How to Choose the Best Coffee Grinder

Coffee Grinder 3

Looking for the best coffee grinder for your needs and budget? 

To ensure maximum flavor and freshness, coffee beans should be ground immediately before brewing.  To understand which grinding option is right for you, we'll break down the following key details:

  1. Blade vs. Burr Grinding: What's the difference?
  2. Pro's and Con's of each Method
  3. Overall Recommendation for the Best Coffee Grinders

With these questions answered, you'll be on the way to a perfect cup of coffee in no time!

Blade Coffee Grinders


Blade GrinderFrequently sold as "Spice Mills," these multitasking tools are functionally small dry-blenders, using a rapidly spinning blade in a small chamber to turn whole beans into fresh grounds.  Blade Grinders are relatively inexpensive (around $20) and can also be used for other tasks in the kitchen.  A key point to remember, however, is that by definition blades do not grind.

Blade coffee "grinders" are really high-speed coffee "choppers"

Imagine dicing an onion by randomly striking it with a sharp knife.  The finished results would obviously not be of a uniform size.  If you chopped long enough, however, the pieces would be small enough that they seemed to be of approximately the same size.  The same is true with blade grinding.


Blade Grinder ImageWhile this may be fine for making salsa, when brewing coffee having beans of a uniform grind size is CRITICAL.  Why?  When grinds are exposed to water they release different compounds at different speeds.  The grinds initially release coloring and the desirable flavor and aroma producing compounds.  When exposed to water for too long, however, the grinds begin to produce harsh, bitter flavoring.

It is impossible to create a good brew of coffee without a uniform grind size

The combination of overground, ideally (target) ground, and underground beans produced by blade grinders (while still infinitely better than pre-ground coffee) leaves significant room for flavor improvement.

Blade Grinders Overall:

THE GOOD

  • Low Cost ($15-20)
  • Versatile, can grind spices

THE BAD

  • Relatively uneven grind
  • Inconsistent results
  • Electricity Required

Burr Coffee Grinders

Burr GrindersBurr grinders are essentially large versions of the hand-cranked pepper mills found in most home kitchens.  Burr grinders are true mills, using counter rotating abrasive surfaces to mill/grind the beans to a desired size. The user controls grind size by changing the distance between the abrasive surfaces.

A Burr Grinder is essential equipment enthusiasts who are serious about creating the perfect cup of coffee 

Burr grinders are prized for producing a very consistent, uniform grind size, ensuring the optimal flavor extraction from all of the grinds and preventing the bitterness that comes from over-extraction.  Additionally, because the grind size is mechanically set the output will be nearly identical every time the grinder is used.

Starting at around $35 USD, electric Burr grinders are typically more expensive than their blade grinding counterparts, but the minimal additional expense is well worth the investment.

For outdoor enthusiasts, lightweight hand-cranked burr grinders like the Brillante Manual Grinder quickly become essential gear when camping or hiking.

Burr Grinders Overall:

THE GOOD

  • Uniform grind size
  • Consistent, repeatable performance
  • Manual versions are highly portable and require no electricity

THE BAD

  • More expensive than Blade Grinders
  • No secondary use in the kitchen

The Overall Best Coffee Grinder

Our top pick for the best overall home coffee grinder is the Mr. Coffee BVMC-BMH23. I have been using one in my home for quite some time, and have been very impressed with its performance and versatility.

With 18 different grind settings the BMH23 delivers the versatility to support almost any brewing method.  Additionally, this grinder can actually help improve the performance of your existing coffee maker by producing (with some experimentation) the exact grind size your machine needs to deliver a brewing time in the ideal 4 to 8-minute window.

We have tested more expensive burr grinders that provided comparable performance to the BMH23, but we have yet to find a machine that justified the higher price point. 

 

Thanks for Reading!  We hope this guide puts you one step closer to creating the perfect cup of coffee!  if you have any questions, please let us know using our Contact page!

Don't Stop Now!

Check out these sections to learn even more about how to make the perfect cup of coffee!