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THE BASICS

Grinders – What different kinds are out there?

Good news, home brewers! There are only two primary types of grinders on the market, the blade grinder and the burr grinder. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of each one.

  • Blade: A blade grinder is going to be the cheapest option. It consists of a motor and a blade which rotates like a propeller and slices through the beans. Grind size is determined by how long the motor runs.
    • Pros: Cheap, easily accessible
    • Cons: Produces an extremely uneven grind
  • Burr: To clear up any initial confusion, the word “burr” refers to forming a rough edge on metal. Burr grinders consist of various, rough-edged blades which crush the beans rather than slicing through them.
    • Pros: Offers more precision and control and produces a more uniform grind
    • Cons: More expensive, larger and heavier than blade grinders, often use more energy and create more heat

 

Among coffee connoisseurs and enthusiasts, the consensus remains that burr grinders are superior to blade grinders. Burr grinders provide a much more uniform grind, validating the price difference. However…

 

KEEP IN MIND

Selecting a grinder is an extremely subjective subject – everyone has their preferences! While most coffee addicts agree that burr grinders are better, this is the only generally undisputed fact. We’ll continue discussing the various options to choose from among burr grinders, but remember, everything from here on out is only a suggestion. You pick what works best for you!

 

BURR GRINDERS: TYPES AND OPTIONS

Remember how relieved you were when you realized there were only two kinds of grinders? Good news again – there’s also only two types of burr grinders!


Burr grinders all work the same way – the difference lies in the shape of the blades. All burr grinders consist of two burred blades, determining grind size by the distance between these blades. While grinding, one blade moves while the other is stationary. The two blade types are:
  • Type 1: Flat Blade
    • Two flat, parallel burred blades
    • Blades sit horizontally in the grinder/parallel to the ground

  • Type 2: Conical
    • Two cone-shaped burred blades
    • Blades face each other

Simple, right? Good!

 

The last point to touch on regarding this subject is a few of the features we can select when purchasing a burr grinder. The following options apply to both types of burr grinders and are solely based on your preferences.

 

  • Option 1: Stepped vs Stepless
    • “Steps” refer to built-in settings for grind size. A stepped grinder could have only a few settings or dozens. Meanwhile, a stepless grinder can be adjusted by an infinite number of degrees. A stepless grinder offers more precision, but requires far more effort and is usually less than desirable to the average home brewer.
  • Option 2: Doser vs Doserless
    • A doser allows the user to grind their beans then dispense a set, specific quantity, such as for espresso. You’ll usually find dosers in commercial settings, grinding large quantities of beans to dispense doses for selling. Smaller, doserless grinders are more common among households.
  • Option 3: High Speed vs Low Speed
    • Speed levels on grinders primarily affect how much heat is generated while grinding the coffee. High speed grinders create more heat, while low speed varieties create less heat and offer quieter operation. Additionally, due to the low speed, these grinders are less likely to clog up while grinding coffee very fine.

 

So there you have it! Selecting a grinder (and brewing coffee in general) can be such a personalized experience. I hope the information I’ve shared today will propel you forward in your home brewing trek! Take my words with a grain of salt and choose the grinder that best fits YOUR needs.

 

Keep brewing, coffee addicts!