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Auto Grind: Reviews of the Best Automatic Coffee Grinders

Auto Grind: Reviews of the Best Automatic Coffee Grinders

If you’re keen to enhance your morning caffeinated routine, investing in an excellent coffee grinder may be your most significant investment.

Why? First off, your beer will taste brighter and more complex. Whole coffee beans keep fresh for a few weeks post-roasting, but grinding them releases essential oils.

It exposes them to oxygen—meaning every minute from then on out is a countdown to staleness (you can store them for longer if you invest in a vacuum-sealed container like this).

If you ever purchase pre-ground coffee, you will probably get stale beans.

However, grinding your beans to order guarantees that little goes wasted between your cup and the coffee.

Second, you’ll have more brewing choices and improved control over the process.

Maybe you need the convenience of a drip coffee maker to get you through the busy mornings of the workweek.

But on the weekends, you prefer to take your time and relax with a Chemex. 

The best coffee grinders allow you to precisely modify the settings to fit your preferred method of brewing, which may range from powdery and fine for creating artistic espresso pulls to coarse and sandy for making the ideal pot of French press coffee.

An image of coffee beans.
Coffee beans must be carefully crushed

It’s not true that all coffee grinders are made the same: The inexpensive tiny ones with inserts that look like propellers and can be made to spin when the lid is pressed are referred to as blade grinders. 

They don’t so much grind your beans as they cut them aggressively, resulting in damaged and inconsistent coffee grounds. Nobody is interested in it. 

Most industry professionals think a burr grinder is the most compelling equipment for the task.

This device crushes coffee beans by carefully turning them against an abrasive surface, much like a modern-day mortar and pestle.

You may spend hundreds of dollars on a coffee grinder designed for professional use; yet, in today’s market, burr grinders are available in a diverse selection of price ranges and styles.

Therefore, if you are interested in giving your brewing equipment a little facelift without spending a fortune, you may do it.

In light of this, we evaluated over a dozen well-respected models that cost less than $350 to establish which ones make the finest coffee grinders.

Baratza Virtuoso+ (Best coffee grinder overall)

An image of the Virtuoso+.
The Virtuoso+ has time dosing that goes down to a tenth of a second

Baratza makes burr grinders that are good enough for coffee shops (like the Baratza Forte AP), but smaller, less expensive grinders can do the same.

The Encore is one step below the Virtuoso+, but that difference makes a difference when you use the machine.

  • 8 ounces capacity
  • 40 Grind settings
  • 1.5 – 2.4 g/s Grind speed

The Virtuoso+ has time dosing that goes down to a tenth of a second (more on that below), so you’ll need to take some time to find the settings you like best.

Some of that was done when we called in: On setting 18, which Baratza says is an excellent middle-of-the-road grind for an automatic brewer, we got 9 grams of coffee in 4 seconds.

This can change based on the beans, but this is a good starting point.

Because it provided a consistent grind and produced a superior cup of coffee, the Virtuoso+ was ultimately worth the extra effort required at the machine’s top.

Even though it wasn’t made for it, the Virtuoso+ is flexible enough to be used with an espresso machine. 

It can make the grind for it (we recommend a setting between 6 and 10), and the sharp edges on the container for the grounds make it easy to move to a portafilter.

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Fellow Ode Grinder

We want to make room for Fellow’s Ode grinder because it is so good at what it does.

It uses flat burrs that are 64 millimeters long and are made for professionals (during our tests, we used a total of three repetitions, each of which consisted of grinding thirty grams of whole beans into thirty grams of ground beans)

The beans were ground perfectly at each setting, and the coffee they made was delicious.

This might be the most beautiful grinder you can buy right now.

Fellow’s products, like their kettles and new vacuum-sealed coffee canisters, have a sleek, simple look, and the Ode is no different. 

As a group, coffee grinders look like they were made for work, which is not good.

Fellow’s grinder almost looks like a piece of modern art.

So why don’t we pick it as the winner all around? It just doesn’t have as many uses as the Baratza.

It can’t grind coffee for espresso. 

But you should know that Fellow doesn’t say it can do that.

The company didn’t seem interested in being a “jack of all trades, master of none.” Instead, it focused on making a grinder for Aeropress, pour-over, and immersion methods like French press coffee and cold brew. 

Some people may also find it inconvenient that the Ode’s hopper only holds one dose: Unlike every other grinder we tested.

You can’t just put a bag of beans in the hopper and store them there.

The Ode requires you to measure the whole beans ahead of time, either by volume or by weight (please do it by weight), and pour them into the grinder each time you want to make coffee. 

The Fellow Ode is the best grinder if you make pour-over coffee every morning.

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KitchenAid Burr Grinder (The best grinder for espresso)

An image of KitchenAid.
KitchenAid has the edge because it is a little more precise

The burr grinder from KitchenAid is a dream for grinding espresso, and at around $200, it’s a steal compared to other espresso grinders.

The grinder has 70 settings, which makes it useful for all types of brewing. However, it can grind directly into the portafilter, making it the best choice for espresso drinks.

We tested and liked the Breville, but the KitchenAid has the edge because it is a little more precise.

If we only looked at how well it ground, the slightly more expensive Eureka Mignon Notte did a better job, but it is harder to use and needs a scale every time.

Another grinder that uses time dosing well is the KitchenAid.

We found that a double shot worked best at setting 64 and 12.9 seconds.

Depth5.0 in
Gross Weight9 lbs
Height15.0 in
Net Weight6 lbs
Width8-1/4 in

Solis Scala Plus Compact Conical Burr Coffee Grinder (Best budget coffee grinder)

The Solis Scala is a great small grinder. It’s made by the Swiss company that makes our top pick for the best espresso machine under $1,000. It works better than grinders, which cost four times as much.

It’s a primary burr grinder, so it doesn’t have features like a digital timer or a way to measure the right amount of beans.

But the timer dial on the Scala is easier to use than the one on the Oxo, which was our last budget winner.

We found that the timer should be set to three for a double shot of espresso or a single serving of French press or pour-over coffee.

Compared to the Oxo, it only has 14 grind settings, but that’s enough for several brewing options.

Even though you can’t grind directly into a portafilter, the Scala’s grind box is small enough that it’s easy to move grinds for any brewing method, espresso or not.

The whole grinder is small, so it doesn’t take up much room on the counter. Solis made something that is a great deal when you think about how good coffee you can make with it and how much it costs.

SOLIS Scala Compact Conical-Burr Coffee Grinder Review

Final Thoughts

  • Choose the Baratza Virtuoso+ as the finest coffee grinder for fanatics and regular old coffee consumers alike, or go with the Fellow Ode if you’ll never draw an espresso shot in your life.
  • Both are excellent options. Suppose you have the financial resources to do so, mainly if espresso is your thing.
  • In that case, the KitchenAid Burr Grinder will provide you with high-quality performance in packaging that is value-minded and can do as much to enhance your coffee routine as devices that are three times their cost.
  • Having said that, if you are starting in the world of specialty coffee and aren’t quite ready to shell out the cash for an advanced burr grinder, the much more straightforward Solis Scala is a solid entry-level burr grinder at a more manageable price.

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