Choose Your Next Coffee Bean Grinders: Tips and Types for Grinding

By | November 13, 2019

HandGrindingCoffee

As PurelyCoffeeBeans knows, those coffee bean grinders in the supermarket are very tempting, right? If you buy your coffee in the bulk coffee bags, you will likely have the beans ground there, too.

And it's reasonable: their coffee grinder is more powerful and flexible. And the likelihood is their grinder is superior in the quality and standards of the grinding process itself.

But … and it's a big but. If you grind all the coffee there, will you be able to use it all before the ground coffee loses its delicate, delightful aromas. If you can't arrange proper coffee storage, what should YOU do?

The solution costs a little bit of money, you'll be able to apply the solution to different coffee makers, and you'll enjoy a fresher, tastier cup of coffee than you would ever believe. Simply, ...

What I will learn... Table of Contents

Brief coffee grinder reviews: Shopping Guide

How do you Buy Your Own Coffee Bean Grinder?

bladegrindercoffeebeansA lot of the flavor of a good cup of coffee depends on how it was ground. In recent years, the coffee bean grinder has become quite popular as people began to appreciate the value of a flavorful, fresh cup of coffee made from freshly ground coffee beans!

Rather than pay the exorbitant prices of a specialty coffee shop, many people bought their own grinders.

Which kind of Coffee Bean Grinder works best?

There are three types of coffee grinders: The blade grinders and the burr coffee grinders are both electric. You also have a manual coffee grinder which can evoke a feeling of nostalgia when you see it!

Blade Coffee Bean Grinders

You have probably seen the first type with a propeller-like blade at the bottom of a container (like mine). These are called coffee blade grinders. The blades spin around very quickly, tearing the beans into little pieces. These grinders are all well and good for people who want fresh coffee in the morning, but they don't satisfy afficionados... Why?

The heat emitted by the machine can affect the flavor of the beans. The grind also tends to be uneven in inexperienced hands, so you might not get the best flavor from your coffee. You can get a better grind by filling the grinder cup only half full then grind the beans in short bursts, shaking between bursts to get the larger chunks to the bottom. These grinders are inexpensive and do the job quickly, if crudely.

Good coffee shops will NEVER use this kind of coffee bean grinder. The quality of the grind is uneven, the blades tend to generate heat that might affect coffee beans delicate oils and flavors, and there are no presets on most coffee grinders.

Coffee Burr Mill

The burr coffee grinders have 2 metal discs that spin at the bottom of a hopper, grinding a few beans at a time. A dial allows you to choose how fine the grind is. These are somewhat expensive but produce a better cup of coffee because of the precise and even grind.

You can get less expensive, a manual burr mill with a hand crank but it takes more effort. If you really love good coffee you will want to invest in a burr mill. A good grinder will yield better coffee than an expensive brewing machine.

What Grinding Grades Can I Learn?

Keep in mind that a coffee's flavor is released as hot water hits the grounds. The longer the water is in contact with the grounds, the coarser the grind should be. If your grind is too fine it will impart harsh flavors and if too coarse it will not pick up much of the flavor. This is why your brewing method is important in deciding which grind you want.

Very Fine

If you like Turkish cezva or ibrik, a rich and thick coffee, you will want a grind that is fine and powdery. Espresso, another strong coffee, is a bit coarser like very fine sand. Note that these types of coffee are brewed quickly, thus the finer grind.

Fine Grind

Fine grinds, just this side of powdery and a bit gritty, is good for drip filters and Neapolitan pots. It takes longer to brew this kind of coffee, so if you get the grind wrong, you will either see mud at the bottom of the drip jug if the grind is too fine. If the grind is too coarse, your coffee will appear watery and lack a depth of color, flavor or smell. Neither of these problems can be fixed without throwing the coffee away.

Medium Grind

A medium grind like the texture of cornmeal is good for use in vacuum pots, French press or other devices with flat bottoms. If you enjoy a stovetop or electric percolator you will want a coarsely ground coffee for the best flavor.

Video: Tips on Grinding Coffee

How much should I grind each time?

