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Coffee Grinders Buying Guide

For any true coffee lover, there is nothing like a cup of coffee made from freshly ground coffee beans. However, this process may be a bit more difficult to achieve than many think. There are various types of machines, methods of grinding and even storage options to consider prior to making any purchase. It is not necessary to spend a lot of money to get the quality grind you need from these machines. Keep in mind, for the coffee lover, the flavor of the beans is the most important feature. The second is the brew method. The third, though, is getting the right grind. This does differ from one person to the next.

What to Expect

Coffee grinders come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you do not want to have a sole grinder in your kitchen taking up space, you can select a versatile grinder that can be used to grind spices, too. On the other hand, some coffee machines come with built-in grinders. What you should expect is a simple-to-use system that is easy to clean and store. Consider the following:

  • Do you hope to grind coffee beans just before each brew? If so, then it may be best to choose a coffee maker with a built in grinder. This can make it a one step process. 
  • If you plan to use it frequently, ensure you buy a quality product that will withstand regular use. Some models are less expensive and not meant for heavy wear and tear.
  • Do you need a place to store coffee beans and or grounds? Some models offer locations for you to do this with and others do not. However, ensure any storage option provides a tight seal so that the coffee beans or grounds do not get access to much air.Consider how much you plan to use the grinder, your budget as well as the durability of any model you select. Keep in mind that most offer only basic features and single function.

Types of Grinders

There are a few variations on the types of coffee grinders on the market. Before selecting one, consider the pros and cons of each.

Blade Grinders

Although size and selection of grinders vary, the most important comparison option here is whether the grinder is a blade or a burr grinder. Blade grinders have built-in metal blades that spin rapidly and in doing so cut the beans into pieces. These work similar to a traditional food processor works. The key benefit here is that these are readily available and highly affordable compared to other options. However, the consistency is significantly less than what you would expect from high-end products. Keep the following in mind about blade grinders:

  • These are less expensive.
  • They have far fewer controls and features.
  • You determine when to stop grinding - when the ground is the right consistency.
  • Harder for new coffee bean grinders to get consistency.
  • Heat is produced by the blades which can create a subtle change in the flavor.

Burr Grinders

The second option is a burr grinder. For those who are looking for a higher quality result, this is necessary to have in a coffee grinder. These use a spinning wheel called a burr to work. This really does grind the coffee beans, unlike the blades, which chop them up. The grinder works by understanding the space between the burr and the floor of the grinder, thus knowing when the grounds are complete. The best burr grinders provide six to eight (sometimes more) settings allowing you to get the same results every time with plenty of variation. There are two main types of burr grinders to consider.

Conical grinders

These cone-shaped versions spin significantly slower. They are less noisy to operate. For those with oily coffees, this is a better option because it does not get clogged easily. These are the highest quality and the highest price. They provide the best level of control over the grounds.

Wheel grinders

These have a larger, rounder grinding surface that spins. They do vibrate significantly and can clog. They are less expensive and produce consistent results. They are a better option for the budget-conscious, less fussy coffee drinker.

Key Features to Look For

Though we have discussed most of the features thus far, consider the following that some coffee grinders offer. Consider how well any of these features will work with the way you prefer to use your grinder.

Manual and Automatic

Some models are manually operated. Others are automatic. For those who want speed, the electric models are ideal. Automatic grinders like this also create more consistency from one grind to the next. For those who want an inexpensive option that gives you more control over the finished product, though, the manual options are a better choice.


For those who are buying coffee grinders for a workspace or for those who get all of their energy from coffee throughout the day, consider the doser. This feature is a small compartment located at the bottom of the chamber that grinds the coffee. It is for pre-grinding coffee. This way, you can grind what you need and throughout the day brew pot after pot as you need to. It stores those grounds easily for you.

Easy Clean

Look for coffee grinders that are easy to clean. You will need to follow the pre-described method provided to you by the manufacturer to ensure no moisture builds inside the system. However, if the grinder is hard to clean, using it for spices and coffee can be difficult to do.

Programming Features

Some models of coffee grinders, especially those with built-in brewers actually will feature programmable features. For those who want to load in the coffee beans the night before and count on a fresh pot of coffee when they wake up, this is a good option.

Coffee grinders do not have to be an expensive investment. As long as you purchase quality, these devices should last for years.

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