Yes, you should get a coffee grinder!
A coffee grinder is the most important piece of coffee equipment you can own. A good quality coffee grinder is sometimes overlooked. Especially when you have just purchased a piece of exciting new brewing equipment and delicious new coffee!
How important is a coffee grinder?
“Coffee only has 2 ingredients – coffee & water. So much of the flavor of the coffee comes from how these 2 interact.
The water temperature, extraction period (the length of time the coffee is exposed to the water), coarseness of the grind, and consistency of the grind are the major factors that influence how coffee tastes. That means that 2 of the 4 factors that impact the quality of the brew are a direct result of the grind itself.”
Having a good coffee grinder helps keep your coffee grinds both consistent and ground to the right level for the brew type of your liking.
A great grinder will transform your coffee experience from the inside out. Your coffee will be more flavorful and delicious. You’ll be able to determine your coffee’s flavor and strength. You’ll be able to brew coffee that rivals your favorite coffee shop.
Whether you’re a newcomer to delicious coffee or you’ve been drinking black since you were in preschool, the truth is the same: a good quality coffee grinder is a key to coffee success.
How to choose a coffee grinder?
There are many types of coffee grinders on the market and we understand it can be very overwhelming. Do you get a hand grinder, burr grinder, blade grinder or an electric grinder? Does price determine the quality or can I settle for just any grinder as long as it grinds my coffee?
The main thing you want from your grinder is what’s called an “even particle distribution”, which means all of the ground bits of coffee are more or less the same size, without too many large “boulders” or powdery “fines” thrown in. Uneven distribution will lead to unevenly extracted coffee – think unbalanced coffees with lots of sourness and bitterness.
Beyond evenness, we’re also looking for consistent control over the grind size. Very fine control is essential for espresso; for filter coffee a little more space between the settings is fine.
There are a lot of moving parts in the search for your perfect cup of coffee (temperature, duration, level of grind etc). Having a consistent grind every time gives you one less thing to have to worry about in the process.
Different brew methods taste better with certain grind levels – having a grinder that can dial in an evenly ground, wide range of grind types is key to making sure you are a good matchmaker for both the coffee brew method and your soon to be buzzing taste palette.
Anything that grinds coffee with a single, spinning blade is called a “blade grinder” and usually does a terrible job of grinding coffee! The main problem is that there’s no control over the grind size – you get what you get and it’s usually pretty uneven. The resulting coffee will have some big, chunky bits of bean that won’t brew properly and lots of fine, powdery coffee that will quickly over-extract and make your cup of coffee taste super bitter. These grinders also tend to heat up the coffee, which is bad news, too. Blade grinders do have one redeeming feature: they’re cheap! The quality is so low, however, that you won’t see much improvement over using pre-ground coffee – it will just be bad in a different way.
Burr coffee Grinder
The other style of grinder – and the type we recommend – is a burr grinder: two burrs that move against each other to grind coffee to a specific size. Burr grinders offer two key benefits: the resulting coffee is much more consistent in size, and there is control over the grind size itself. The distance between the burrs can be adjusted, giving you either coarser or finer coffee, depending on the needs of the barista. Small changes are generally used to change the extraction of a given coffee, while larger changes are made to suit different brewing devices.
All our grinders are burr grinders.
The most affordable burr grinders available are generally hand-cranked ones. Savings from not including a motor mean you can get a well-made grinder with a good burr-set for not much money.
Hand grinders have the added benefit of being portable and make great travel grinders, whether you’re off on a camping trip or hotel stay, or want something compact for the office.
Electric coffee Grinder
While grinding your coffee by hand is, well, handy and easy, many people decide to upgrade to an electric grinder. (Often the motivation for this comes from having friends over, and not wanting to take the time to grind individual batches of coffee for every person!) Once you step up to an electric burr grinder, there’s a wide array of quality and price available. There are three key areas to look at here: burr quality, ease-of-use, and overall construction.
Our favourite hand grinder that suits our lifestyle is the Chestnut C Hand Grinder, but if we could we would use all the grinders we stock!
Coffee Grinders to choose from:
Inspiration & resources: