You’re looking to make the best coffee you can? You might need to step up and improve your equipment, starting with your coffee grinder.
If you don’t know much about the grinder types, or what could be the best burr grinder out there? Well, don’t worry, that’s what we’re here to discuss!
What is a Burr Grinder?
First off – what is a burr grinder and why do coffee fans prefer it to any other kind of grinder?
A burr grinder is a coffee grinder that uses two burrs, or cutting surfaces, which are located inside the machine that work together to basically chop up your beans (chopping as opposed to slicing).
From there, the grinder dispenses them in small, consistently-sized pieces that are then perfect for coffee or espresso brewing.
This is an entirely different way of grinding from your typical blade grinder, and it is the reason burr coffee grinders are the preferred type of grinders by pro baristas and coffee fans alike!
And if you’re still looking to produce the best possible coffee you can – stick to this post because it offers everything you need to know about burr grinders.
Here’s a quick video explaining the difference between the two main types of grinders: burr grinders and blade grinders, and why burr grinders are generally superior.
The Difference Between a Burr Grinder & Blade Grinder
Even though blade grinders seem like an easy way to grind your coffee, how come burr grinders are superior grinders to those in the know?
Well, even though blade grinders are a quick and simple option, they’re not really offering any consistency of grind
And consistency is exactly what you need to make some of the more enticing beverages that are out there.
Of course, you can get some fine grinds using a blade grinder, but you’ll also get some big chunks that won’t be great if you’re looking to achieve an even grind.
Now, this won’t be a big deal for people who are doing a French press or some type of brew where you can just kinda wing it and it doesn’t matter much, but what would happen if you were going to do a pour over…or dear God, how about espresso?
One inconsistent grind and you might end up running your next cup – which would definitely result in a too-strong, too-weak, gritty, or bitter coffee – which is definitely not cool.
On the other hand, there are burr grinders, which are considered as a better type of a grinder than blade, and there’s a reason for it.
The most important difference is that burr grinders don’t use a blade, yet instead, they use two burrs which turn opposite directions and therefore crush the beans.
Meanwhile, the blades in blade grinders do the cutting of the coffee beans.
Therefore, burr grinders offer such consistency and a much more even grind – and that’s the main difference.
Everyone who goes shopping for a grinder without knowing the difference is most likely going to settle for a blade grinder. You might wonder why?
Well, blade grinders are most of the time cheaper than burr grinders and, therefore, people who aren’t looking to make a greater investment and aren’t looking for a specific type of a grinder that will provide the best quality will always settle for the blade grinder.
Now, the blade grinder isn’t all bad – but we like the top-notch quality that burr grinders offer and to be honest, we like the way burr grinders operates – in terms of crushing the beans instead of slicing them.
But what’s even better than just the way burr grinders work is the versatility they offer.
Almost every burr grinder comes with a number of settings that allow you to set the right grind for anything from fine to coarse.
We support both grinder types, and even though they’re both great & very easy to use, we prefer burr grinders only for the sake of consistency and versatility.
Best Brewing Methods for Burr Grinders
When choosing a burr coffee grinder, the most important question to ask yourself is: What brewing method will I be using?
Some burr coffee grinders are designed to basically work with any brewing method, while other grinders are particularly excellent for one specific brewing method and perhaps not as strong with the others.
As mentioned earlier, some burr grinders come with a number of settings that will get you a grind from fine to coarse.
Knowing which settings and what coffee are you looking to make is going to help you know the right brewing method to use.
So what is a brewing method, is that it’s actually a correct grind setting for a wanted coffee type you’re looking to make.
Above are the basic grind sizes most people are aiming for, except Turkish, which is even finer than the espresso grind shown below and is practically a powder.
By setting up the correct burr grinder settings before a grind, you’re determining how fine will the coffee be ground. Which leads you to a specific brew method for a wanted coffee type.
5 Of The Best Burr Grinders Of 2019
The Capresso Infinity costs roughly between $90 to $150 depending on the model you get (black, brushed silver, stainless steel). It has received scores of buyer reviews and maintains a 4-star average rating pretty anywhere you look on the web.
- Extremely wide range from Turkish fine to coarse for all kinds of coffee preparation
- Clearly marked fineness settings, 4 each for extra fine, fine, regular and coarse with a total of 16 settings
- Commercial grade solid conical steel burrs with an advanced cutting design for high precision grinding
- Gear reduction motor grinds slow with reduced noise and little static build-up
- Slowest grinding speed in its class creates less friction and heat build up preserving maximum aroma and flavor in any grind setting
- Safety lock system
- Upper conical burr removable for easy cleaning
- Tight fitting ground coffee container (holds up to 4 oz. of ground coffee)
- See through bean container holds up to 8.8 oz. of beans
- Timer can be set to grind from 5 to 60 seconds
- Cleaning brush and measuring scoop included
- Heavy duty zinc metal die-cast housing
Breville Smart Grinder
The Breville Smart Grinder costs roughly $200. It has received over 800 buyer reviews and has an average rating on Amazon.com of 4 stars.
