Grinding your own coffee beans gives you ultimate control over your espresso. Not all coffee grinders will produce the right grind to suit your drink preferences. There are different features to look out for when it comes to purchasing the right grinder and being knowledgeable of the types of grinders on the market, from stepped, to step less grinders, electric burr, blade and hand grinders.
Why You Need A Coffee Grinder
There are so many different reasons why you need a coffee grinder. One of these reasons is if you already own a traditional espresso machine and love drinking fresh coffee. Prepackaged ground coffee is often stale before it makes its way onto the supermarket shelf. Bringing a coffee grinder into the workplace means you can have barista-quality coffee on-demand.
Blade Coffee Grinders
Blade coffee grinders have a spinning blade inside used to cut the beans into smaller pieces similar to a blender. The pros of blade grinders is that they are relatively simple to use and good for producing the rougher medium grinds needed for filter or cafetiere coffee. On the other hand, blade grinders are not so efficient when it comes to producing a consistent fine grind, needed for espresso. The blades tend to emit heat while chopping which can alter the flavour of your coffee.
Electric Burr Grinders
Burr coffee grinders have a small gear-like mechanism inside that crushes coffee beans to produce ground coffee. This is why burr grinders are better suited to grinding coffee beans for espresso, because they do not exert the same kind of force and heat that a blade grinder might. A burr grinder therefore, produces a more consistent fine grind for making espressos and can grind larger amounts in one go. You can also adjust the settings and have multiple grind levels for different coffee types.
Flat and Conical Burr Grinders
Conical burr grinders can grind coffee beans into two slightly different particle sizes which works well in espresso machines. Flat burrs can grind espresso beans into a consistent fine grind to help produce consistent results. Either therefore, are ideal for using to grind espresso coffee.
Stepped vs Stepless Grinders
A stepped coffee grinder will have pre-set grind options for you to choose from, from a fine to a coarser grind. Most electric burr grinders are also stepped. A step less grinder has no pre-set grind levels and you can adjust it to produce the exact grind you want, offering you more options for customisation.
There are two types of stepped adjustment grinders, the “self-holding” and the “lever release.” The stepped adjustments help lock these settings into place after the adjustment to the coffee is made. On “self-holding” grinders you will either turn the bean hopper or an adjustment knob to adjust your grind setting. As you turn it you will feel a quick as the setting is locked into place. On “lever release” grinders you will have to push down a release lever and turn the bean hopper to adjust the fineness setting. When you let go of the lever it will lock the bean hopper into place.
With step less adjustment grinders you have an infinite number of settings you can adjust your grind too. There are no preset spots that the grind setting will stop at like on stepped adjustment grinders.
Dosing and Non-Dosing Grinders
When it comes to choosing the right grinder, you will need to decide between a dosing or non-dosing grinder. Dosing grinders dispense coffee with the pull of a handle, while non-dosing grinders will grind directly into a ground coffee container or coffee receptacle, like a portafilter for an espresso machine.
Dosing grinders are designed to collect ground coffee into the coffee container and, with the pull of a handle, will then dispense it directly into the portafilter. The ground coffee container looks like a pie that has been cut into six equally shaped pieces. The coffee exits the grinding burrs through the chute and drops into these sections, which rotate around when they reach the front of the grinder and drops through a hole into your receptacle. The rotation is controlled by means of a handle. The amount of coffee that each section can hold is about 6 to 7 grams and you can adjust the dose per pull to around 5.5 to 9 grams.
If you want to grind enough coffee for a double shot, then turn the grinder on and let it fill up one section, then pull the handle and let it fill up the other section. Turn off the grinder and pull on the handle three times. It will take three pulls to get the section under the chute all the way around to the front where it drops out the bottom. Be careful not to grind too little or too much coffee. Once you know how you’re dosing grinder works, you can adapt to it and use judgement to determine what the proper grinding level is when filled.
A dosing grinder is ideal for professional use especially in coffee shops where a quick solution is needed to produce the same amount of coffee each time.
Non-dosing grinders are designed to grind directly into a portafilter from an espresso machine. Some non-dosing grinders will grind coffee into a removable ground coffee container or directly into your portafilter. This means you can keep the espresso machine’s filter holder directly under the grinders outlet and thereby grind the coffee straight into the filter.
A grinder of this type is good for use where the consumption of coffee is relatively low compared to professional use. You will always get fresh ground coffee as you grind the amount you need for that occasion. You will learn how to grind the amount you need for one or two cups of filter.
Tips For Keeping Your Coffee Fresh
Coffee beans can go stale relatively quickly, so if you want the best possible espresso then it is important to store your coffee correctly. Fresh coffee is vibrant and bursting with flavourful oils and sparkling aromatic compounds. When exposed to oxygen and time, your coffee’s oils will become volatile and fleeting rather than delicate. Here are some top tips for keeping your coffee in optimal condition:
- Keep coffee in an airtight container to keep it from oxidising or the beans from dehydrating further.
- Avoid using glass jars and direct sunlight. A cool, dark place is best for storing coffee beans and keeping them fresh.
- Avoid the fridge as there is a risk of getting damp or absorbing flavours from other foods and affecting the taste of the coffee.
Features To Look For
Different Grind Settings: If you want to be able to grind different drinks such as filter, espresso and cafetiere coffee then you will need to look for a grinder that has multiple grind options and settings.
Capacity: If you are looking to grind larger qualities at once, enough for several days worth of coffee for example, then choose a grinder with a bigger capacity. Some coffee grinders are available with capacity for different cup sizes and you can grind beans for one cup of coffee to up to 14 cups.
Dose Control: Dose control is available on some models of coffee grinder. When you have dose control settings you can control the amount of coffee beans your grinder releases. So even when you change your grind size, the grinder will release the same amount of coffee.
Digital Displays: There are certain automatic models of coffee grinder with LCD displays letting you easily see which type of grind you are choosing and how long you have left in the grind cycle.
Size: The blade grinders can be quite compact, the size of a small blender, whereas burr grinders can be even larger than your actual coffee machine so think about how much countertop space you want to dedicate to coffee making.
Coffee Grinders We Recommend
1. Zenith Grinder
The Zenith grinder works with high precision to grind your coffee beans and is equipped with programmable buttons for single and double espresso shots. You can even set up your own pre-ground portions and controls the timing of your doses to ensure a fresh coffee. The Zenith is one of the best coffee grinders on the market.
2. Macap M5D
The Macap M5D is an on demand coffee grinder regarded by many professional baristas as the coffee grinder of choice. It is easy to clean and has a tray to prevent wasting any unused coffee grounds. Only the freshest of coffee is dosed each time with the Macap.
3. Brasil Grinder
The Brasil grinder is a fast, high impact manual grinder with grinding blades made from tempered steel. It is a robust coffee grinder solution,that grinds coffee beans directly down into a 300g container. It is like the Zenith, easy to adjust the settings to achieve the correct grinding level.
4. Marfil Grinder
The Marfil grinder is a highly versatile grinder with a large dispenser and bean hopper. You can have coffee, already ground to serve large quantities of coffee at once, adhering to big demands. It is available either as a manual or automatic version with a dispenser lever placed right or left.
5. Mignon Grinder
The Mignon grinder is built to guarantee the best quality and aroma from your coffee. You can adjust the settings and control the level of dosing per cup and is ideal for any barista or coffee lover that wants to grind coffee on demand.
6. Anfim Practica P1 Grinder
Our Grinder Range
A commercial grinder is hugely important to the coffee making process and at Liquidline we know that good coffee calls for a great grinder to bring out the full flavour and aroma of the coffee bean. See our full range for more details