It doesn’t matter how you brew your coffee, whether you prefer a French press or an ordinary coffee maker or you pull your own espresso: you’ll never achieve a quality cup of coffee if you don’t grind your own coffee beans at home. Buying an electric coffee grinder, however, can be an investment, especially if you’re looking to buy a quality machine. Nobody wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a coffee grinder only to regret their purchase weeks or months down the road.
If you’ve started looking around at electric coffee grinders, you’ve probably already realized that you’ve got a lot of options. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of electric coffee grinders to choose from and no two coffee grinders are the same. The questions is, which coffee grinder is best? The answer, well that all depends on how much you’re willing to spend. While we can’t tell you which coffee grinder will be best for you, we can tell you what to look for when comparing models and brands.
Blade Grinders vs Burr Grinders
Blade grinders chop coffee beans with a spinning blade like a blender, burr grinders crush coffee gently like a pepper mill. While inexpensive, blade coffee grinders produce inconsistent grinds, dust that makes coffee bitter, and excessive heat that damages the essential oils in your beans. Burr grinders crush coffee beans gently, producing even grinds while preserving flavor and aroma. Buy a coffee grinder that grinds coffee with burrs.
Quality of Construction
Now that you’ve settled on a burr coffee grinder, the first and perhaps most important quality to consider is a grinder’s construction. What you’re looking for is durability. If a coffee grinder is heavy, advertises an all-metal drive train, or is built from die-cast stainless steel, chances are it’s not going to break as easily as a coffee grinder made mostly of plastic. If you’re investing good money in an electric grinder, buy something that’s going to last.
The strength of a coffee grinder’s motor is as important as it’s construction for exactly the same reasons. The more power a motor can deliver, the less strain it will endure over repeated use and the less likely it will be to burn out. A good strong motor should last for years, if not decades, meaning the first coffee grinder you purchase should be the last one you’ll ever have to buy.
Although it may not seem significant, the speed at which a coffee grinder grinds coffee can have an impact on the quality of the grind. The faster a grinder grinds, the more heat it will transfer to the bean. A coffee grinder that operates at a slower RPM will cause less heat damage during grinding and almost always produce a slightly more flavorful cup of coffee. Adjustable Grind Settings
Most burr grinders feature adjustable grind settings. The best should offer a wide range of settings and be able to produce extremely fine grinds for espresso as readily as consistent coarse grinds for French press brewing. While the information a manufacturer provides will rarely tell you how well a coffee grinder handles these extremes, personal testimonies and product reviews should be able to give you a good idea of how versatile any one model is.
Accessibility for Cleaning
A good coffee grinder should be easy to clean. Every time you use a grinder, coffee leaves behind a thin layer of essential oils. Over time, these oils will go rancid and ultimately affect the flavor of your coffee. A good coffee grinder should allow for easy and thorough cleaning. Ideally, the grinding burrs themselves should be removable and the internal surfaces should all be easy to reach.