- 25 Grind Settings for french press, drip, percolator, and espresso coffee.
- Backlit LCD Screen clearly shows grind setting, number of cups or shots and customized grind amount.
- Auto dosing system calibrates each adjusted dose
- Bean Hopper with airtight lid and locking system for easy removal storage and transfer of coffee beans.
- Accessories include two porta-filter cradles, grind container and conical burr cleaning brush
- Please refer the User Manual for Instructions and troubleshooting
Krups GX5000 Professional
The Krups GX5000 costs roughly $100. It has received thousands of positive buyer reviews and maintains an average star rating of 4 stars.
- Metallic burr grinder with Burr mill system to avoid overheating, and preserve the aroma
- Fineness selector: from extremely fine (espresso) to coarse (French press); 45 settings divided into 9 steps
- Quantity selector from 2 to12 cups; 8 oz. anti-static clear bean container
- Auto stop safety mechanism
- 110 watts; 2-year limited warranty
Click Here to Buy on Amazon!
Baratza Encore costs just over $100 and it’s one of the most popular burr grinders in 2019, which means that even some of the coffee professionals have mentioned using this grinder.
- Perfect grinder as an entry-level for introduction to burr grinders
- Very easy to use and straightforward instructions
- Around 40 grind settings to achieve a number of brewing methods
- Two ways of grinding: on/off switch on the side or a pulse button
- Compact in size but is being powered by a powerful motor
- Is designed to be fixed instead of being dumped after the initial components wear
- Very easy to be cleaned and maintained
- Pretty decent bean hopper capacity
Click Here to Buy on Amazon!
If you’re looking to step it up a notch and make one of the best investments you’ve ever done when it comes down to coffee gear and equipment. It’s significantly higher priced but it’s totally worth the upgrade you’ll be getting for the price of over $200 USD.
- Is preferred by Specialty Coffee Professionals
- About 40 grind settings for any brew type
- Additional burr set for an extensive range of brew
- Grinds at twice the speed of other grinders
- Includes puls button along with a 60-second timer
- Very compact yet durable design
- Stylish design that goes beyond functionality
- Very consistent quality grind
- Small but powerful motor
- Is easy to fix and can last for long
- Easy to clean and maintain after each use
Why Should You Always Use Fresh Coffee Beans?
As a home barista, one should always start out with fresh whole beans before you grind. That’s step one, and its an important one. Whether you plan on making espresso, drip coffee, or pour over coffee, fresh beans are key to a great tasting cup of coffee.
You might be wondering why. Well, it’s quite a simple problem to understand. What happens if you buy a preground coffee in the supermarket?
Of course, the coffee aisle is going to smell wonderful. However, you can never know when was the coffee ground (in case it’s pre-ground for you).
And since you can’t know that – you’re most likely going to get a coffee that has been sitting on a shelf for a long time.
This will result in a loss in many different ways, from the flavor to the freshness of the cup of coffee you make.
Therefore, we always recommend getting yourself a quality grinder that will last for long and go for whole coffee beans.
This allows you to grind the beans yourself just before the use which will guarantee you the freshest and the most tasteful flavors extracted out of the coffee you use.
If you’re using very special coffee beans or the exotic ones which are fairly pricey – you definitely don’t want to make a mistake of purchasing pre-ground beans.
You can choose any type of bean you like based on your tastes, but the whole point of buying a coffee grinder is so you aren’t using pre-ground beans.
How to Choose a Grinder?
There are plenty of grinders out there on the market, but how do you know exactly which one do you need & which one will suit your needs the best?
Is there more to grinders than just knowing the type? Of course, there is, and that’s why you need to pay attention to just a few more aspects of every grinder in order to find the most valuable one for your home use.
At the beginning of this post, we’ve already explained the difference between a blade and burr grinder, and now we’ll explain the difference between burrs which can be quite important for some coffee enthusiasts.
Flat Burrs VS Conical Burrs
Burr grinders use either flat burrs or conical burrs that chop up your coffee beans to the desired consistency or grind. Both are good, but they are different in terms of how they grind.
The following video shows the difference between three commonly used burr sets:
- Flat masticating burrs (found in many retail grinders)
- Flat cutting burrs (found in commercial grinders)
- Conical burrs (found in all types, including manual grinders / coffee mills)
We know that you’re probably wondering how come there are flat cutting burrs when we said earlier that burrs smash the coffee grounds instead of cutting them.
Well, there are exceptions which are in this case just for the commercial use, since they are grinding on a daily basis.
Not only that, but the quantity of coffee that coffee stores grind on a daily basis is huge. Therefore, burrs that cut coffee beans are a suitable option.