Since coffee loses its flavor about two days after grinding, you should always grind your beans right before you begin brewing. It's the only way to have your coffee freshly ground and tasting great! Do remember, though, to choose the right grind for your brewing method.

If you do grind too much by mistake, store the coffee in an air-tight container or bag away from the sun (even in the refrigerator). Use it promptly to avoid having a bad cup of coffee!

How do I keep my ground coffee fresh?

When you grind coffee in a large bag, and you drink it over a month or more, you will notice that the flavors you first smelled when you open the bag start to dissipate. Not only that but the coffee in your cup begins to taste blander and lacks a sense of freshness.

There are two solutions to this problem:

  • buy your coffee in smaller amounts – 1/2lb bags (approx. 200~250grams) should mean your coffee is drunk freshly and quickly.
  • buy your own bean coffee bean grinder. This is, of course, a more cost effective solution because you can still buy bigger bags of coffee beans, and grind them as you use them!

It may seem confusing, but making a great cup of coffee isn't difficult or frustrating. Just be prepared for a learning and enjoyable experience when you start grinding your coffee. Do keep notes to help you remember. Then you will certainly enjoy a perfect cup of coffee!

You will find several types of coffee bean grinders to select from, each one has it's own merits, and challenges. So let's start with the most common type, one that I have purchased on several occasions, and use... mostly for convenience.

The most common type of bean grinder is the coffee blade grinder, while many people feel that a conical burr grinder is the only way to go, and yet others prefer to use amanual coffee grinder.

What are blade type grinders?

As its name suggests, this blade style uses twin blades that whizz around at amazing speed to chop and grind your coffee beans into a suitable grind for your coffee maker.

For your everyday automatic drip coffee makers, a blade grinder is perfectly fine. If your coffee making is a bit more involved, such as brewing espresso, the blade type coffee grinder is not as suitable.

These simple to use grinders take up less counter space than other types of coffee bean grinders and many are compact enough to tuck away in a drawer when you are not using them.

Blade grinders are very easy to clean, usually a simple wipe down is all that is necessary between uses.

Read more detailed information about the blade style coffee bean grinder here...

Burr coffee grinder

This type of coffee bean grinders will give you more control over the finished grounds than any other type of grinder.

Using two plates, similar to spiked wheels, the burr coffee grinder gently feeds the coffee beans through and between the wheels which rotate to grind the beans into the desired coarseness or fineness that you have pre set with this type of grinder.

You will find that there are 2 main types of burr coffee grinders available to you. The main difference between the 2 is that the regular burr grinders have flat, burred metal plates. The conical burr grinder has a conical shaped wheel grinder that most often produces a more consistent grind.

Both styles of burr coffee grinders are calibrated to deliver even grounds of coffee, and most burr machines allow you to set the size of your grind from extra fine to very coarse.

Many people prefer to use a conical burr coffee grinder because of the evenness of the grind it will produce. This is especially important when you are using an espresso machine to make espresso or espresso-derived coffee drinks, like latte or cappuccino.

Uneven grinds can lend to the bitter taste you may experience from using a blade grinder. One popular example is the Mr Coffee Grinder. Another worth looking at is theKrups Coffee Grinder series. You'll find more burr coffee grinder reviews, and if you have your own experience, we'd welcome your experience and conical burr coffee grinder review, too!

Manual coffee grinder

For true consistency, a manual coffee grinder cannot be beat. BUT, as the title suggests, it is manual... which means you need to supply the human power to get the grinding job done. Plan on spending a couple minutes grinding the beans manually with this type of coffee grinder per cup.

What makes a good cup of coffee?

Manually grinding your coffee beans puts you in complete control of the outcome of your coffee. With a simple adjustment of the grind size knob, you can control the strength of your coffee and grind just the exact amount needed for one brewing.

The better models have adjustable grinding burrs, so that you can adjust the grind size of your beans to suit your preference.

If you love being as close to the process of coffee making as possible, a manual grinder is just what you are looking for.

Many people feel that using a manual grinder really makes a huge difference in the quality of their coffee.

Turkish coffee grinder

Most any of the electric burr coffee bean grinders can grind your coffee fine enough for Turkish coffee, if you run the grounds through a second time at the finest setting and brew your coffee immediately.

