Our Top-Rated Burr Coffee Grinders
- When it comes to improving the quality of your morning cup of coffee, it’s hard to overstate how important your grinder is to your finished cup of coffee. To understand that, we have to think about the overall goal when we are making coffee: to extract as much flavor from the coffee as you can.
- Coffee and wine are very similar, in that geography and processing methods affect the flavor of the finished product. But unlike wine, coffee depends on the at-home consumer to brew the coffee. And that is where most of the coffee’s flavor is usually lost.
- You can buy unroasted beans and roast them yourself (or go to a local roaster and get them to do it for you), but it won’t make much of a difference you aren’t grinding correctly. And the simplest and most significant change you can make is to start using a burr coffee grinder.
- We recommend using a burr grinder for most situations, but we also recognize that many of you still want to use a blade grinder, or perhaps you like the feel of grinding beans with a hand grinder. Our list includes all three types of grinders.
If you want to learn more about how coffee grinds work, check out our ultimate guide on how to grind coffee.
A Great Hand Grinder For Coffee:
- Some of us prefer the tactile act of grinding up coffee by hand. The grinders also tend to be much more affordable, and you can take them camping with you. There’s nothing better than watching caffeine-deprived campers’ eyes widen when you pull out the hand-crank coffee grinder.
- We separate out the hand grinder from the electric burr grinders, since it really isn’t fair to compare them 1 to 1.
How Burr Grinders Work:
- Whereas blade grinders use blades that violently tear apart the coffee beans, burr grinders use two plates, or ‘burrs’, that close in on the beans and ‘pulverize’ them. The coffee grinds from burr grinders are superior for two reasons:
- Uniform Grinds – the coffee particles from blade grinders are a mixture of too large (flavor-containing particles aren’t released), medium-sized and too small (flavor particles are eviscerated by the grinder).
- Flavor-Containing Oils Survive – the natural oils that are contained within coffee beans are mostly destroyed by blade grinders. Here the oils are released and stay with the coffee grinds.
What Grind Setting Should I Use?
- Most burr coffee grinders will let you choose the grind settings for your coffee. However, some of the automatic grinders want you to set their grind settings by ‘microns’. The size of coffee particles is measured in microns. So for French Press, for example, you will want larger coffee grinds (900 microns), and for espresso you’ll want a lower setting (about 300 microns).
You can use this chart as a reference for coffee beans:
- Turkish – 100 Microns
- Espresso – 300 Microns
- Paper Filter (i.e. cone-shaped coffee-makers) – 500 Microns
- Metal Filter (i.e. flat-bottom coffee makers) – 700 Microns
- Percolator – 800 Microns
- French Press/Bodum – 900 Microns
- That’s it! Any burr grinders I forgot to mention? Let me know your thoughts and suggestions for burr grinders to try out.