When it comes right down to it, if you want the best cup of home brewed coffee you’ve ever had, choosing a great coffee grinder can make all the difference.
A properly ground cup of coffee is all about consistency in the grounds without degrading its quality. The main way that one can degrade the quality of coffee grind is by introducing too much heat into the process of grinding the coffee.
There are two main kinds of coffee grinders out there. There are blade grinders and burr grinders. Blade grinders are considered as the least expensive coffee grinders in the market. The problem these coffee grinders have is that when you are producing finely ground coffee for espresso for instance, the blades tend to get hot from the friction and may well ruin the integrity of your brew. The other issue these grinders have is that they notoriously produce an inconsistent grind due the sporadic way the blades chop up the beans.
The other kind of coffee grinder, the burr coffee grinder, is widely considered the best coffee grinder type. The reason this is the case is because it grinds the beans by actually grinding the beans. It does not chop up the beans like the blade grinder. Additionally, these grinders do not produce nearly the amount of heat that your blade grinders will produce. This therefore reduces the risk of losing integrity of your brew by adding a burnt flavor.
The burr grinder comes in two main flavors. The first one is called a wheel (disc) burr grinder and the other is a conical burr grinder. The main difference between the two is that the wheel burr grinder spins faster than the conical burr grinder causing the wheel burr to produce more heat during the grinding process than the conical burr grinder. This means that it will have an increased degradation effect on the quality and integrity of your brew than the conical burr grinder.
By and large, the conical burr coffee grinder is considered the best coffee grinder. In fact, these are the types of grinders that are used at your most trendy and expensive coffee shops around the world. They produce a very consistent grind with very little heat introduced into the process.
Of course there are other factors to consider than just the type of coffee grinder. It is important to consider some practical properties of coffee grinders. Dust production during grinding, noise, ease of cleaning and maintenance, and of course price. The burr type grinders generally will produce less dust and noise than the blade style, but will most likely be most difficult to clean and can cost often up to 2 times more.
So there you have it. If you consider yourself a coffee aficionado but, like many of us, are conscious of your budget, the choice is clear. The advice is to look for a reasonably priced conical burr grinder (They can be found for around $100 and maybe even less), which will produce the least noise and dust, while producing the most consistent grind for your home brew without degrading the taste due to heat from blades.
This investment will without a doubt get you on the road to creating the best tasting, highest quality home brewed coffee possible. You will be hard pressed to pay for overpriced coffee at a trendy coffee shop ever again.