The Best Coffee Grinder depends on Your Brewing Type. Find Out what is Your Perfect Grinder
Nothing in the world beats a freshly brewed cup of coffee to jump start your day.
The truth of the matter is, being the most consumed drink in the world, you will never run out of places to grab your cup of coffee. From Dunkin’ Donuts to Starbucks. From Mc Donald’s Mc Cafe to Peet’s coffee.
I’m not saying the coffee served in these establishments are awful. I’m just saying that if you are a true coffee lover who loves to pick different beans or even blends every day, you will definitely have some of the best coffee makers at home.
But if you think that having gourmet coffee beans and a fantastic coffee maker is all you need to make the perfect coffee, then you are wrong!
When You Grind Your Beans is Important
Even if you have the most expensive kopi luwak, there is no guarantee that you are going to make finer brew than what my Starbucks blends will. It turns out that how long you ground your beans prior to brewing is very critical! (Click here to read the proper technique of storing your coffee beans)
You think I’m kidding? Let me explain.
The aroma and flavor found inside the beans are not going to be stored there forever. They escape and the rate at which they make their way out is determined by the total surface area in which they are exposed to the air.
Without sounding too much like a high school physics teacher, I can simply tell you that after your beans are grounded, the total surface area will be much bigger.
And the total amount is dependent on the level of coarseness that your beans had been grounded to. The finer it is, the larger will be the exposed surface area.
If you are a coffee purist, you only grind your beans just before you start brewing. Well, if you are a coffee purist (but a slightly lazy ones), remember that 5 days is the maximum that you get to keep your ground coffee. After 5 days, the deterioration rate to the quality of your beans will accelerate.
Trust me. If you are a true and honest coffee purist, you will not want any brew that is made with coffee that has been grounded for longer than 5 days.
How You Grind Your Beans Determines Your Brewing Quality
“You must be joking!”, that was my response when I first heard of this. “Why does it matter how I choose to grind my beans?”
After studying more coffee maker reviews, the answer turns out to be: It matters and it matters a lot!
I would suggest that you don’t just take my word for that. Do yourself a favor and find out why.
Well, I know we can be lazy at times. If you are still reading, it means that you believe in what I’ve just said.
Though I’m not obliged to tell you why, let me just do that anyway.
To start off with, there are 4 types of grinding techniques that you would normally encounter: burr, chopping, roller and pounding.
“What type of grinder is best?”, that is the most logical question that I’m sure you would be asking.
Before answering the question, you need to know why choosing the right grinding technique is important.
First of all, it is important that the beans are grounded to the same level of fineness. Why? Because this will determine the surface area in which your grounded beans will come into contact with the hot water that you pass through them (whether by pump espresso or drip). If they are not of the same level of coarseness, it means that some beans will be extracted more than the others.
Finer means stronger brew. Since you are not grinding to the same level of consistency each time, you might end up with too mild a brew at times and too strong a brew at other times.
In case you are using the drip-type of coffee makers, the drip rate or the rate in which the water passes through the filter will also be slower when you have finer beans. This means that the water will be in contact with the coffee beans for a much longer time and you know what that means to the strength of your brewing result.
Going back to the earlier question, the answer turns out to be ‘It depends!’. Why am I saying that? Because it really depends on how you define best.
From consistency perspective, the answer to the earlier question would be the burr-type of coffee grinder. However, the best burr coffee grinder does not come cheap with some costing as much as few hundreds (or maybe thousands) of bucks.
Knowing the best coffee grinder only to find out that it costs few hundreds dollars is meaningless to you if your budget is less than $100. That’s why I say the best is not absolute but relative.
Based on the various coffee grinder reviews, you will find that with budget of less than $30, your best coffee grinder would be one that is based on the chopping method. If you have more to spend, there are few good burr grinders that cost in the range of between $50-$100.
The Perfect Grinders
Best French Press Grinder
Question: What is the best coffee grinder for French Press?
If you love the old French Press-way of brewing your cup of coffee, you know that the whole process will typically take few minutes. This makes it much longer than the time taken if you have used the drip-type instead.
This simply means that the perfect grind size for a French Press should be coarser rather than finer.
Answer: The best French Press Coffee Grinders are those with coarse setting. Since French Press lovers are classic guy who tend to love manual process, Hario Skerton is the #1 rated manual grinder that I would recommend.
Best Espresso Grinder
Question: What is the best coffee grinder for Espresso?
The answer would be different if we are talking about espresso grind. For espresso brewing, the time in which the water comes in contact with the grounded beans will be very short.
Ground your beans too coarse and you will get a bland or mild cup of espresso. Ground your beans too fine and you might end up choking up your espresso pump.
Answer: The best Espresso Coffee Grinders are those with fine setting. Burr-based grinders will be your options. Rancilio Rocky Doserless is what I would recommend but its price might be prohibitive to some. If this is the case, consider Baratza Encore as it is among the few highest rated conical burr grinders.
Best Drip Grinder
Question: What is the best coffee grinder for drip coffee?
The coarseness requirement for drip brewing lies somewhere in between that of French Press and Espresso. Remember that the coarseness determines the strength of your brew. Finer grind leads to stronger brew.
There is no one-size fits all when it comes to coarseness level for drip brewing. When I get my new grinder, I usually have to try few different settings before I find the perfect setting for my brewing preference.
Answer: The best drip coffee grinder is one with variable settings. Capresso Infinity is something that does not cost that much but would be capable of getting the job done.
To sum it all, do not do your research blindly. There are 3 basic questions you need to ask yourself to decide which coffee grinder is best for you: Budget, Consistency and Setting flexibility. Answer these questions and you will save lots of time in your research!