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How To Find The Best Coffee Grinder For Espresso - Key Information
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How to Find the Best Coffee Grinder for Espresso  -  Key Information

This article is meant to be a "buying guide" on how to select the best coffee grinder for espresso. It will provide you with crucial information on making the most out of your espresso coffee grinder investment, including what to look for, what to avoid, and where to find detailed coffee grinder reviews.

But before getting into the guide, there are a few things I need to get out of the way first.

Contrary to popular belief, brewing great espresso in your own home actually starts with finding the best coffee grinder for espresso. If you don't have a good espresso coffee grinder (or you use a poor quality one), you are not going to be able to achieve good shots of espresso. So if you think you can buy an espresso machine without getting an espresso coffee grinder as well, think again!

But why is a coffee grinder so important, you ask?

Well, espresso is a very delicate process that requires attention to some of the most minute details to achieve even a "descent" shot of espresso. The grinder is perhaps the most important part. You need to make sure your coffee grind is fresh enough, fine enough and consistent enough, so that when water passes through it, it extracts exactly the right amount of flavor. You will never get the same results if you buy preground coffee, because it is not fresh and not ideally ground for you machine.

So many times I hear people complain about the quality of espresso from their machines, when the problem is in fact not the machine, but the fact that they don't have a grinder!

But anyways, now that I got that (rant) out of the way, let's get right into how to select the best coffee grinder for espresso.

Budgeting for the Best Coffee Grinder for Espresso

I figured I'd start with budget first, because many people don't really know how much they should spend on an espresso coffee grinder.

Basically, I always recommend people spend at least as much on their grinder as they do on their espresso machine, up to $250. Once you're spending more than $250 on an espresso machine, you can start percentaging down your grinder investment to about 35 - 40% of the price of your espresso machine.

Be aware though, that the more you spend on your grinder, the better quality grinds you are going to get. And the better your coffee grind, the better tasting espresso you are going to achieve. If you skimp on the grinder, you are only going to be dissapointed in your espresso quality.

What Type Of Coffee Grinder Should You Buy?

When it comes to grinding coffee, you can basically choose from two options: a blade grinder or a burr grinder.

A blade grinder has a blade inside that spins at very high speeds to chop up the coffee and produce an adequate coffee grind. Their low price, light weight, and portability make them a popular choice for consumers. However, they are inadequate for producing a good shot of espresso.

Since the blades spin at such high speeds, they have a tendency to burn the coffee, thus adding a burnt taste to the overall flavor. And since they take a long time to grind coffee to a fine consistency, the coffee loses much of its aroma and flavor while its been ground. Finally, blade grinders are very poor at achieving a consistent grind (which is crucial for espresso). All in all, avoid a blade coffee grinder if you plan on making espresso.

Burr grinders, on the other hand, use a far better system to grind up coffee. Inside you will find two metal plates that rub together to grind up the coffee to a desired consistency. One plate moves while the other plate remains stationary. The space in between the burrs is what determines how small each coffee ground is.

Burr grinders grind up coffee slower than blade grinders, thus ensuring they don't burn the coffee. They are also generally able to achieve nice uniform grinds.

There are also two different types of burr grinders: conical and flat burrs. Although each type features a different burr design, both are capable of producing a great espresso grind. Now I know there are people out there that would claim one is better over the other. I personally avoid these debates because you can find the best coffee grinder for espresso in either category. I will point out, however, that conical burr grinders are often a bit cheaper - not because they are inferior, but because they are cheaper to build.

Stepped Or Stepless? Which is better?

Well, that depends on what matters the most to you.

A stepped grinder basically has predefined grind settings (or steps) that you adjust depending on how fine you want your coffee grind. Some come with 16 steps, some come with more than 200. Obviously the more steps a grinder has, the better equipped you will be to fine-tune the coffee grind to the right consistency.

Stepless grinders on the other hand have no predefined settings, thus giving you infinite grind possibilities. Someone who wants total control over their coffee grind might opt for a stepless model. However, they can be slightly more difficult to use.

One of the benefits of a stepped grinder is that it is convenient and allows you to select setting easily. They are also the most common espresso coffee grinders. Some grinders, such as the Baratza Vario grinder, even have macro and micro adjustments, thus giving you the control of a stepless grinder with the ease of use of a stepped grinder.

The Difference Between Doser and Doserless Grinders

A common question I get from people searching around for the best coffee grinder for espresso is "what is the difference between doser and doserless grinders"?

Unlike the flat/conical burr debate, I actually think this one is important.

A doser is basically a cylindrical device at the bottom of the grinding chamber that stores specific ground coffee in a series of triangular compartments. You release ground coffee from the machine by pulling on a small lever that releases a dose from one of the compartments.

A doser is convenient for cafe or high volume situations. However, for personal use, you may want to opt for a "doserless" grinder instead because it will give you fresher coffee grind. Coffee is ground straight into your portafilter rather than being stored for an extended period of time in a doser. And since your objective is to get the freshest coffee possible, a doserless espresso coffee grinder is the way to go.

Narrowing Down Your Options - Determining the Best Coffee Grinder for Espresso

Once you have determined your budget and preference in terms of doser/doserless, it is time to narrow down your espresso coffee grinder choices.

The best way to do this is to browse through coffee grinder reviews that offer comparisons of the best grinders on the market. Do your research carefully and find out what each grinder does well. Have a look at customer reviews to determine what others think of the machine in question. Often imbedded in customer reviews are the person's own thoughts on finding the best coffee grinders, which can be helpful for you in making your own decision.

Also try to find out how long a machine will typically last. Some of the best coffee grinders can last 10 or 15 years, which is an important thing to consider if your spending a few hundred dollars on a machine.

Street Talk

That looks like a great machine. Okay, talking about the video in your website. Great content in this article as well. I never realized that great coffee had that much to do with the grinder. Thanks Great info.

  about 6 years ago
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