However, using a true Turkish coffee grinder will produce the nice, fine-fine coffee grounds that are so important to a decent cup of Turkish coffee.

Investing in a wooden manual coffee grinder will bring you the good tasting Turkish coffee that you remember from the coffee houses.

And it is really a special pleasure to be able to select your special coffee beans, then manually grind them to perfection by hand.

There is a quiet contentment that is achieved when you take that first sip ... and breathe in the aroma of your perfect cup of java.

Are coffee bean grinders really worth it?

When the taste of your coffee is of utmost importance to you, using any one of these coffee bean grinders to grind your own coffee beans at home is the only way to go.

One neat twist in the coffee grinder is the coffee maker with grinder built-in! So you can grind your coffee and make it with the same machine. No idea if you can do both at the same time!

If you're still not sure which coffee bean grinders to look at, read the coffee grinder reviews we have on our site, and let our other readers be your guide.

Can you recommend a burr grinder?

Many of us go through life sipping cup after cup of coffee. And we never realize that if we just upgraded to a burr grinder (best bang for your buck) instead of either using pre-ground coffee, or grinding our own with a blade grinder ... how sweet tasting our coffee would be!

I distinctly remember the very first time I enjoyed (really enjoyed) a cup of coffee. This was also the first time I had coffee that was freshly ground using a burr grinder. That cup was rich, warm and totally memorable!

What brand of grinder do you use, and what do you like (or not like) about it? Drop me a line, and I'll put your answer right here! Or click to choose your next coffee bean grinder!

Unboxing my new Capresso Infinity Grinder

PurelyCoffeeBeans introduces his newly bought new coffee grinder. I can't say that I'd grown tired of my trusty hand grinder... but if you've ever tried to use it to grind coffee first thing in the morning... you'll know what I'm talking about! Eyes closed, fumbling for the beans, grinding to do this...

grinding-by-hand

So I'd like to introduce my trusty new coffee companion, the Capresso Infinity Grinder. I would like to apologize for no video. I did try to shoot a video, but as anyone will tell you, fighting with a box to get the contents out and holding a camera are mutually exclusive activities!

Now, don't be shy! There you are!

The Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder

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Sitting Pretty

Opening the box, reveals the usual polystyrene foam covers and instruction manuals. I turned over the instruction manual to make it look better!

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Just opened: What's inside?

On the left top you'll see the coffee ground container with a 'push' notice. Yes,  you really have to push to get it out! On the right, you'll see the main hopper in with a branding & logo inside, easily removable.

At the bottom you'll see the ... drum roll... main coffee grinding unit without a cable. I was worried that there wasn't any only to find it neatly tucked into the main unit. The other thing that surprised me: the unit is quite small and quite heavy compared to the manual grinder I had.

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On Display @ pre-assembly stage

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There was an additional mini-coffee brush to clean out the burrs (shown below on the right, next to the 10g coffee spoon, and yellow notes).

If you buy one of these units, read the yellow reminder/instruction paper and take the step of fitting the hopper on to the base unit. If it doesn't seem to go, try again... be very gentle. The plastic unit is strong but brittle... it will break easy if you force it.

The key is lining up the dots on the right! Line them up, push gently down and it will clip into the body, then turn clockwise (gently) to align the black dot with the coffee grinding levels. I centered it here.

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Assembly is easy, everything is included (except coffee). Ready to use. Off I go to make some coffee!

Getting started with your Capresso Burr Grinder

It's pretty easy to use: just twist the timer clockwise as it starts the grinder. I estimate at a medium setting, one marking equates to about 10-12g of coffee... I'll let you know the inside stuff after using it for a week.

So that's it for unboxing my new toy. Have you bought a coffee grinder? How did it turn out?

Precision Coffee Grinder: Better Grind, More Flavor

PurelyCoffeeBeans wonders about whether you've ever ground coffee by machine, you'll know that get the right settings is tricky. If you've done it by hand, it's mostly guesswork and the accuracy is 'crude' to say the least. Enter the "Precision Coffee Grinder". One KickStarter Project has made hand grinding the preferred option with their new HandGround Mill that achieves 20 levels of fineness from French Press to Espresso Grind: the Precision Coffee Grinder!

