How To Choose A Coffee Grinder? (What To Look For)

Depending upon your need, you can choose from three types of coffee grinders. One is a blade grinder, the second is a burr grinder and the third is a manual grinder. Each has their own benefits and fit different types of needs.

Drinking freshly brewed coffee is the ultimate satisfaction that most of us rely on every morning. Though, caffeine is one of the main reasons for coffee’s popularity. But, the aroma and flavor of coffee are so versatile, that billions of drinkers, consume it each day.

What better than to enjoy a cup of morning joe made with fresh ground coffee beans. Right? I do agree with the fact that getting pre-ground coffee is much more convenient, but the flavor profile that freshly ground beans provide to each cup is unmatched.   

In this article, I will help you find the best coffee grinder that suits your needs and budget. Plus, I will share with you useful information you must know before making this investment.

So, let’s get started!

What Type Of Grinder Is Best For Coffee?

a close up of beans inside a coffee grinder

There are three types of coffee grinders. That is the blade, burr, and manual grinder. The best one, which is recommended by experts, is the burr coffee grinder.

Life’s simple pleasures include a cup of coffee. Whatever your preference, the best brews start with fresh, flavorful beans, whether you’re a fan of liquid pour-overs, iced coffees, or creamy cappuccinos. It’s here that a coffee grinder comes in handy.

You get to blitz your own coffee ground in front of your eyes where you can control everything and make your own perfect cup of coffee however you like it. But if you’re new to the shenanigan, I know it can get overwhelming. So, I’m here to help.

Firstly, to get you started, remember, that they’re three types of coffee grinders. Each has its own benefits and control. But no matter which one fits your needs, all three get the basic job done i.e grinding coffee beans to grounds.

The three kinds of coffee grinders are as follow:

Blade Grinder

This is the most basic kind of grinder. As the name suggests it has blades and cuts the coffee beans into tiny bits. Think of it as a food processor but for coffee beans. Since its simple, it is usually recommended for beginners.

Though the coffee beans in this type of grinder are not evenly ground, and usually, they’re inconsistent.  Also, the longer you keep on grinding the coffee beans, the finer it gets. But these kinds of coffee grinders are small and cost less.

Burr Grinder

They’re also known as burr mills. These are the kind of coffee grinders that the experts recommend time and time again. They don’t have any blades and produce uniformly sized coffee grounds. Rather than slicing the coffee beans, they crush them between two burrs or against a flat surface.

These coffee grinders are known to produce high-quality coffee grounds that make premium quality cups of coffee. But they’re two types of burr grinders, which are Conical Burr & Flat Burr.

Conical Burr Grinder

In the world of burr grinders, conical burrs are the industry standard. Their cone-shaped center burr is paired with a serrated outer burr that ensures they grind coffee consistently.

Its design is also heat-resistant and energy-efficient, making it an excellent choice for professional and home baristas.

Flat Burr Grinder

The burrs in flat burr grinders are donut-shaped and have very sharp edges on both sides. As opposed to conical burrs, which allow the beans to shoot out and remain somewhat intact, the beans stay between the burrs until they are perfectly (and symmetrically) ground up.

In addition to being louder, flat burrs require more energy and heat to grind, making them unsuitable for home use/commercial use. However, flat burrs are more precise than conical burrs.

Non-electric/Manual Grinder

The above two were the basic mechanism in which coffee is ground at home. In this category, however, you can get the burr mechanism but without any electric power.

All you need is your hands to grind the coffee grounds. Though manual coffee grounder is cheaper and small, they do produce even and uniform coffee grounds.

How Many Watts Should A Coffee Grinder Be?

The watts of the coffee grinder doesn’t determine its quality. Usually, coffee grinders are 300 watts. But some of them are also 150 watts.

Whenever you’ll see a coffee grinder presented or marketed, the watts are always one of the key features that are put forward. But the watts of electricity that the coffee grinder uses do not determine the quality of the grounds. Yes, the watts do impact the speed ever so slightly.

a shot of espresso is brewing

But judging the overall functionality of a coffee grinder based on watts is not the correct measure to take. The famous Black+ Decker coffee grinder uses only 150 watts of electricity. And the popular Ingeware uses 300 watts. Both of these produce the same results and take about the same time.

