A quality coffee grinder is often what makes or breaks a delicious pot of coffee. If you’re preparing a cup of Joe at home, you may be tempted to simply purchase pre-ground coffee from the grocery store. Don’t do it! Not only will your decoction not taste as good as one prepared by a professional barista, the pre-packaged grounds could clog your machine, among other problems. So how do you choose a quality coffee bean grinder? Here are a few tips to guide you as you shop.
Should I buy an electric or manual coffee grinder?
Most professionals don’t recommend a manual coffee grinder. They’re unable to grind the beans at a consistent rate, resulting in varying degrees of coarse or fine grounds. They’re also slow, requiring about 2 to 3 minutes to grind enough espresso for a double shot. Of course, there are exceptions to this, and if you just have to have those freshly ground beans while on a trip, a manual grinder can do the trick.
What kinds of features should my coffee bean grinder have?
Coffee grinders can come with dozens of features, so it can be confusing to try and pick one out that will cover all of your needs. Here’s a quick rundown of the more common features and terms you should be on the lookout for.
• Timer: A timer allows coffee grinders to reduce the amount of waste by telling them the exact amount to grind based on your input. Therefore, it can be worthwhile to spend more on a model that features a high-end digital timer.
• Burr shape: Your grinder should feature either conical or flat burrs, which grind your beans into coarse or fine grounds. It’s not yet been determined which style brews up the best cup. Whatever the case, make sure your coffee bean grinder features burrs and not blades, which won’t produce a consistent level of grind and often result in chunky, raggedly sliced beans.
• Stepped or stepless: A stepped grinder will allow you to change the coarseness or fineness of the grind by moving a lever or knob. They’ll feature only a certain number of “steps,” or grind sizes, which won’t matter as much for French press, pour over or drip beverages. If espresso is your drink of choice, however, you’ll want to search for a stepless model, which features an infinite number of adjustments. They’ll allow you to punch in a specific level of grind, which can have a huge impact on the final taste of your shot.
• Doserless or doser: These are two different ways for the grinder to collect the grounds. Doserless styles allow you to grind your beans directly into the portafilter basket or into a bag. They’re adept at reducing the amount of grounds wasted, and can be well worth the extra cost. They are, however, prone to clumping and are known to spray grounds onto your counter. The doser style has been around since the 1930s, and features a collection bin that holds the ground beans until you tilt a lever to release them. They reduce the chance of clumping and spilling, but it may be difficult to dispense the right amount of grounds, resulting in wasted beans.
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