You love a great cup of coffee so you’ve gone out and bought yourself the best coffee maker money can buy. Now you want to take the next step and grind your own coffee beans to make that perfect cup of joe. The question is, of course, which coffee grinder should you buy? When you go shopping you find a large number of different brands on the market, with a number of different features and you become confused very quickly. Well, don’t fret. Follow along as this article takes you through the intricacies of buying a coffee grinder that has the exact features to fit your personal requirements.
First of all, coffee grinders can be divided into two basic categories. There are blade grinders and there are burr grinders. The key to buying a coffee grinder is to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Blade grinders are very similar to your rotary lawn mower where you have blades on the bottom that whirl and cut the grass. In the case of blade grinders, they have a blade that rotates at very high speeds to cut and chop the coffee bean. Blade grinders have some advantages and some disadvantages. They are usually less expensive and will usually last a lot longer than a burr grinder, which is great if you’re on a tight budget. Blade grinders can also be used to cut and chop other items like flaxseed or spices which can expand their usefulness quite a bit. But keep in mind that blade grinders can often be very difficult to clean after you’ve used them for spices that can leave the blades heavily coated or stained. When it comes to the grind itself, blade grinders usually produce a grind that ranges from fine dust to larger particles of ground beans.
Burr grinders consist of a central abrasive grinding wheel and an abrasive non-moving outer surface. The coffee bean is ground between the central wheel and the outer surface. This type of coffee grinder can be broken down even further between a wheel burr grinder and a conical burr grinder. The wheel burr grinder spins faster and can be noisier than the conical style. Burr grinders are more expensive than the blade type [in turn the conical style is more expensive than the wheel burr style] but they produce an excellent ground coffee bean. Blade grinders also tend to produce more heat so there could be more of a tendency to leave the beans with a bit of a burn flavor, another small disadvantage.
Burr grinders usually take longer to grind the coffee beans but the time is usually minimal in comparison to a blade grinder and unless you’re always in an unusual hurry the burr grinder is still the better choice. Blade grinders will work well when preparing the beans for a standard coffee but if you’re looking to make something more exotic like espresso than a burr grinder will do a much better job of preparing the beans. Wheel burr grinders produce an even, coarse grind in the coffee bean. With a conical grinder you can usually select an output from fine to coarse. The consensus among most coffee lovers is that if you can afford a burr grinder, and especially the conical style, you will produce a finer ground bean and a much better tasting coffee in the long run.
But, while burr grinders may seem like the best choice if money is no object, you also have to understand that burr grinders are more difficult to clean than the blade type. Quite often you will need to get in there with a small brush to clean out a burr grinder. So, if time is of the essence you may want to go with a simple blade grinder to save you all that work. If you just have to have that great tasting coffee then be prepared for the longer and harder cleaning processes for a burr grinder. You also have to keep in mind that burr grinders are usually much larger than the blade type so if space is at a premium you may have to search long and hard to find one that fits your counter space.
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