turkish or espresso would benefit from conical burrs. This preference is due to flat burrs generating too much heat which would negatively affect their natural flavors. You should know that grinds of a finer consistency would take longer with flat burrs, and heat up too much resulting in off tastes. In contrast, to brew more coarse grinds the impact that heat from grinding has will be diminished. This is because coarse grinds take less time to process.
Adjustment Settings: Stepped vs Stepless
The easiest grinders for beginners to use are those with stepped adjustments. This feature allows you to toggle between settings, which promotes testing of different grind sizes. All you must do is keep the original settings in mind unless the machine has a way to store it.
This grinder is highly recommended for beginners who are in the market for a coffee grinder. Some grinders come with an excess of 400 different settings.
If what you need in a machine is to take your coffee and grinding experience and advance it even further, you would most benefit from stepless adjustments. This feature is very important to those with experienced palates as it allows you to make micro adjustments, blending flavors specifically to you and your customer’s tastes.
However, there is a negative side to not having clear points of reference (adjustments). It is much harder to keep track of changes and thus valuable data becomes harder to track, especially once you have moved away from factory settings. Making coffee that is absurdly good means grinding with less guidelines, so I think this is worth it in the long run.
Dosing: Doser vs Doserless
In order to pick between doser vs doserless you must first determine the amount of cups you will be brewing.
Go for a doserless model if you plan on brewing only a couple of cups worth of bean.
There are grinds left behind in the doser chamber that would otherwise go stale if not removed, potentially contaminating an entire batch. This may not seem like a big deal but users have reported at least one shots worth of grind being left behind and potentially wasted. If you only grind one to two shots worth of bean in one session the potential for wastage becomes much more evident.
However, if your grinding operation is typically one hundred or more shots the one shot of potential wastage isn’t that big of a deal. This brings us to the realm of doser grinders. These are perfect for cafe or other heavy-duty commercial/industrial operators. Each time the operator pulls a special lever a predetermined amount of ground coffee is released. This offers a greater convenience than doserless models because there is much less time spent measuring ground coffee compared to some other models.
To summarize the main difference between doser vs doserless:
- doserless grinders are best reserved for situations where only a few shots worth of coffee will be made.
- doser grinders save time by pre-measuring the ground coffee.
To avoid wasteful usage, coffee grinders without dosers (doserless) are really only beneficial if you plan on brewing a few shots. Doser coffee grinders in general occupy more space than the doserless models. It is important to visualize your kitchen space before purchasing this kind of grinder. This is due primarily to the doser models having an extraneous chamber attached to the bottom or side of the grinder.