The blade coffee grinder is only of three types of coffee grinders, but only the blade grinders and the burr coffee grinders are electric. You also have a manual coffee grinder which can evoke a feeling of nostalgia when you see it!
How do you choose a blade coffee bean grinder?
A lot of the flavor of a good cup of coffee depends on how it was ground. In recent years, the simple blade coffee bean grinder has become quite popular as people begin to appreciate the value of a flavorful, fresh cup of coffee made from freshly ground coffee beans!
This is a typical coffee blade grinder sold by Kitchen Aid.
Rather than pay the exorbitant prices of a specialty coffee shop, many people bought their own blade coffee grinder like the one above. Assuming, though, that a box mill or manual grinder is too much trouble, we’re left with the important question.
Which kind of blade coffee grinder works best?
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.
So why choose a blade coffee grinder?
- They are significantly less expensive than burr electric coffee grinders
- They have a smaller kitchen footprint, and can be easily stowed
- A blade coffee grinder can be used for grinding spices 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.
So why avoid a blade coffee grinder?
- They can grind unevenly by mashing the beans
- They may create additional heat, affecting flavors in the cup
- They can’t be used for grinding fine espresso coffee
If you’re looking for a higher quality grind, or already have a manual coffee grinder, then I recommend you upgrade to a conical burr coffee grinder. Don’t waste time looking at these grinders, because you will not improve your coffee any further by buying one.
If it’s your first grinder, then it’s a solid choice. It can do double duty, and is very affordable!
What are the best blade type grinders tips?
PurelyCoffeeBeans knows, for most coffee drinkers discovering different types of coffee beans, the coffee bean grinder with blades are their first experience with grinding coffee. And it does provide a satisfying improvement over opening and using ground coffee brands!
This article provides some tips on using your first blade coffee grinder: including ‘doing the shake’, watch your timing, not too long/short, and ‘feel its pulse’! Lastly, I’ll end with some things you should be aware of… SAFETY first.
How do you use a blade coffee grinder?
Typical coffee bean grinders are usually most people’s first choice as a grinder, as it was mine. Unfortunately, the blade doesn’t grind as such; it tears and slashes the beans into smaller pieces until the grind level is achieved.
You’ll notice when you first open the canister that the grind is uneven as the grind produces a finer powder-like granules towards the outside, with unbroken larger pieces left inside.
Grind and Shake
You can compensate for this by slightly shaking the coffee bean grinders as you press the switch. Don’t shake too much, or perhaps the cover will fly loose, creating a coffee cloud! I know it happened to me. By shaking the grinder gently, you will move the grounds around more and ensure a smoother grind overall.
Don’t grind too long
Another tip for using the coffee bean grinders with blades is to make sure that you don’t grind too long. The blades tend to create a little heat from the friction of blades on beans. This could be undesirable as the heat may impair some of the gentler flavors of the beans, and produce a less than optimal taste.
Feel the Pulse
To overcome this, I usually use pulses: I press the button for between 1-2 seconds at the most, then when the motion stops, I pulse again. Between pulses, I will shake the grinder a little to move the bean grounds around.
The longer the finer
If you are making coffee for a French press, then a coarser grind may be about 2-3 seconds. For drip coffee makers, you will need a finer grind, so experiment with changing the total grind time. You may be able to get a really fine grind with a longer time, but you will need to experiment with your grinder.
Hold on Tight
Always hold on to the lid, just in case it comes loose. While these units don’t tend to have this issue, a little carelessness may result in a messy accident. Some blade coffee grinders are pretty basic: in other words, the lids or covers may fly off spilling coffee all over the kitchen! If you have one of those, always hold onto the lid properly while grinding, don’t shake too violently up and down or it will fly off! Trust me!
These techniques work very well with smaller handheld electric grinders, but if the grinder you use is larger or static, or you have hand mobility issues, then these options may not be suitable for you. The larger machines may also have preset grind levels making this pulse, grind and shake ritual impossible.
Why is my coffee grinder not working? Be careful!
Uneven grind: if you are unfamiliar with grinding levels, you will have to experiment with the different coffee grinds for your equipment. So there’s a little learning curve.
Safety First: NEVER use a coffee grinder that can grind beans WITHOUT a cover on… Those blades will happily grind little fingers or anything else that gets put in.
Should you decide one day to upgrade your grinder, just clean the blade grinder and let it grind spices for you! Saves you buying a new machine, and your cooking will improve, too!
What is the best blade coffee grinder for home use?
The coffee blade grinders are a good entry point for making whole bean coffee. Have a look at blade coffee grinders at Amazon. Check through their user comments as they can highlight what the grinders can be really like.
Looking for new equipment, check out the coffee makers, coffee grinders, and bean roasters page.