So, keep in mind, the watts only tell you about how powerful the motor installed inside the coffee grinder is. That’s it.

Are Manual Coffee Grinders Worth It?

Of course, they cannot compete with top-of-the-line Baratza but they can help you get started. Also, they are suitable if you want to grind coffee where there is no electricity like when you go hiking or camping.

Every coffee grinder on the market has its own need. That’s the reason they’re readily available and selling. Each kind of coffee grinder does its job well for various purposes.

The blade grinder is great when you are getting started and want a really fine ground for French Press or espresso meanwhile the burr grinder is ideal for uniformly sized grounds to brew one-note coffee.  

You see, the manual coffee grinder sits in the middle of these two types of coffee grinders. It is better than a blade grinder.

Why? Because it crushes the coffee and does not grind it into very tiny bits. Therefore, you can use it for cappuccino or cold brews. But it comes under the burr grinders. Why? Though it does use the burr mechanism, it can take time and a lot of effort which can become a hassle if you need to brew coffee quickly or have to prepare a large batch.

Of course, a low-quality manual coffee grinder can be garbage and give you a bad user experience. But top-tier manual coffee grinders are a good place to start if you don’t want to invest in an electric grinder.

Or you want to carry your own coffee grinder for camping or trekking, the Orphan Espresso Fixie is one of the best overall manual coffee grinders. It is lightweight and compact and perfect for traveling.  

Also, if you are still on the verge of thinking about whether grinding your coffee is better than buying it from Starbucks, I’ve made it easier for you, below I’ve made a table comparing the costs.

This table defines how much does one serving of coffee costs at Starbucks versus making it home.  Even $1 saving each day makes a huge difference in the end.

Starbucks (12 oz)CoffeesHome (12 oz)
$3.75Java Chip Frappuccino$2.87
$3.45Café Mocha$1.59
$3.65Caramel Macchiato$2.75

You can watch this video where he compares different manual coffee grinders including the Orphan Espresso Fixie.

informational video for manual coffee grinders

Does A Good Coffee Grinder Matter?

The most important aspect of brewing coffee is grinding. And this is can only be done right by choosing the right kind of coffee grinder. A good quality coffee grinder will make ideal grounds and a low-quality one will ruin your cup of coffee.

When you decide to brew the coffee at home, you take care of the water quality, the temperature, the roast level of the coffee beans but if you neglect the grinding aspect, it can change your delicious coffee into an over-extracted undrinkable mess. You check out my article here to see how important different aspects of making coffee are.

You see, a good-quality coffee grinder like Baratza Encore or Ranchilio will not let your coffee grounds clump together. They will also ensure that no heat is produced that can change the flavor notes of the coffee beans. Plus, they will uniformly distribute the coffee ground in the chamber.

a manual coffee grinder with spilled roasted coffee beans on white backdrop

If the grinds are not taken care of, they can mess up the end result. For example, if the grinder is too fine and the extraction time is longer in the French press, it will result in a clogged filter and a bitter-tasting cup of joe.

Similarly, if too much heat is produced during the grinding process, they can end up tasting burnt in the end. So, in conclusion, keep this in mind before buying any coffee grinder. A good coffee grinder does matter.

Here I’ve curated a list of the best coffee grinders according to customer reviews for various features:

  • Best Value: OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
  • Best Rated: Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Electric Coffee Grinder
  • Best Professional-Level/Large Capacity: Breville Smart Grinder Pro
  • Best Overall: Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
  • Best Budget-Friendly: Krups Precise Flat Burr Coffee Grinder

So, What Are My Thoughts?

Grinding coffee at home is one of the best things you can do to amplify the coffee taste. Fresh ground coffee gives the coffee a balance and bright taste.

Though pre-ground coffee is a good option it can go stale very quickly, resulting in a not-so-perfect cup of joe.

There are many types of coffee grinders from which you can choose. From blade grinders to manual grinders. You can pick and choose from any type of coffee grinder according to your budget and preference. But don’t get overwhelmed.

Get started with the basics and then with time you can invest in a high-end coffee grinder.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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