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A Buying Guide to Coffee Grinders

A Buying Guide to Coffee Grinders

If you've done a few Google searches for coffee grinders, more than likely you've seen them described as “The most important piece of coffee equipment.” We couldn't agree more, so we thought a bit of a primer on what to look for in a coffee grinder was in order.

First of all, why not just get the shop to grind the beans for you? Within 60 seconds, ground coffee begins to oxidize and lose flavour, so grinding just before brewing releases all the flavour, oils, and aroma in the beans.

The Size of the Grind

Next, consider how you'll be brewing your freshly ground coffee. Are you strictly an espresso fan? Love a pour-over? French press? The grind size is different for each method; it dictates how long the water runs through the grounds; that's the brew time. Here's the key question when it comes to grinders: If I'm only making espresso, does that mean I have to buy an espresso grinder? Not necessarily, but you do need a grinder capable of espresso grind.

What is a Burr Grinder?

The burrs are the part of the grinder that crushes the coffee beans into a uniform size; most home machines use conical or cone-shaped stainless steel burrs. For grinding much larger quantities, commercial grinders have flat burrs.

Stepped v/s Stepless Adjustment

There are two systems of grind adjustments; stepped or stepless, and some grinders offer both. Stepped grinders lock into incremental steps, whereas a stepless grinder has an infinite number of grind settings. It's all about trial and error and experimentation when learning about your adjustment settings.

Gear Reduction v/s Direct-drive

The driving force in any electric grinder is the motor. At the entry-level are geared systems where the speed of the motor is reduced through a gearbox and the burrs spin slower to ensure less heat build-up. At the high end are direct-drive grinders where the motor directly turns the burrs.

Some Options to Choose From

We can guide you through the process of choosing the right grinder for your coffee goals. Meanwhile, here are some links to preview just a few of the grinders we carry.

The Baratza Encore boasts 40 individual grind settings ranging from medium-fine to coarse. Though not ideal for espresso, it's great for many of the most popular brew methods such as Chemex, pour-over, syphon, Espro Press, Aeropress, and more. The Eureka Mignon Silenzio espresso grinder is both compact and highly effective for the home barista! With 50mm flat steel burrs.

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