For a good cup of coffee, the first crucial thing is the freshness of beans. Normally, the beans should be consumed within 2 weeks after roasting because after that, the actual taste or freshness of coffee is gone. That’s why, finding a good roaster near you is a plus of making good coffee.
The second most important step in coffee making is the Grinding Process which if taken lightly can make you a flat tasting coffee. People with super automatic espresso machines have a built-in grinder whereas, if you have an espresso machine, drip brewer or a french press, it’s probably, that you will be in need of a quality grinder.
If we dig into the art of coffee making, it is all about extracting the 800 aromatic compounds found in roasted coffee which are simply lost in incorrect way of grinding and that is why this step is the crucial one. Owing the best quality beans and a costly espresso machine doesn’t makes a perfect cup, but grinding beans properly makes one. The key to grinding process is to grind the beans to consistent levels so that it packs itself to form perfect resistance against the heat and pressure from the coffee machine and the result comes as an amazing cup. Those who have tasted the perfect cup can easily distinguish between a bad grounded coffee and a good one. To help you in buying a good grinder, we are detailing the important aspects to look before buying one so that your mystery of ‘How to Buy a Coffee Grinder?’ is solved.
Blade or Flat Burr or Conical Burr Grinder
Buying a grinder under $100 note is going to be similar to a spice grinder with blades that chops off the beans like carrot and onion. Blade grinders just chop the beans into inconsistent and large particles that don’t form a pack for perfect resistance and as a result in place of aromatic oils, the grounded coffee leaches tannic acid into your cup. Lack of aromatic oils in the coffee cup means it would not be containing that long lingering resonance experienced from a perfect cup of coffee. Also, the blade grinder needs to grind for long which produces heat which is not good for a greatly tasting coffee.
For a good cup of coffee, burr or burr-conical grinders are used. All the professional baristas use these to produce uniformly consistent particles that allow forming a perfect pack for extraction of aromatic oils. Even if you are having the very best espresso machine, your coffee will not be good if you have the wrong grinder. Burr conical grinders are the costliest and give the most fine grind whereas the burr grinders are made to average the difference between a blade grinder and a burr-conical grinder. However, it’s still a debate process as whether burr grinder is better or the burr-conical one because technology has narrowed the gap between flat burr and the conical burr grinders.
Speed of the Grinder
Another important aspect of perfectly grounded coffee is the speed of the grinder. If the grinder rotates at 10000-20000 revs, it’s going to form a lot of heat resulting in loss of those crucial aromatic oils. The grinding process must not be too fast. The blade grinders rotate at around 20000-30000 revs, and are connected with a high speed motor directly. They are the cheapest as you have no control over the speed.
The burr or conical burr grinders are generally available in many variants considering speed as a factor. They vary with motors. The budget ones have the high speed motors with gear reduction. These types use gears to connect motor to burr to reduce speed and thus produce less heat that affects the quality of coffee. Examples include Baratza Preciso, Baratza Encore and Baratza Virtuoso. If you are buying a grinder for home use, then these are generally preferred ones. The next type of grinder is direct drive. They contain low speed-high torque motors and are mostly used by professionals. The motor been used is of low speed but produces high torque to move the burrs producing the finest coffee with almost negligible heat production. Few examples are are Baratza Vario and Baratza W models.
So, speed of the motor is an important aspect to consider before buying a grinder.
Stepped vs Stepless
The next thing to consider in buying a grinder is Stepped or Stepless. To adjust the grind size, all grinders do so by moving the burrs closer or further from grinding plates. Two different designs of burrs allows to do this process known as Stepped and Stepless.
The stepped grinders are usually the budget grinders that range from somewhat $100 to $400 varying the number of settings. Normally the grinders have 10 to 40 different steps for grinding. If you are making coffee by a French Press or Pour over, this doesn’t matters much but if you are making coffee from an espresso, than a little change in the grind size will change the taste. In the current scenario, the grinders come with two controls, one the macro (large) steps and the other one as micro steps. The macro steps can be varied with micro steps in adjacent like say if a grinder has 20 macro steps and 11 micro steps than each macro step can be further adjusted with 11 micro steps forming total of 20 x 11 grinding settings. Baratza Preciso offers 40 macro steps dial and a lever for 11 micro settings offering a total of 440 grinding settings. Stepped models are easier to operate and are mostly used in homes where settings can be remembered easily.
Stepless grinders are generally used by professional cafes. They can be adjusted to infinite number of settings between their grind points. These grinders are usually found with professional espressos and are operated as per the specifications told by the barista. Tough to operate and need some learning by a professional.
Whatever you have read above is going to help you make a choice in buying a good grinder as per your needs. Baratza is one brand that is considered as the most reputed in the industry. Another few brands to consider are Rancilio, Breville and Mazzer. Mostly all of them are available on Amazon and the aspects are clearly listed for clear understanding. Hope you had a great learning.
The manual grinders are still active because they don’t produce any heat in the grinding process and give consistent grounded coffee for a prefect pack and don’t affect the pockets much. If you are a rare coffee drinker, then investing in the manual coffee grinder is fine.
Hope, you are now ready to buy a coffee grinder that is worth the price by looking into aspects that brings a great piece at your desk.