Burr Coffee Grinder – How to Choose the Best Grinder

Freshly Grind Coffee Every-time

Manual Coffee GrinderGrinding coffee is one of the critical operations for making a good cup of coffee. Grinding coffee, besides brewing, is the only operation you can’t skip if you want your coffee to be perfect. It might be a boring thing to do every morning, and it might sound tempting to buy pre-ground, but freshly milled coffee is so much better than coffee ground a couple of weeks ago.

We show you on this page why you should ground coffee just before brewing, and we present you with a few great grinding machine choices.

Why Grinding Coffee at Home?

Why Grinding coffee and How to Store Coffee Beans?

The essences that give coffee its unique aroma and taste are very volatile. They evaporate and oxidize just at contact with the air. The green coffee bean is more stable than the roast one and it is the preferred method of storing coffee. There are people who roast their coffee beans at home, and they only roast enough for a week or so. I will probably do that too when I retire.

The moment the beans are roasted the coffee starts to lose freshness, (aromatic oils). Furthermore, when the coffee is ground, the process accelerates dramatically, because there is more contact with the air. The ideal process would be to roast beans enough for about two weeks and grind only what you brew. If you are like me, you will probably leave the roasting to the coffee producers and only take care of the grinding.

Storing ground coffee doesn’t work. I grind what I use every day. In very rare cases I grind for two or three days and store the ground coffee in an airtight jar. I hate when I have to do this but sometimes is just unavoidable. The coffee beans, on the other hand, can be stored in airtight bags. I keep my bag in the freezer. I take what I grind, reseal the bag and put it back in the freezer. Some people say it is not a good idea. I tried a few variants of storing coffee, and I found this the most convenient, and the coffee maintains its aroma and oils.

Breville Burr Coffee Grinder

This is one of the machines that once you find your perfect settings you will never touch it to make adjustments unless you change the beans. Reliable, it can last years if you don’t grind large quantities. If you intend to buy your grinder for a restaurant, you should probably look for a more powerful machine. This machine has received on Amazon better reviews than the Baratza grinders, which are among my personal favorites. It is a great purchase for any coffee enthusiast.

How to Grind Coffee Beans – Coarse or Fine?

Espresso and Turkish GrindCoffee Grinding Tips

Here are some guidelines on the grind size for the most popular brewing methods: Espresso, French press, Turkish coffee, drip coffee, and percolator.

  • For espresso, a very fine grind is a must, but don’t turn it into powder. Espresso specialists will tell you that there is a single good grind for espresso, and you have to fine-tune the settings on your grinding machine until you find it.
  • For a percolating coffee pot, coarse grinds will be perfect.
  • For a drip coffee machine, the grind should be between espresso and percolator. If it’s too fine ground there will be more suspensions in the coffee, the paper filter can retain only a certain size of the coffee particles.
  • A Turkish coffee uses the finest grind possible. One reason is that the finer the coffee grain the easier it sinks. Traditionally we don’t filter Turkish coffee, all the grinds settle at the bottom of the cup and if you don’t stir it they will stay there. Another reason is that the finer ground coffee allows a better extraction of the aromatic oils, so less boiling time and lower temperatures are necessary.
  • French Press grinding is the most tricky one. On one hand, for a great infused coffee, you need to grind your beans as fine as possible, on the other hand, if the coffee is too fine it will seep through the filter. Personally, I don’t mind a bit of sludge and grit in my coffee if that’s going to make it tasty, but it’s not the case for everybody.

Capresso Infinity Burr Grinder

This is a great grinder, reliable it can even be used for small restaurants with success. Its special design helps reduce the friction, hence the coffee stays cool. The greatest feature with this is that it can grind Turkish coffee grind, a feature very hard to find. Well, it doesn’t really grind real Turkish size, (a fine powder), but it’s pretty close.

Why Is A Burr Coffee Grinder The Best?

How to Choose a Coffee Grinder

What makes a grinder stand out from the crowd, what qualities are we looking for, when buying one?

  • No matter what grind you need, coarse or fine, make sure it is uniform. An uneven grind will have a negative effect on your brew.
  • Keep in mind: Cheap grinders cannot give you uniform grinding, they will give you a mixture of big and small chunks. Dust and boulders.
  • Uneven grind will affect the proper extraction, it will make the coffee sludgy.
  • We want our grinder to give consistent results. We need all of the coffee particles to have the same size and shape. This is extremely important for a good brew. You need the same grind every day. Set it and forget it type of approach. If we grind our coffee for an espresso and the grind is too coarse, our espresso will be a total failure. We expect our settings to work with the same results every day.
  • We need it to be adjustable, to give us a wide range of grind sizes. One day we need to grind coffee for a drip coffee machine, another day we need a very fine grind for a Turkish coffee and then we get back to our regular espresso. We also need to adjust when we change the coffee type.
  • The grinder should work at low speeds so it doesn’t overheat the coffee, changing its flavors.

With these in mind, should be relatively easy to choose a coffee grinder type – the burr grinders are really the best. The problem is that a good quality burr grinder can be a lot more expensive than your regular blade grinder.

The other problem is that you can even buy a burr-mill and get very poor results, even worse than with a blade grinder. I tried once a cheap burr mill and the grind was so uneven that I had to use a sieve to separate the fine grounds from the coarse ones. Even then it was still bad. The problem is that once the coffee ground through a burr machine, you can’t re-grind it like you can with a blade grinder.

Conclusion: you really have to make sure you buy a quality grinder. The burr grinder will ensure to:

  • not over-heat your coffee,
  • give you consistent predictable grind every time,
  • give you a large range of grinding degrees.

On the other hand, a blade grinder is a small convenient and inexpensive appliance that will do its job. While coffee enthusiasts will never be satisfied with a blade grinder, for unpretentious consumers it will be a wise choice.

Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder

Rancilio Rocky is slightly more expensive than the other middle range burr grinders, but it’s worth every penny. Rancilio markets it as a perfect companion for their Rancilio Silvia, but it can be used with any decent espresso machine.

There are a number of things that make this burr coffee grinder stand out:

  • It has a powerful motor well above the average grinder
  • The burrs are commercial grade, and unless you use it in a restaurant, they should last you a lifetime.
  • It is a very silent grinder, unlike most of the competition
  • A solid construction, meant to last you years, and years
  • Consistent grind
  • Slow grind to avoid overheating of beans
  • The path from burrs to chute is very short resulting in easy cleaning, and a minimum holdover of grounds from grind to grind
  • 55 grind size adjustments
  • Grinds Turkish, a feature that impressed me

The downside of this fantastic machine is somewhat related to the fact that it is designed with espresso brewing in mind as a primary market target. The brewer doesn’t have coarse settings, the grinder is calibrated to grind from Turkish to almost French pot size.

Coffee Tips

  1. Make sure you only store your coffee in tight sealed containers or bags so that there is the least air contact possible. If you buy a big bag of roast coffee beans store it in multiple smaller containers so that you don’t open the big bag every morning.
  2. Don’t use your coffee mill to grind spices or the other way around!
  3. I store my coffee beans in an airtight bag in the freezer. There is a little debate over storing coffee in the fridge or freezer. For me, this works the best. I only grind what I use and then I put it back in the freezer.
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Dorian Bodnariuc

My name is Dorian and I am a former barista. I consume coffee in any form, as a beverage, in savory recipes and desserts. My favorite caffeinated beverage is the espresso. I love to share my coffee brewing knowledge and my geeky coffee research. This blog is one of the places I write about coffee. More about Dorian... If you want to learn more about this site and how I started it, check our About Me page, where I explain all about it.