The project was fully funded and has gone on to raise $300,000. In fact, their product has now been so succesful that you can even find it on Amazon! I've  included their video for you to have a look at. It looks quite portable, so it would be a good partner to your Handpresso or Aeropress coffee makers. And yes, you'll need to use one or both of the hands you're using to read this! So you can't swipe your phone and grind coffee at the same time! Pity!

Precision Coffee Grinder: Quality & Design for your Coffee

Many coffee enthusiasts from across the globe cooperated and provided essential feedback in the design process to make sure the grinder could provide a relatively consistent grinding result for different coffee bean types. Whatever method you use to brew your coffee, from pour over to drip to French press, you'll find that the precise setting among the 15 settings that this grinder can do.

Top quality design and manufacture means that the grinding axle doesn't wobble, while the stainless steel blades are expected to last much longer. So you'll get that consistent perfect grind each time you use it. Additionally, the grinder is quieter than electric machines, and it is portable for every occasion! You also get a full 1 year warranty covering the unit.

I've included a simple gallery below.

 

So what are people saying about this? Check out this rather good review by Michael at Reviews, Tutorials & Tech!

And lo! And behold! Amazon shoppers can now find this product on Amazon! Yay!

Brief coffee grinder reviews: Shopping Guide

PurelyCoffeeBeans introduces these easy steps to compare coffee grinder reviews so you know what to look for when selecting the best blade or conical burr grinder and how each type of coffee grinder can be used.

What is the real difference between a blade grinder and a coffee burr grinder?

Simply put, a blade coffee bean grinder uses a sharp two sided blade that spins rapidly inside the grinder to chop up the whole beans into usable grounds for brewing coffee.

A burr grinder uses a gear-like-looking wheel that crushes the whole bean into even particles to use in brewing coffee.

Why choose a blade coffee grinder?

  • They are significantly less expensive.
  • A blade coffee grinder can be used for multiple other tasks in your home kitchen such as grinding spices for use in recipes.

Some people find that having a blade type coffee grinder doubles as a spice grinder as well. Although the heat produced through this method of grinding your beans sometimes imparts a burnt taste in your finished coffee, it's far better to grind your own coffee at home than to purchase pre-ground in cans.

Why choose a burr grinder?

Research shows that some heat is transferred to the beans when the whole coffee beans are ground using a blade grinder, akin to pre-toasting your grounds before you brew your coffee.

Using a burr grinder will reduce the transfer of heat significantly over using a blade grinder. Many people notice a slight "burnt" taste in the coffee that had been ground with a blade type of grinders, compared to tasting coffee ground with a burr coffee grinder.

Your coffee will taste 'smoother' when you choose to use a burr grinder because the coffee particles are more even in nature. When all the grounds you use to brew your coffee are of the same size, you will be able to extract more flavor from your purchased beans.

You will save money because your coffee beans will be more evenly ground. It's very typical that you will use less coffee by grinding your whole bean coffee with a burr grinder.

The large particles left by a blade coffee grinder do not have the same surface that evenly ground coffee has, so you would need to use more coffee to get the same strength and flavor from your efforts.

You will also find that you have way more control with burr grinders. The better burr grinders allow you to "dial up" the size of the grounds (extra fine to extra coarse) as well as the correct amount of grounds for the number of cups of coffee you plan to brew.

What is the difference between a burr grinder and a conical burr grinder?

Conical burr grinders are often a bit quieter than regular burr grinders. That is because they tend to grind at a slower revolution.

A slower grind helps to insure a more evenly ground result for those who prefer to have ultimate control over their coffee making. And, you really will notice a difference in the flavor of your coffee, but it might not be all that important to you.

Why would you choose a conical burr coffee grinder?

Conical burr grinders grind your whole bean coffee a bit slower than the standard wheel type burr grinders. Because the motor grinds slower, there is less noise, and less heat transference.

You will find that the conical burr coffee bean grinders typically have more settings affording you more grind options such as settings for Turkish coffee and extra fine for making espresso.


Looking for new equipment, check out the coffee makers, coffee grinders, and bean roasters page.

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